Two computer programmers behind iStreamItAll and Jetflicks have pleaded guilty to copyright infringement, four months after they were charged for running the illegal video streaming services.
In August, a total of eight people were charged with conspiring to violate federal criminal copyright law through iStreamItAll and Jetflicks, which the Department of Justice described as “two of the largest unauthorized streaming services in the United States.” The two services received subscription payments from users, which resulted in a loss of revenue for the copyright owners of the offered TV shows and movies.
According to an update on the case by the Department of Justice, 36-year-old Darryl Polo and 40-year-old Luis Villarino have both pleaded guilty to copyright infringement charges, with Polo also pleading guilty to money laundering. Polo’s sentencing will be on March 13, 2020, with Villarino to follow a week later on March 20.
In Polo’s plea agreement, he admitted to running iStreamItAll, which allowed its users to illegally stream and download copyrighted content. He claimed that the service offered over 118,479 episodes of TV shows and 10,980 movies, which was more than the libraries of Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon Prime. Polo also said that he highlighted these figures in emails to possible subscribers, and urged them to cancel their subscriptions with the legitimate streaming websites and sign up with iStreamItAll instead.
According to Polo, he acquired the TV shows and movies from piracy and torrent websites, with automated computer scripts that never rested in downloading, processing, and storing content as soon as they were available online.
In their plea agreements, Polo and Villarino also admitted that they worked as computer programmers for Jetflicks, which functioned similarly as iStreamItAll. They also admitted that both illegal streaming services were made available on an exhaustive list of devices, platforms, and software.
The six other people charged in the case are scheduled to go to trial starting February 3 next year. The guilty pleas of Polo and Villarino, however, will make their defense harder.
The legal battle against iStreamItAll and Jetflicks is just a small corner in the fight against piracy. While websites such as Facebook have continued to crack down on illegal links to copyrighted content, pirates have started using other channels, the latest of which is the publishing platform Medium.
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