glenn-carstens-peters-EOQhsfFBhRk-unsplash (1)The battle for creators against copyright infringement and piracy is long and ongoing, and made all the more difficult by the fact that the adversary is forever changing and shifting; no sooner does one site shut down than multiple more pop up to take its place, like the many-headed hydra that vexed Hercules and Captain America alike. Or perhaps in citing actual history, it might be more apt to say that it's hard to pin down an enemy that can simply slip away once a battle is lost; the operators of a particular site may face their day in court, but users can simply migrate to the replacements that arise.

Two such iterations that were able to achieve size and scope before the end were Jetflicks and iStreamItAll, two sites that, according to the Washington Post, had libraries that rivaled the biggest and most popular streaming services around. Now, the sites are no more, as Darryl Polo and Luis Villarino, the men who ran iStreamItAll and Jetflicks, respectively, pleaded guilty to charges related to copyright infringement and money laundering.

Both sites differed from the typical sites that are found out and shut down in such cases, in that they weren't offering a repository of free illegal downloads of copyrighted works; rather, each was a subscription service with catalogs of programming, albeit programming stolen from the networks or platforms that in fact owned them. In fact, the men had worked together on Jetflicks before Polo left to start his own competing site in iStreamItAll; really, a familiar business tale if you ignore the illegality of the whole thing, which is admittedly hard.

Now both are facing the inevitable, as no such site could hope to go on for very long before drawing the attention of the law or the companies that own the shows or movies, or both. Indeed, as the Post points out, as streaming becomes a more prevalent part of every studio's portfolio, the energy and effort focused towards protecting that material against theft and infringement will only increase.

Despite the seeming inevitability of the end result in such an effort, there are nevertheless always those willing to skirt the law, to try to get one over for as long as they can with these sites. And while I don't and would never condone any such activity, at least these guys had the sense to make a few bucks off of the thing, as opposed to those operating free sites that end up with far less, save for equivalent legal troubles in the end. That never-ending supply of people willing to put in the effort and court legal jeopardy to save people the $10 a month has to be what worries these companies and studios, as much as the sites themselves.

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