Feds bust illegal streaming service bigger than Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu
Two Las Vegas men who admitted to running one of the nation's largest illegal television and movie streaming services pleaded guilty this week and now face money laundering and copyright infringement charges, federal officials said Friday.
iStreamItAll was an online, subscription-based streaming site that allowed users to download TV episodes and movies. The stream's operators – Darryl Polo, 36, and Luis Villarino, 40 – told the U.S. Justice Department that the service offered access to more than 118,000 television episodes and nearly 11,000 movies, all without consent from the content's copyrighted owners.
That's more content than Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Vudu combined, according to prosecutors.
As part of his plea deal, Polo told the Justice Department he got the episodes and movies from pirate websites, including so-called "torrent" sites that specialize in infringing on content rights.
"Specifically, Polo used sophisticated computer programming to scour global pirate sites for new illegal content [and] to download, process and store these works and then make the shows and movies available on servers in Canada to [iStreamItAll] subscribers," Justice Department officials said.
Polo also said he earned more than $1 million running content pirating services, including an indexing website called SmackDownOnYou.
He and Villarino used their computer programming knowledge to also help operate Jetflicks, a different Las Vegas-based illegal streaming service, federal officials said. At Jetflicks, Polo and others used automated software to find and download illegal content then make it available to computer servers in the U.S. and Canada.
In August, a federal grand jury indicted six other men for their connection and work on Jetflicks. Polo eventually left the service to create iStreamItAll. The Justice Department said the streaming services cost copyright owners millions of dollars.
Polo and Villarino will be sentenced in federal court in Virginia this March. Other defendants charged in the case are scheduled for trial starting Feb. 3.
for more features.