Piracy may be a debated topic in some contexts and regions but there’s no escaping the fact that it is illegal in many countries. You may argue all you want against capitalism, fair use, ownership, and other factors but when you’re running a large streaming service for pirated content and earning millions from it, it’s not really a matter of fighting for the little folk anymore. Perhaps knowing that the gig is up, two men from Las Vegas have pleaded guilty to being part of the country’s biggest pirated streaming operation, trying to make a deal for a lesser sentence than they would have been given if convicted.
You may have heard more about PirateBay but iStreamItAll or ISIA and Jetflix have been regarded as the biggest business in the US when it comes to streaming pirated videos. Whereas others try to operate in the dark corners of the web, these two boldly offered content in exchange for subscription fees. They did advertise themselves as better than Netflix because their pirated content spanned different competing services.
It wasn’t a simple case of just serving up content either. The two are being labeled as “computer programmers” for their specific role in the business. Darryl Julius Polo, owner and operator of ISIA, utilized software that looked for pirated content on the net and then stored it on ISIA. Polo then sent emails to prospective customers, promoting the benefits of the service over legit ones. Between 2014 and 2016, the business processed 18,551 credit and debit card transactions for $20 monthly or $180 yearly subscriptions.
Luis Angel Villarino’s role in Jetflix wasn’t a central one in comparison. He admits to being the programmer that optimize and maintain the programs that harvested pirated content, the very same that Polo used in ISIA. Villarino pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement while Polo copped to more charges, including money laundering.
The two may be getting lesser sentences but their time in court isn’t over. There are six other defendants in that same case and part of their plea bargain would be to testify against their former associates.