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JetFlix: The Netflix for Pirates

Undercover FBI agents were able to stream pirated content, thanks to a completely illegal streaming operation call JetFlix. This is not like some of the pirated streaming sites out there (that my friends tell me about). JetFlix gave the appearance of a completely legit streaming service, charging $9.99 / month and made available just about any TV show and Movie on the planet. Some of the facts in the articles are really interesting:

  • A grand jury indictment this week charged eight people with allegedly operating two of the biggest illegal streaming sites in the country. They ran not out of some Eastern European server farm but in Las Vegas, Nevada. They had a customer service line, a US bank account, and even put out the occasional press release.
  • at one point claiming to host 183,000 television episodes and more than 37,000 subscribers. And in one year claimed over $750,000 in revenue.
  • They racked up the felony charges: Which is to say, rather than simply point users in the direction of a pirated show, Jetflicks allegedly stored that content on its own servers in the US. And it allowed customers not only to stream but to download those shows to their own devices, upgrading the charges from “public performance” to “distribution," and a conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, which comes with up to five years of jail time. The government claims that Polo went one step further, creating a separate piracy service called iStreamItAll that streamed movies like Us and Finding Dory before their commercial release—another felony, also punishable by up to five years in prison. Additional money-laundering charges carry a penalty of up to 20 years each.
  • Ironically, they did not like people stealing from them: , Jetflicks suffered the same plague of password-sharing that its legitimate competitors do—and took a more hardline stance against it than Netflix and HBO have. The indictment alleges that the Jetflicks team would search the internet to find anyone sharing their logins, and sought to "prevent individuals from 'stealing' Jetflicks content."
  • I wonder if they used a DevOps development process: “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,” the DOJ announcement reads. “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.”

Credits:

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