Tag Archives: Jetflicks

US Govt: Massive Jetflicks Pirate Site Was Disguised as Aviation Service

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/us-govt-massive-jetflicks-pirate-site-was-disguised-as-aviation-service-200213/

In August 2019, eight men were indicted by a grand jury for conspiring to violate criminal copyright law by running “two of the largest unauthorized streaming services in the United States.”

Kristopher Lee Dallmann, Darryl Julius Polo, Douglas M. Courson, Felipe Garcia, Jared Edward Jaurequi, Peter H. Huber, Yoany Vaillant, and Luis Angel Villarino were the operators of Jetflicks, an unlicensed subscription-based TV show streaming service running out of Las Vegas, Nevada.

The defendants were charged with reproducing thousands of copyrighted TV shows and streaming them to customers all over the United States. Jetflicks reportedly had a massive library running to more than 183,000 episodes.

Last December, Darryl Julius Polo – who also ran another service called iStreamitAll – pleaded guilty to copyright infringement and money laundering charges. Alongside, Jetflicks programmer Luis Angel Villarino pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement.

The trial of the other defendants is set to go to trial in the summer, having been recently delayed due to Canadian authorities handing over a trove of discovery material. However, a legal matter involving Jetflick’s Kristopher Lee Dallmann has now provided an early glimpse into how that pirate streaming service was born.

As part of a US Government motion requesting confirmation that Dallmann waived his attorney-client privilege with respect to legal advice he received on the operation of Jetflicks, an FBI agent’s affidavit reveals what was said by Dallmann during the execution of a search warrant on his Las Vegas home on November 16, 2017.

Under questioning, Dallmann told the agent that the FBI misunderstood the nature of Jetflicks, claiming it was an entity providing aviation services.

“[Dallmann] described Jetflicks as a service through which customers could put their personal DVD collection onto a mobile device that could be utilized on aircraft,” the agent explained, adding that Dallman said that Jetflicks provided “minimal streaming services” and that its primary source of income came from digitizing personal DVD collections.

During the interview, Dallmann said that Jetflicks only ever had two customers, who combined paid a total of $80,000. Later, however, the Las Vegas resident admitted to streaming TV shows without permission but said that was permissible under the law since if a complaint was received, he would remove the content.

Following a pause in the interview, during which Dallmann used the bathroom, the tone appeared to change. The FBI agent reports Dallmann as weeping while admitting that he hadn’t been telling the entire truth. The Jetflicks business, or the DVD digitization service at least, hadn’t been successful and as a result, he’d turned to downloading TV shows from various websites and streaming them illegally via Jetflicks.

Dallmann volunteered that he had sought legal advice from an unnamed attorney who told him that Jetflicks could operate legally as long as content was taken down following a copyright complaint. However, Dallmann also admitted to receiving a cease-and-desist notice sent by the MPAA but said that the same attorney advised him to ignore it, dismissing the correspondence as having been “written by an amateur”.

According to the US Government, the illegal Jetflicks streaming operation and DVD digitization project (named as Jetflicks MoVi Entertainment System) ran alongside each other. The premise for the latter was that Dallmann “would contract with private aircraft owners to digitize their personal DVD collections of movies and television shows so they could watch their favorite movies and shows on digital devices on their planes.”

Interestingly, it’s reported that the Jetflicks MoVi Entertainment System was being built with copyright in mind. Promotional material seized by the FBI stated that Jetflicks would need to inspect a customer’s DVD collection to ensure that all original copies were owned before a customer’s new digital system could be populated.

“This aviation-services business, however, never got off the ground,” the motion reads.

“So, Mr. Dallmann and other conspirators quickly realized that it was much more lucrative to run and expand what amounted to an illegal version of Netflix, that is, a service where they obtained infringing digital copies of television shows from pirate sites, processed and renamed those works, and then streamed and distributed them on an unlimited basis to paying subscribers.”

While the aviation business failed, it’s claimed that the defendants used its identity to ensure that banks and payment processors for the streaming business carried on supplying their services.

According to the Government, Dallmann and his co-conspirators told service providers that their business focused on in-flight entertainment, referring them to Jetflicks.com rather than the Jetflicks.mobi domain used by the streaming entity.

Archive image from Jetflicks.com

“For example, beginning in November 2016, Jetflicks used a company called Stripe to process subscriptions for the jetflicks.mobi illegal streaming service,” the motion reads.

“However, the Jetflicks Stripe account listed the domain as ‘jetflicks.com’ and Mr. Dallmann described his business to Stripe as follows: ‘Private and Corporate aviation entertainment system sales, service, and subscription services. We invented the first entertainment system for private aviation that is classified as carry-on equipment’.”

Dallmann reportedly made a further statement to Stripe, shortly after opening the account, that his “aviation” business had 3,500 active customers. An application for a Wells Fargo account had Dallmann stating his business as “In flight entertainment for private jets.”

The untruths apparently continued when Jetflicks responded to streaming customers who complained that certain TV shows weren’t available on the service. They were told that the service’s “legal department” were negotiating contracts with copyright owners and that in some cases “a lot of red tape” was involved.

One customer who asked about the show True Blood was reportedly told that “Contract renewals and negotiations are in progress with HBO. They have a new HBO-ToGo mobile phone app now… so you can understand how they want it all on their app now. We will keep working on it but nothing moves fast with that sort of thing.”

The trial of the six remaining defendants is set to go ahead in July 2020.

The US Government’s motion and supporting affidavit can be found here and here (pdf)

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Jetflicks Piracy Trial Delayed After Canada Hands Over Masses of Discovery Data

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/jetflicks-piracy-trial-delayed-after-canada-hands-over-masses-of-discovery-data-200115/

In August 2019, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that eight men had been indicted by a grand jury for conspiring to violate criminal copyright law by running “two of the largest unauthorized streaming services in the United States.”

All of the defendants – Kristopher Lee Dallmann, Darryl Julius Polo, Douglas M. Courson, Felipe Garcia, Jared Edward Jaurequi, Peter H. Huber, Yoany Vaillant, and Luis Angel Villarino – were charged with running Jetflix, a subscription-based streaming service that reportedly carried more than 183,200 TV episodes.

Darryl Julius Polo, a former Jetflicks programmer, was additionally accused of launching and running iStreamitAll, a service carrying 18,479 TV episodes and 10,980 movies.

On December 12, 2019, Polo pleaded guilty to various copyright infringement and money laundering charges. The next day, former Jetflicks programmer Luis Angel Villarino pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

The remaining six defendants were set to go on trial during December 2019 but following acknowledgment by the court that the case is unusually complex, it was pushed back to February 2020. Due to fresh developments in the investigation, however, the trial will now be pushed back to the summer.

According to court documents filed by the US Government in December 2019, it was already in possession of a significant amount of discovery data (around 88 gigabytes) but following a March 2018 request under the US-Canada Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), law enforcement agencies in Canada had seized a great deal more.

It took around 21 months but on December 16, 2019, the data was finally handed over to the Department of Justice. The volume of evidence is reportedly “enormous” and includes reports from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, subscriber information documents, a list of tickets and messages pertaining to subscribers, plus five forensic images of computers located at OVH, a hosting provider in Canada.

Those five images are said to contain “well over” 2.3 million files which together total around 2.72 terabytes of data. The FBI reportedly took the evidence to the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section’s Cybercrime Lab in December 2019 which found information relating to Jetflicks, iStreamitAll and related services including SmackDownOnYou, Sincity Sports Cards, BlockBustersTV, Cardvision TV, and other entities and persons connected with the case.

An estimated 186,000 emails were also discovered, some with Excel and Word attachments. According to the US Government, the overall trove is so extensive it’s 30 times larger than the discovery provided to the defendants to date. So, given the scale of the task ahead, the US Government advised a Virginia court that all parties would be best served by a further trial delay.

“In our view, given that neither the government nor the defense has reviewed the data we just received from Canada, all parties would benefit from a continuance,” the filing reads.

“The government needs to understand the nature of this new evidence for purposes of our case, and we believe that defense counsel has an obligation to their clients to review this new evidence too.”

In closing, the Government requested that the trial be shifted to June 22, 2020. This delay was initially opposed by defendants Peter Huber and Yoany Vaillant but an agreement was later reached. As a result, in an order signed this week by District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, the trial was rescheduled for July 14, 2020.

The information provided by Canadian authorities may yet boost the US Government’s case against the Jetflicks defendants but its lawyers didn’t waste the opportunity to take a shot at Canada’s alleged poor conduct when it comes to dealing with pirate sites.

“The Court may wonder why Jetflicks and iStreamItAll — which were both based in the United States — used a hosting provider in Canada for their operations,” a footnote reads.

“According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), which represents over 3,200 U.S. companies producing and distributing materials protected by copyright laws throughout the world, among those engaged in piracy, Canada has had a ‘long-standing reputation as a safe haven for some of the most massive and flagrant Internet sites dedicated to the online theft of copyright material’.”

While the same footnote also states that Canada “has made some progress” in recent years, it’s obvious that hosting Jetflicks in Canada didn’t save its operators from prosecution or from having their data seized and handed to US authorities.

The related court filings can be found here and here (pdf)

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Two Las Vegas Men Plead Guilty in U.S. Criminal Streaming Piracy Case

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/two-las-vegas-men-plead-guilty-in-u-s-criminal-streaming-piracy-case-191214/

Earlier this year a federal grand jury charged eight men for their involvement with the streaming services Jetflicks and iStreamitAll.

The platforms, which were headquartered in Las Vegas, offered a wide range of pirated videos that could be accessed in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.

This week, two of the defendants pleaded guilty. The first is Las Vegas resident Darryl Julius Polo, aka djppimp, who was involved in both services through which he earned over a million dollars in revenue.

In a plea agreement, Polo admits the various counts of criminal copyright infringement and well as a money laundering charge. The copyright offenses carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years incarceration.

Polo both owned and operated iStreamitAll (ISIA) which he launched after being involved with Jetflicks. In a signed statement, he admits that ISIA offered access to 118,479 different TV episodes and 10,980 individual movies.

Between September 2014 and December 2016 the streaming service processed at least 18,551 successful credit and debit card charges. The associated subscription fees ranged from $19.99 per month up to $179.99 per year.

According to the agreed statement of facts (pdf), Polo pitched his service to potential clients by pointing out that it offered more content than competing legal services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon Prime.

“In fact, the defendant sent out emails to potential subscribers highlighting ISIA’s huge catalog of works and urging them to cancel Netflix, Hulu, and similar services, and subscribe to ISIA instead,” it reads.

The various movies and TV-shows were sources from Usenet and torrent sites. Polo had set up an automated system where software including SickRage, Sick Beard, and
SABnzbd scoured the Internet for pirated content which was then stored by the service so it could be streamed to subscribers.

“These tools allowed the defendant to search for pirated movies and television shows available on some of the most popular torrent sites in the world, such as The
Pirate Bay, RARBG, and TorrentDay, as well as some of the largest Usenet NZB index sites,” the statement of facts reads.

The streaming service was not the first piracy operation Polo was involved in. He further admits that he operated the NZB indexer SmackDownOnYou, BoxBusters.TV, Jailbreakingtheipad, and the music piracy site MixtapeUG.

In addition to Polo, 40-year old Luis Angel Villarino from Las Vegas also pleaded guilty. He admits his involvement as a programmer for Jetflicks from December 2016 to at least June 2017.

Villarino agreed to be charged with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Jetflicks used many of the same sources as the ISIA streaming service. It was tailored towards TV-show content and listed thousands of shows that could be accessed through a subscription. Both services worked in regular browsers and through various apps, including a Kodi-addon.

According to Villarino’s signed statement of facts (pdf), he mostly worked as a programmer to optimize the scripts that fetched the pirated TV-shows.

“The defendant mostly worked on solving problems with the Jetflicks’ computer scripts that co-defendants Darryl Julius Polo, Peter H. Huber, and Vaillant had written or refined and that were designed to help locate, download, process, store, stream, and make available for downloaded pirated television shows.”

In exchange for the guilty pleas, both defendants can expect a lower sentencing recommendation. They agree to cooperate fully in any further investigations and may have to provide information on and testify against the remaining six defendants, who go to trial in February 2020.

Polo and Villarino will be sentenced a month later. Both men must pay restitution to their victims while their criminal proceeds will be forfeited. In Polo’s case, that’s at least $1 million.

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Eight Men Behind Two Pirate Streaming Services Charged by Grand Jury

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/eight-men-behind-two-us-pirate-streaming-services-charged-by-grand-jury-190828/

Movie and TV show content is widely available on the Internet for no cost but it seems that many thousands of individuals are prepared to pay for the privilege.

That has resulted in countless unlicensed subscription-based services appearing, some as part of live broadcast IPTV packages and others as standalone services.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the MPAA had made several referrals to the Department of Justice (DoJ), calling for some pirate streaming services to be criminally prosecuted. It now transpires that at least one of those referrals has come to fruition.

According to an announcement by the Department of Justice, eight individuals were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday for conspiring to violate criminal copyright law by running “two of the largest unauthorized streaming services in the United States.”

The indictment lists the following men as the defendants in the case;

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.

All are charged with running Jetflicks, a subscription-based TV show streaming service running out of Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The defendants reproduced tens of thousands of copyrighted television episodes without authorization, and distributed the infringing programs to tens of thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the U.S. At one point, Jetflicks claimed to have more than 183,200 different television episodes,” the DoJ states.

It’s further claimed that one of the defendants, Darryl Julius Polo, who was allegedly part of the Jetflicks programming team, left Jetflicks in order to create his own service, known online as iStreamItAll. According to the DoJ, the service claimed to have 115,849 television episodes and 10,511 movies available for streaming.

“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 programs and movies available on servers in Canada to ISIA subscribers for streaming and/or downloading,” the DoJ adds.

In addition to the conspiracy charges, Dallman was charged 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.

Polo was also charged with two counts of criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution, which usually refers to either then-unreleased movies or TV shows, or those that were yet to leave their theatrical window.

The alleged iStreamItAll operator was further charged with 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.

Unsurprisingly, both services are alleged to have obtained their content from other ‘pirate’ sources, including The Pirate Bay and RARBG. The indictment also claims that Usenet and Torrentz were used as sources. The inclusion of the latter is somewhat unusual given that the site closed down in 2016 and even then was only a meta-search engine that offered no direct links to infringing content.

Both services were available after paying a subscription, with iStreamItAll claiming it had a greater range of content than Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon Prime, accessible on a range of devices from desktop machines through to phones, tablets, smart TVs, games consoles, and set-top boxes.

However, neither platform appears to have learned lessons from the still ongoing Megaupload case, where servers containing allegedly infringing content were mainly hosted in the United States. The DoJ claims that content culled from torrent sites and Usenet was made available to Jetflicks and iStreamItAll subscribers via servers hosted in both the United States and Canada.

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