SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three brothers from Northern California have been charged with felonies alleging they operated a website that showed bootleg versions of popular TV shows and movies, the state attorney general's office said Friday.
Hop Hoang, 26, and his brothers, Tony Hoang, 23, and Huynh Hoang, 20, were arraigned Thursday in an Alameda County courtroom. Each brother was charged with one count of grand theft, one count of conspiracy and four counts of receiving stolen property.
"Digital piracy is theft. It is a serious crime that harms one of California's most important economic engines — our entertainment industry," Attorney General Kamala Harris Harris said Friday in a written statement. "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."
The brothers, who live in Fremont, are accused of illegally streaming more than 1,000 TV shows and movies at http://mediamp4.com and other websites for more than a year and a half after ignoring demands by the Motion Picture of Association of America to shut them down.
The brothers earned about $150,000 through advertising revenue and allowing the public to illegally watch popular TV shows such as "How I Met Your Mother," and movies such as "Black Swan" and "Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows: Part 1," prosecutors said.
Hop Hoang pleaded not guilty during his court appearance Thursday. His lawyer, Mike Thorman, declined to discuss specifics of the case Friday. Hop Hoang is due back in court in July.
His brothers, Tony and Huynh Hoang, are due back in court June 18. They have not yet been assigned attorneys.
There was no answer Friday at two phone numbers listed in the brothers' names, and another number was disconnected.