USA: 8 charged with video streaming piracy
August 28, 2019
By Colin Mann
A US federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging eight individuals with conspiring to violate federal criminal copyright law by running two of the largest unauthorised streaming services in the United States, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars by television programme and motion picture copyright owners.
According to the indictment, Kristopher Lee Dallmann, 36; Darryl Julius Polo, aka djppimp, 36; Douglas M. Courson, 59; Felipe Garcia, 37; Jared Edward Jaurequi, aka Jared Edwards, 38; Peter H. Huber, 61; Yoany Vaillant, aka Yoany Vaillant Fajardo, 38; and Luis Angel Villarino, 40, allegedly ran an entity called Jetflicks, an online subscription-based service headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, that permitted users to stream and, at times, download copyrighted television programmes without the permission of the relevant copyright owners.
The defendants reproduced tens of thousands of copyrighted television episodes without authorisation, and distributed the infringing programmes to tens of thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the US. At one point, Jetflicks claimed to have more than 183,200 different television episodes. One of the defendants, Polo, left Jetflicks and created a competing site based in Las Vegas called iStreamItAll (ISIA) that at one point claimed to have 115,849 different television episodes and 10,511 individual movies.
As with Jetflicks, ISIA offered content for a regular subscription fee to viewers around the United States, and ISIA publicly asserted that it had more content than Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon Prime. The two services were not only available to subscribers over the Internet but specifically designed to work on many different types of devices, platforms and software including numerous varieties of computer operating systems, smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, video game consoles, digital media players, set-top boxes and web browsers.
In addition, the grand jury charged Dallmann with two counts of criminal copyright infringement by reproduction or distribution, two counts of criminal copyright by public performance and four counts of money laundering, and charged Polo with two counts of criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution, two counts of criminal copyright infringement by reproduction or distribution, two counts of criminal copyright infringement by public performance and four counts of money laundering.
According to the indictment, Jetflicks allegedly obtained infringing television programmes from pirate websites around the world—including some of the globe’s biggest torrent and Usenet sites specialising in infringing content such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG and Torrentz—using various automated computer scripts, often providing episodes to subscribers the day after the shows originally aired on television. Specifically, the defendants allegedly used sophisticated computer code to scour global pirate sites for new illegal content to download, process and store the shows, and then make those episodes available on servers in the United States and Canada to Jetflicks subscribers for streaming and/or downloading.
According to the indictment, Polo was allegedly part of the computer programming team that built Jetflicks but later left and started ISIA, a competing service based in Las Vegas that offered not only television programmes but movies. Polo allegedly used many of the same automated tools that Jetflicks employed to locate, download, process and store illegal content, and then quickly make those television programmes and movies available on servers in Canada to ISIA subscribers for streaming and/or downloading. In fact, some of the movies offered by ISIA were not yet available for authorised sale, download, or viewing outside a movie theatre.