FBI breaks up two illegal streaming sites with more subscribers than Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu
Two programmers in Las Vegas recently admitted to running two of the largest illegal television and movie streaming services in the country, according to federal officials.
One of the platforms reportedly had more paying subscribers than Netflix, Hulu and other popular licensed streaming platforms.
An FBI investigation led officials to Darryl Polo, 36, and Luis Villarino, 40, who have pleaded guilty to copyright infringement charges for operating iStreamItAll, a subscription-based streaming site, and Jetflix, a large illegal TV streaming service, federal officials said Friday.
With roughly 118,000 TV episodes and 11,000 movies, iStreamItAll provided members with more content than Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Vudu, according to prosecutors.
Polo urged members of iStreamItAll via email to cancel licensed services in favor of pirated content, according to his plea agreement. He also admitted to earning $1 million from his piracy operations, officials said. He also admitted to downloading the content from torrent websites.
"Specifically, Polo used sophisticated computer programming to scour global pirate sites for new illegal content; to download, process, and store these works; and then make the shows and movies available on servers in Canada," officials said.
In addition, Polo ran several other piracy services, including one called SmackDownOnYou, Justice Department officials said. He also pleaded guilty to money laundering charges.
Polo and Villarino were involved in operating Jetflix, which allowed users to download, process, store and stream copyrighted television programs without permission from copyright owners, according to officials.
Jetflix had tens of thousands of paid subscribers throughout the U.S., officials said.
Both programmers admitted to using "automated software programs and other tools to locate, download, process and store illegal content, and then quickly make those television programs available on servers in the U.S. and Canada," federal officials said.
iStreamItAll and Jetflix were built to play content on smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, video game consoles and web browsers, costing copyright owners millions of dollars, the Justice Department said.
Polo and Villarino will be sentenced in Virginia in March. Other defendants in the case are scheduled to go to trial in February.
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