A former operator of Kinox.to, Germany's largest pirate streaming site, has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for his involvement in the site. Despite the conviction the streaming site remains operational, as the two main operators are still on the run.
Last year German police carried out raids looking for the operators of Kinox.to, the country’s most used movie streaming portal.
The police actions were part of a large investigation into the local piracy scene which includes a variety of streaming portals and file-sharing services.
As one of the largest European piracy streaming sites and one of the 50 most visited websites in Germany, Kinox.to was the biggest fish. However, despite the massive police response the two main operators are still on the run today while the site remains online.
The authorities did apprehend a third Kinox.to operator, the now 29-year-old Arvit O (aka “Pedro”) who handled things from the technical side. The Kazakh born admin has been detained since last October and this week he was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his involvement in the site.
The trial against Pedro was originally scheduled to continue until the end of January but the prosecution and defense reached an agreement to end the matter early.
The former operator of kinox.to, who made a partial confession, was found guilty by the District Court of Leipzig for infringing the copyrights of 2,889 works. In addition, the court found that he “hacked” computers of two competitors in order to improve Kinox’s market share.
In addition to the prison sentence Pedro must pay 20,420 euros due to the profits he made. During the hearing the former operator informed the court that he was not interested in Kinox for the money, but for the technical challenge.
The public defenders who represented Pedro were very critical about the involvement of the German Federation Against Copyright Theft (GVU), who assisted the authorities in their investigative work.
The attorney’s described GVU as a “Trojan Horse” in the justice system, claiming that they influenced the prosecution.
The anti-piracy group is not phased by the accusation. GVU chief Matthias Leonardy applauds the authorities for the success and says that his organization is committed to helping with similar efforts in the future.
“The successful completion of this criminal process shows once again that […] sound investigative work against copyright cybercriminals is amply rewarded,” Leonardy says.
“The investigating authorities have once again done excellent work here, and they are supported by the GVU and other rightsholders wherever possible,” he adds.