Guilty pleas in major US streaming case
December 16, 2019
By Colin Mann
A resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, has pleaded guilty to multiple criminal copyright and money laundering charges related to his running of iStreamItAll, one of the biggest illegal television show and movie streaming services in the United States, and to his working as a computer programmer with co-defendants to help build Jetflicks, a similarly large illegal television show streaming service. A second defendant, who also resides in Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in the same court to a criminal copyright charge for his work as a computer programmer for Jetflicks.
Darryl Julius Polo, aka djppimp, pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution, one count of copyright infringement by reproduction or distribution, one count of copyright infringement by public performance and one count of money laundering. In a separate proceeding today, co-defendant Luis Angel Villarino, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Sentencing for both defendants will be before US District Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia, with Polo’s on March 13th, 2020, and Villarino’s on March 20th, 2020.
According to Polo’s plea agreement, Polo ran a site called iStreamItAll (ISIA), an online, subscription-based service headquartered in Las Vegas that permitted users to stream and download copyrighted television programmes and movies without the permission of the relevant copyright owners. 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 US. Specifically, Polo admitted that ISIA offered more than 118,479 different television episodes and 10,980 individual movies. According to the plea agreement, ISIA had more content than Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon Prime, and Polo sent out emails to potential subscribers highlighting ISIA’s huge catalogue of works and urging them to cancel those licensed services and subscribe to ISIA instead.
According to Polo’s plea agreement, Polo obtained infringing television programmes and movies from pirate sites around the world—including some of the globe’s biggest torrent and Usenet NZB sites specialising in infringing content—using various automated computer scripts that ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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 to ISIA subscribers for streaming and downloading. Polo also admitted to running several other piracy services—including a Usenet NZB indexing site called SmackDownOnYou—and earning over $1 million (€0.9m) from his piracy operations.
In addition, in Polo’s and Villarino’s plea agreements, they each admitted that they separately worked as computer programmers at Jetflicks, another online, subscription-based service headquartered in Las Vegas that permitted users to stream and, at times, download copyrighted television programmes without the permission of the relevant copyright owners. According to both plea agreements, Polo, Villarino and their co-conspirators at Jetflicks reproduced tens of thousands of copyrighted television episodes without authorisation, and streamed and distributed the infringing programs to tens of thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the US.
Both Polo and Villarino also admitted that at Jetflicks they and their co-conspirators used automated software programs and other tools to locate, download, process and store illegal content, and then quickly make those television programmes available on servers in the US and Canada to Jetflicks subscribers for streaming and/or downloading.
In addition, as set forth in Polo’s and Villarino’s plea agreements, both Jetflicks and ISIA were not only available to subscribers over the Internet but were specifically designed to work on many different types of devices, platforms and software including myriad varieties of computer operating systems, smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, video game consoles, digital media players, set-top boxes and web browsers.
The other defendants in the case are scheduled to go to trial starting on February 3rd, 2020.