There has never been any shortage of Spanish-focused piracy sites.
Roughly a decade ago these sites could operate relatively freely, but law enforcement has become more active recently, in part backed by new legislation.
By now it’s clear that running a pirate site is not without risk. And running five pirate sites at once is even more problematic, as Miguel TG found out the hard way.
Running Five Sites
Miguel and his mother were seen as the masterminds behind the sports streaming copycat site rinconrojadirecta.com, as well as portalXD.com, epubgratis.tv, rinconpeliculas.com, and torrentsdvdrip.com, which offered a wide variety of content.
To facilitate their venture the two founded the company Jupiter Networks. In addition, the mother established a second company, La Clave Ganadora, which was also used to facilitate their online business.
The two eventually appeared on the radar of Spanish law enforcement. According to the prosecution, the five sites offered access to copyright-infringing material and generated over a million euros in revenue between 2013 and 2018.
Most of the revenue came in from rinconrojadirecta.com, likely through aggressive advertising, but with hundreds of thousands of members, portalXD.com was probably the most popular site.
The case went to trial at a Madrid court this week where the prosecution sought five-year prison sentences against the mother and son. In addition, copyright holders requested compensation for the damages they suffered.
Suspended Prison Sentence
The court had scheduled a three-day trial for the case but local newspaper El Pais reports that both parties reached a consent agreement in just three hours.
As part of the agreement, Miguel was sentenced to two years in prison. In addition, he must pay €500,000 in damages to various rightsholders; €125k to LaLiga, €125k to Mediapro, €241k to the Association of National Videographic Distributors and Importers, and €9k to AEVI.
Interestingly, the total damages amount is lower than the revenue the sites reportedly made.
The prison sentence is conditional, meaning that it won’t have to be served if Miguel remains free from criminal accusations in the next five years. He is also required to pay off the full damages amount within seven years. Meanwhile, he is not allowed to operate or host any websites for a two-year period.
As part of this agreement, the prosecution dropped the charges against the mother, who wasn’t sentenced for her role in the operation.
Over the past few hours, several confusing reports appeared in Spanish-language publications. Some mainstream media reports claim that the operator of popular streaming site Rojadirecta.com was convicted, which is not the case.
While Miguel operated rinconrojadirecta.com, which used content from rojadirecta.com, he is not associated with the latter. In fact, the real Rojadirecta previously won a WIPO domain dispute against Miguel’s company because he impersonated the original site, violating the Creative Commons license.
TorrentFreak spoke to the operator of the original Rojadirecta site, who is considering taking steps in response to the “fake news” reports.
The real Rojadirecta is not without legal trouble, as it’s also the subject of a criminal prosecution. In that case, for which the trial has yet to start, the prosecution seeks a four-year prison sentence for the operator and up to two years for five accomplices.