The founder of a German file sharing site made $8.2 million in just four years through advertising and subscription sales on his website, which at its peak had “some 135,000 copyright-protected films and TV series” and “up to 4 million users a day” – just one example of how websites dedicated to content theft rip off others’ creative works to make huge profits.

Yesterday, a German court sentenced Dirk B., the founder of, to four and a half years in prison and ordered him to repay part of that money.

The making of a single movie or television show can take hundreds – even thousands – of workers. It’s not just the actors and directors everyone is familiar with who make great content possible. Each creative project involves many more people behind the scenes – camera operators, editors, makeup artists, costume designers, set builders.

When their creative works are stolen and distributed by illegal foreign websites, they’re not compensated for their hard work. Meanwhile, as seen here in the case, those who operate websites that steal and profit off others’ creative works can make millions.

SEE ALSO: Kim Dotcom: Living Large off Stolen Work