Two Computer Programmers Plead Guilty to Operating Large Movie and Television Show Streaming Services
Two men behind two of the biggest pirate streaming sites in the US have pleaded guilty to copyright infringement.
Darryl Julius Polo, aka djppimp, 36, pleaded guilty yesterday in the U.S. 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, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Sentencing for both defendants will be before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia, with Polo’s on March 13, 2020, and Villarino’s on March 20, 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 programs 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 U.S. Specifically, Polo admitted that ISIA offered more than 118,479 different television episodes and 10,980 individual movies. In fact, 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 catalog 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 programs and movies from pirate sites around the world—including some of the globe’s biggest torrent and Usenet NZB sites specializing 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 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 programs 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 authorization, and streamed and distributed the infringing programs to tens of thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the U.S.
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 programs available on servers in the U.S. and Canada to Jetflicks subscribers for streaming and/or downloading.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office conducted the investigation.