Two computer programmers in Las Vegas have pleaded guilty to multiple criminal copyright and money laundering charges related to the popular illegal streaming and download sites iStreamItAll and Jetflicks, which offered pirated versions of Hollywood TV shows and movies.
U.S. Justice Department officials said in their announcement that iStreamItAll, which offered a subscription service, boasted more content that Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The illegal site featured more than 118,479 different television episodes and 10,980 individual movies, according to plea agreements.
Jetflicks, also a subscription service, offered “tens of thousands” of copyrighted television episodes.
Darryl Julius Polo, 36, pleaded guilty last week in a federal court in Virginia to multiple copyright infringement counts and a money-laundering count. Polo’s charges were related to his running of iStreamItAll and his involvement in helping to create Jetflicks.
In a separate proceeding, co-defendant Luis Angel Villarino, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Villarino’s charge was related to his work as a computer programmer for Jetflicks.
The Justice Department announced in August that eight individuals, including Polo and Villarino, were indicted by a grand jury for their involvement with the streaming sites.
The other defendants in the case are scheduled to go to trial starting on February 3.
The plea agreements by Polo and Villarino have provided prosecutors with numerous details on how the sites were operated.
Both Jetflicks and iStreamItAll were specifically designed to work on multiple devices and platforms, including smartphones, tablets, video game consoles, web browsers, and smart TVs.
Polo’s plea deal recounts how he obtained his content from pirate sites around the world by using various automated computer scripts that ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He would then make the shows and movies available on servers in Canada to iStreamItAll subscribers around the world for streaming and downloading.
Polo admitted to earning more than $1 million from his piracy operations, according to the Justice Department.
The crackdowns follow a recent successful effort by Hollywood’s biggest studios to shut down Openload, a popular pirating site that received more online traffic than Hulu, HBO Go, and NBCNews.com. A second pirating site, Streamango, was also shut down.
Hollywood studios like Disney and WarnerMedia are putting more resources into streaming entertainment, investing huge sums to create competitors to Netflix. As a result, they are moving more aggressively to shut down illegal streaming sites that can negatively impact their revenue.
Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for March.