Disney Just Got A Ton Of Money From An Illegal Streaming Site

Disney, and almost every other major studio, banded together to sue Dwayne Johnson (not that one), the owner of multiple pirate websites that illegally shared thousands of programs, and was rewarded with a $30 million judgment.

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

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Johnny Depp is not the only pirate being pursued by Disney. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Disney, in conjunction with Netflix and Universal, filed a lawsuit against an online piracy practitioner. The studio cohort won to the tune of $30 million.

Disney and a list of studios, which grew to include Warner Bros., Paramount, Apple, and others, took action against the operator of two illegal streaming sites. The defendant’s name is Dwayne Johnson, but he bears no relation to the Black Adam actor. Johnson operated AllAccessTV and Quality Restreams, two high-traffic piracy sites.

The sites offered users popular content from all the major studios, including franchise entries such as Harry Potter and Jurassic Park titles. The piracy scheme charged $25 per month with an additional $15 per month upgrade for VOD releases. The charge granted subscribers an all-access pass to titles from Disney, Netflix, HBO, Cinemax, NBC, and more across numerous live channels.

All this was done under the guise of selling VPN software. The fact that Johnson disguised what he was selling bolstered the studios’ case that the rampant copyright infringement was intentional. The circumstances entitled Disney and its studio alliance up to $150,000 per stolen title.

In addition to the $30 million judgment, the deal prohibits Johnson from continuing to operate AllAccessTV, Quality Restreams, or any other site that allows for the piracy of movies and TV shows. Johnson earned about $3 million annually from AllAccessTV alone. Now, all that money and more will be paid out in damages.

Disney and the other studios’ copyright lawsuit is the latest effort to crack down on piracy. The bigger picture shows every major studio pinching pennies wherever they can. Shows being canceled or removed from streaming services, fewer new shows, employee layoffs, and measures against account sharing are just a few of the strategic shifts studios are taking to tighten their purse strings.

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Piracy has been an ongoing issue for studios for a long time, and its damages have always been significant. The age of streaming offers new challenges and greater peril for companies like Disney, who have all but bet the farm on streaming success: the more people who stream illegally, the fewer subscriber dollars flow to studios.

Major studios have been duking it out at the box office for decades, but the streaming wars have changed the landscape – and the players. Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple are relatively new to the entertainment game, but they have been giving established studios like Warner Bros. and Paramount a run for their money.

The studios rallying behind Disney in its latest copyright lawsuit is a fascinating show of unity among some of the industry’s biggest competitors. It is also a powerful display of copyright law in action. As studios and production companies become more sensitive to the effects of illegal streaming, entertainment entities will likely continue to use copyright law as a sword and shield in the quest to vanquish profit-eating pirates.

For subscribers to AllAccessTV or Quality Restreams, the music is off, and the lights are on. The piracy party is over in one corner of the web, but illegal streaming practices are rampant. As Disney and the other studios crackdown, the popular game of online piracy may now be more dangerous than ever.