DOJ Scores Criminal Conviction Against Operators of Jetflicks

A federal jury in Las Vegas has convicted five men for illegal streaming operations perpetrated through a company called Jetflicks, which generated millions of dollars in subscription revenue while causing “substantial harm to television program copyright owners,” according to the Department of Justice. Jetflicks, which charged customers $9.99 per month, had a catalog that included “hundreds of thousands” of copyrighted TV episodes, larger than the combined offerings of Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon Prime, prosecutors said, explaining the outfit “used sophisticated computer scripts and software to scour pirate websites for illegal copies of television episodes.”

The episodes were then downloaded from sites including Pirate Bay and Torrentz and hosted on Jetflicks servers without authorization, according to the Justice Department. “At one point, Jetflicks claimed to host more than 183,200 TV episodes,” per Variety.

The illicit scheme operated at the expense of copyright owners, who lost out on potential legit sales to Jetflicks’ tens of thousands of subscribers.

“These convictions underscore the Criminal Division’s commitment to protecting intellectual property rights by prosecuting digital piracy schemes and bringing offenders to justice,” Nicole Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a press release.

The five defendants “ran a platform that automated the theft of TV shows and distributed the stolen content to subscribers,” said Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI Washington field office adding that when copyright holders complained, they “tried to disguise Jetflicks as an aviation entertainment company.”

The jury convicted the men “of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement,” reports Deadline, noting that one of the individuals was also convicted “of two counts of money laundering by concealment and three counts of misdemeanor criminal copyright infringement.” He faces a maximum penalty of 48 years in prison while the other four each face a maximum penalty of five years, the DOJ says.

The five men were originally indicted in 2019.

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