California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris has filed criminal charges against three San Francisco Bay Area brothers for allegedly operating an illegal website that allowed users to watch bootleg versions of copyrighted television shows and movies.
Hop Hoang, 26, Tony Hoang, 23, and Huynh Hoang, 20, were arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court on Thursday. They are accused of operating the website mediamp4.com, which allowed users to illegally stream more than 1,000 copyrighted television and movie titles on computers and mobile devices.
The three have each been charged with one count of conspiracy, four counts of receiving stolen property and one count of grand theft. They face up to five years in prison.
The case marks the first time a state attorney general has prosecuted a case involving a site providing access to illegal content that is primarily streaming and mobile-based. Previously, only trademark cases, such as ones involving DVDs, have been prosecuted by the state.
“Digital piracy is theft. It is a serious crime that harms one of California’s most important economic engines – our entertainment industry,” said Harris. “This case sends a clear message that the California Department of Justice will investigate digital piracy and prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law.”