Five convicted of running Netflix knockoff

Five men were convicted in Las Vegas for running Jetflicks, an illegal video streaming platform larger than Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon Prime combined.

A federal jury convicted five men for their roles in running an unauthorized streaming service that generated millions of dollars in subscription revenue, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

It is believed to be one of the largest illegal streaming platforms in the United States and caused “substantial” harm to television program copyright holders. According to court documents, the illegal streaming service has been in operation since 2007.

The defendants, named as Kristopher Dallmann, Douglas Courson, Felipe Garcia, Jared Jaurequi, and Peter Huber, used “sophisticated computer scripts and software to scour pirate websites for illegal copies of television episodes” the DoJ said.

They would then download the copies and host them on Jetflicks servers, reproducing hundreds of thousands of copyrighted television episodes without authorization, amassing a catalog larger than combined catalogs of Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon Prime.

Jetflicks had thousands of paying subscribers, according to court documents, bringing in millions of dollars to Dallman and his co-conspirators.

When complaints from copyright holders and problems with payment service providers started to pile up, the defendants tried to disguise Jetflicks as an aviation entertainment company, according to David Sundberg of the FBI Washington Field Office.

“Digital piracy is not a victimless crime. As these convictions demonstrate, the FBI will indeed investigate those who illegally profit from the creative works of others,” Sundberg said.

The jury found all five defendants guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. Dallmann was additionally convicted of two counts of money laundering by concealment and three counts of misdemeanor criminal copyright infringement.

Courson, Garcia, Jaurequi, and Huber each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison, while Dallmann faces a maximum penalty of 48 years in prison.