Eight individuals have been charged with an indictment by the United States for allegedly running two of the "largest unauthorized streaming services".
The federal grand jury that gave the indictment alleges that the two streaming services, Jetflicks and iStreamItAll (ISIA), caused copyright owners to lose millions of dollars.
Both services were used by tens of thousands of subscribers, and could be accessed online and on numerous systems including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, video game consoles, digital media players, set-top boxes, and web browsers.
Jetflicks allegedly obtained infringing television programs from pirate websites -- such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG and Torrentz -- by using automated computer scripts, and then would provide the pirated content to subscribers soon after the shows were aired.
ISIA allegedly used many of the same automated tools that Jetflicks employed to locate, download, process, and store illegal content -- but ISIA also provided movies in addition to television programs -- to quickly make pirated content available to ISIA subscribers.
The two services allegedly reproduced tens of thousands of copyrighted television episodes and movies without authorization, the Justice Department said, and distributed the infringing programs to tens of thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the US and Canada.
"At one point, Jetflicks claimed to have more than 183,200 different television episodes," the Justice Department said.
"The two services allegedly offered more television programs and movies than legitimate streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video."
According to the indictment, Jetflicks was allegedly run by Kristopher Lee Dallmann; Darryl Julius Polo, also known as djppimp; Douglas Courson; Felipe Garcia; Jared Edward Jaurequi, also known as Jared Edwards; Peter H. Huber; Yoany Vaillant, also known as Yoany Vaillant Fajardo; and Luis Angel Villarino.
The second unauthorized streaming service, ISIA, was allegedly created by Polo, who left Jetflicks to make the service.
Dallman and Polo have also been charged with money laundering; criminal copyright infringement by reproduction or distribution; and criminal copyright by public performance.
Outside of the US, countries like Australia have ramped up their efforts to curb the illegal distribution of copyrighted content. Over the past 18 months, there has been a stream of legal battles in Australia over piracy content, resulting in bans of smart TV box websites and sites providing subtitle files.
In Europe, the rollout of the controversial Copyright Directive earlier this year created a stringent regime that requires anyone who copies a snippet of text from a publisher's articles to have a license to do so. It also requires companies to take responsibility for content uploaded by users, which the European parliament argued aims to help musicians, performers and script authors, as well as news publishers, to negotiate better deals for the use of their works.
A group of studios, headed by Roadshow, will only need to notify carriage service providers within two months, instead of six, of whether they want to renew blocks to websites that have been deemed to illegally share copyrighted content.
In the meantime, Foxtel can only request for piracy websites through a legal battle or by getting an agreement from carriage service providers.
Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG, and Vodafone are required to block the sites within 15 days.
Country's High Court has dished out orders for local internet service providers to cut off access to illicit streaming devices, many of which are Android TV boxes preloaded with applications that let users watch pirated content.