Eight men who allegedly ran pirate streaming services that claimed to offer more content than Netflix have been indicted in the US.
Jetflicks and iStreamItAll claimed to be used by thousands of subscribers and allegedly lost copyright owners “millions of dollars”.
Together they claimed to have more than 300,000 TV episodes and films available to users in the US and Canada.
Many of the films had yet to be made available for home viewing.
Jetflicks charged users $ 9.99 (£8.20) per month, while iStreamItAll, which has yet to be closed down, currently offers monthly plans for $ 19.99 and charges $ 179.99 for a full year.
“The two services allegedly offered more television programmes and movies than legitimate streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.
It is alleged that the services used coding to illegally obtain video from torrent websites like The Pirate Bay.
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“They used sophisticated computer code to scour global pirate sites for new illegal content to download, process and store the shows, and then make those episodes available on servers in the United States and Canada to subscribers for streaming and/or downloading,” the statement said.
The DOJ added that some of the movies offered by iStreamItAll “were not yet available for authorised sale, download, or viewing outside a movie theatre”.
The individuals indicted are Darryl Julius Polo, 36, Kristopher Lee Dallmann, 36, Douglas M. Courson, 59, Felipe Garcia, 37, Jared Edward Jaurequi, 38, Peter H. Huber, 61, Yoany Vaillant, 38, and Luis Angel Villarino, 40.
They have been charged with a range of crimes spanning conspiracy to violate criminal law, money laundering, criminal copyright infringement by reproduction or distribution and criminal copyright by public performance.
The defendants could face up to five years in prison if convicted.