On June 17, 2007, a Computer Engineering student at the University of Murcia, Alberto Garcia Sola, registered the domain ‘SeriesYonkis.com’ and began to create a website in which he published links to various servers that host movies and series. , all without permission from the holders of their corresponding copyright. The largest web of links to movies in the history of Spain had just been born.
Problems had also just begun for Alberto: although the website (which he continued to maintain solo) did nothing but gain popularity throughout 2008, in June of that year a Spanish production company took SeriesYonkis to court for linking a of his films (months later, the “Anti-Pirate Federation” would join the lawsuit).
Encouraged by the fact that the current laws did not consider the mere act of linking as “public communication” (and that the sentences for similar cases had been reflecting this), in February 2009 Garcia Sola founded a company with which he would market the Web advertising: Pousen SL.
However, our protagonist sees the changes coming from afar: on April 10, 2010, half a year after the draft of the ‘Sinde Law’ was put on the table (and 11 months before it was approved), Pousen SL sells SeriesYonkis and the rest of its websites (such as PeliculasYonkis) to Burn Media SL. Get a total of €610,000, just at the time when the popularity of the website was ‘exploding’.
A surprising merger deal aborted at the last minute
The new company, founded on December 30, 2009, is owned by Alexis Hoepfner (51% of the shares), Jordi Tamargo and David Martinez. These last two last a little more than a year at the head of SeriesYonkis, before Hoepfner buys his part in May 2011. The change will not be made public until January 18, 2012, one day before the demolition of Megaupload at the hands of the FBI.
Meanwhile, at the end of 2011, negotiations took place to sign a merger agreement that, if consummated, would have raised many eyebrows due to the contradictory approach of the two participants: according to what El Confidencial reported at the time, Hoepfner met with Juan Carlos Tous , CEO of the streaming film platform Filmin, and reached an agreement based on which Hoepfner would keep 23% of Filmin in exchange for SeriesYonkis progressively removing the links from its websites and redirecting its users to said platform. .
But everything went to ruin when Hoepfner, seeing that the judgments of the trials continued to favor the linking websites, decided that he had more to gain on his own. A decision that he possibly regretted later: in 202 the Sinde Commission decided to close SeriesYonkis without going through the courts (Burn Media then launched several clones of SeriesYonkis to continue operating, such as seriescoco.com and serieskiwi.com) and the FBI I link the web to Megaupload as part of a kind of ‘worldwide plot’ of copyright enemies.
For two years, SeriesYonkis was playing cat and mouse with the authorities, aware that the law was still on their side (the links were still not considered ‘public communication’), until on March 1, 2014, Alexis Hoepfner decided sell SeriesYonkis and all its associated websites to Imbfx 2019 SL.
SeriesYonkis died… but the lawsuit against her filed in 2009 still had a rope left
That was the death of SeriesYonkis: it never again offered links to downloads, limiting itself to redirecting users to advertising pages. Again, the reason for the sale was the imminence of some legal changes that would destroy SeriesYonkis’ business model: the new Intellectual Property Law that came into force on January 1, 2015 finally criminalized the preparation of “listings”. ordered and classified links to works” protected by copyright.
But those responsible for the web had not escaped the long arm of the Prosecutor’s Office and the audiovisual industry, the lawsuit filed in 2008 had remained active in the courts for 10 years and finally, in 2019, all of them (from Garcia Sola to Hoepfner, through Tamargo and Martinez) were seated on the bench, with a request for 3 years in prison and payment of 167 million euros (which would later amount to 500 million) as compensation.
” Movies have never been uploaded or could never be uploaded on these websites. It is true that if users were allowed to share links: what they pointed to depended on them,” explained Alberto Garcia Sola (who had been away from the media spotlight for years), during the judgment.
It goes without saying that the thing ended in acquittal (although the appeals ended up extending the process another two years). Despite much insistence from politicians, prosecutors and the industry, no link-gathering activity carried out before 2015 was legally punishable: the recent acquittal of those responsible for Series.ly is further proof of this.