MANILA - The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) caught one of the most wanted pirates of movies and television programs of ABS-CBN and other major television networks in the country.
Jonathan Dela Cruz was caught in the act of pirating television programs of ABS-CBN at his house in Bataan on Monday.
The PNP-ACG said Dela Cruz created the website "pinoy-tv-replay.com https://pinoy-tv-replay.com" that features a variety of shows from the different channels of ABS-CBN.
"Nag-u-upload siya ng video copyrighted by ABS-CBN. Sa website dun sya kumikita sa pay-per-view. Once yung mga tao pumunta sa website at nag-view, automatic nag-ge-generate siya ng pera," said Supt. Bernard Yang, chief of the PNP-ACG Cybercrime Unit.
Through a complaint filed by ABS-CBN, the PNP-ACG conducted surveillance on Dela Cruz for weeks and found his base of operation in Brgy. Camayan in Mariveles, Bataan. He was tracked down by investigators through his Facebook account.
"Ang violation nito is Republic Act 8293 o yung Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines pursuant to the Cybercrime Act of 2012," Yang said.
Judge Ramon Pamular of Nueva Ecija issued a search warrant yesterday afternoon against Dela Cruz. He was arrested after coming back from Hong Kong.
Dela Cruz is a professor of Information Technology at a state college and university in Bataan. He is also a member of a huge fraternity in the country.
ABS-CBN's Assistant Vice President of Global Anti-Piracy Elisha Lawrence said ABS-CBN will pursue cases against pirates such as Jonathan Dela Cruz following "numerous reports of malware on these free sites, which infect viewers' computers allowing hackers to invade people's computers and view their financial records, steal their credit card numbers, photoshop photos that they find in their hard drives and sent to porn sites."
"We are enforcing against these sites to protect our viewers. But in the meantime as we go after each and every one of these sites, protect yourself and your family and stay away from free sites and free streaming sites. Don't pay the high price for free," Lawrence said in a statement.
In an interview with ABS-CBN, Dela Cruz admitted to the crime of piracy, stealing the programs and spreading them online through his website in exchange for money.
"Kunwari po may nag upload kinukuha ko po yung code tapos inaano ko sa blogspot, kaya nga po kami naglalagay ng disclaimer alam ko naman na copyright na kaso ito," Dela Cruz said.
"Piracy nga po yun pero di naman kami yung parang source talaga."
Most of his victims are overseas Filipino workers, he said.
"Fifty to forty dollars po, maiipon po, mga OFW po, kaya naman kami nag-e-embed para makatulong sa mga OFW na hindi nakakapanood, kasi mahal bayad sa iba, pero aware po ako illegal yun mag-spread kami ng video na copyrighted," Lawrence said.
On his website, it was seen that Dela Cruz was also already advertising a free live streaming for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight on May 2 in Las Vegas.
Seized from Dela Cruz through a search warrant were computer hardware and a wide screen television he is allegedly using to pirate programs. There were also several bank accounts, ATM and credit cards that were found in his possession.
Also seized were his motocycle and a sedan.
Aside from the case that will be filed by the PNP-ACG at the Department of Justice, ABS-CBN has also filed a lawsuit today at the US Federal District against Jonathan Dela Cruz for copyright and trademark infringement of ABS-CBN's television shows and movies.
The company is seeking damages of over $6 million.
ABS-CBN is represented by Gilbert Reyes of Poblador Bautista & Reyes Law Offices in the case. Stephen Gaffigan, meanwhile, is representing ABS-CBN in the civil complaint before the US Federal District Court.