The streaming wars are hotting up, with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney and a host more ready to battle it out in 2020. However, the media titans will have two fewer sources to worry about following a landmark court case in the US.
A pair of computer programmers from Las Vegas pleaded guilty to operating the popular pirate streaming sites iStreamItAll and Jetflicks, which once offered libraries of content that could rival the big players.
Darryl Julius Polo (aka ‘djppimp’) admitted running iStreamItAll, which at its peak housed 11,000 movies and 118,000 TV episodes. Polo charged $19.99 a month to access the service, allowing him to bring in over $1m in earnings.
Polo coughed to copyright infringement and money laundering charges for his activities, which had cost the content owners millions in lost revenue, until the five year old site was closed down in August.
In a press release, the US Department of Justice (via Washington Post) wrote: “Polo admitted that he reproduced tens of thousands of copyrighted television episodes and movies without authorization, and streamed and distributed the infringing programs to thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the U.S..”
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Polo started iStreamItAll after working at the Jetflicks site, also implicated in the case. Luis Angel Villarino also took a plea deal for his work on Jetflicks, admitting to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.
The DoJ added: “According to both plea agreements, Polo, Villarino and their co-conspirators at Jetflicks reproduced tens of thousands of copyrighted television episodes without authorization, and streamed and distributed the infringing programs to tens of thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the U.S..”
That site, which charged subscribers $9.99 a month, brought in $750,000 during its best year, according to prosecutors. Both men will be sentenced in March. The pair can expect a sweeter deal than six other defendants, who will take the stand and go to trial in February.