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A Regret and a Warning from a Pirate in Puerto Rico

Piracy isn’t worth the risks, or the consequences.

My name is Francisco Llinas and I operate an entity known as FJ Internet. While the bulk of my products and services relate to internet services and installations, I previously got involved in the purchase and sale of a handful of devices and codes that could be used for unauthorized access to DISH Network programming through IKS and IPTV piracy. That was a huge mistake, and one that I will regret for years to come.

My involvement in those product sales resulted in DISH and NagraStar filing a lawsuit against me, my company, and certain family members in Puerto Rico federal court. After the Court sided with DISH and NagraStar on some preliminary rulings, and after spending significant resources on legal fees, a judgment and permanent injunction was entered against me. Not only has the litigation taken a toll on the legitimate aspects of my business, but it caused major problems and stress for my entire family. I have now agreed to shut down that part of my business, and have agreed to assist and cooperate with DISH and NagraStar, providing them information related to who sold me the piracy products and codes, and customers who purchased them.

Prior to DISH filing suit, NagraStar investigators visited me in Puerto Rico with a proposal to avoid formal litigation and have me exit the piracy business. Unfortunately I was short sighted and did not take responsibility for my misconduct at that time. The investigators for NagraStar were very prepared and discussed the evidence they had gathered against me. They were also aware of the temptations of piracy in Puerto Rico and other places. Like any risky or illicit business, there are consequences and costs associated with piracy. The NagraStar investigators are extremely thorough and committed to identifying and taking action against people and businesses involved in piracy of their technology and the DISH service.

Through this experience I have learned the hard way that piracy is not a ‘harmless’ violation; neither to the companies that have legitimate broadcast rights, nor to providers or customers using unauthorized services to access those rights. Learn from others’ mistakes. Don’t let my story become your own.

Francisco Llinas, dba FJ Internet Solutions

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Ohio Federal Court rules against Satlobo IKS end-user, awards DISH/NagraStar $10,000 in damages, and Orders permanent injunctive relief

On May 14, 2018 the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio granted DISH Network and NagraStar’s motion for final judgment against Jose Perez Santiago.  Santiago was sued by DISH Network and NagraStar in 2017 for federal claims arising out of his use of IKS codes to an unauthorized, subscription-based pirate television service known as Satlobo. The Court’s order includes a permanent injunction against Santiago, as well as an award of $10,000 in statutory damages under section 2520 of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  DISH Network and NagraStar continue to investigate and take action against those responsible for trying to circumvent the companies’ security system in order to gain unauthorized access to DISH Network programming, as well as those selling products or services that facilitate unauthorized access to that programming.

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Kim Nguyen Dao is found Guilty of Contempt of Court and Sentenced to Four Months Imprisonment and To Pay Costs

On April 27, 2018, Kim Nguyen Dao (“Kim Dao”) arrived at Court wearing a suit, and left wearing shackles, further to being sentenced by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to a four-month prison sentence effective immediately.

The Application was brought by DISH Network LLC & EchoStar Technologies LLC, and by NagraStar LLC, further to a number of serious breaches of a prohibitory Permanent Injunction rendered against, amongst others, Kim Dao, dated September 1, 2015 (the “Permanent Injunction”). On March 26, 2018, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found beyond a reasonable doubt that Kim Dao had breached the Permanent Injunction by, amongst other things, (a) advertising Piracy Technology and illegal subscriptions; (b) selling a device which enabled access to encrypted satellite television channels for which DISH Network had exclusive distribution rights; (c) assisting third parties to operate the Piracy device sold; (d) his actions were wilful and deliberate and he was clearly aware that the Permanent Injunction prohibited him from distributing equipment that provided access to DISH Programming; and (e) he wilfully chose to evade the effect of the Permanent Injunction by continuing to offer for sale prohibited devices.

Kim Dao’s numerous breaches follow previous breaches of the same Permanent Injunction by his father, Binh Dao, who was previously found in contempt on October 21, 2016. It appears that Kim Dao has chosen to follow his father’s illegal footsteps, in a deliberate disregard of the law and the order of the Court.

Plaintiff’s counsel, Danielle Ferron of Langlois lawyers, argued that that i) Kim Dao’s contempt was very serious, wilful, deliberate and a challenge to the authority of the Court, ii) that there were no mitigating factors and iii) numerous aggravating factors. Furthermore, in the context of satellite piracy, in which there is an active piracy community that shares information about legal developments, both general and specific deterrence are particularly important.

At the sentencing hearing, the Court reviewed the substantial evidence filed by Plaintiffs (including the fact that Kim Dao had continued to engage in illegal piracy activities even after Contempt proceedings were launched and even after the Court found him in Contempt), as well as the very limited arguments raised by Kim Dao, which were found by the Court to be highly insufficient. The court concluded that there were no mitigating factors. Kim Dao’s alleged attempt to purge his contempt did not convince the Court, that in any event, the steps taken by him were insufficient and that even if believed, claims of good behaviour in the future could not purge past breaches. Furthermore, the Court did not find his apologies to be genuine or sincere and noted that an apology made only after a contempt finding raises serious doubts as to its sincerity and suggests that it is an apology of convenience.

The Court further referred to the fact that there were numerous aggravating factors, such as i) Kim Dao’s contempt was blatant and wilful; ii) his conduct is illegal under Canadian Law, namely subsections 9(1)(c) and 10(1)(b) of the Radiocommunication Act, as well as section 327(1) of the Canadian Criminal Code; iii) his failure to comply with multiple costs order and a damages award; iv) his breaches were of a final judgment; and v) his contempt caused serious prejudice to the Plaintiffs. The Court was also sensitive that its decision should not be the proverbial “slap on the wrist”, and that a fine would be insufficient and inappropriate. The order needed to be proportionate to the seriousness of the situation, as well as address the matter of general and specific deterrence.

If dealers in Piracy Technology believed that breaches of Orders of the Court will not be punished in a meaningful way, they are now proven otherwise.  The Court found that the proper sentence would include four months imprisonment, without parole or remission, and $15,000 in costs, over and above the $30,000 costs already awarded for the Contempt Motion.

The Plaintiffs DISH Network LLC & EchoStar Technologies LLC are satellite television broadcasters that provide encrypted subscription-based satellite television programming services to their customers in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The services of DISH are not lawfully available in Canada. DISH electronically scrambles its satellite signals to prevent unauthorized viewing of DISH Programming. The Plaintiff NagraStar LLC  is the supplier of proprietary encryption technology that is used by DISH to restrict access to DISH Programming for use only by legitimate subscribers. This decision is just one other successful steps in their fight against television piracy.

California Federal Court enters judgment and injunction against IKS end-user

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On October 17, 2017 the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted DISH Network and NagraStar’s motion for final judgment against Paul Jimenez.  Jimenez was sued by DISH and NagraStar in May 2017 for federal claims arising out of his purchase and use of IKS subscription codes to the unlawful internet key sharing service Nfusion Private Server (NFPS). The Court’s order includes a permanent injunction against Jimenez as well as an award of $10,000 in statutory damages under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”) as well as an award of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.  DISH and NagraStar continue to investigate and take action against those responsible for trying to circumvent the companies’ security system in order to gain unauthorized access to DISH Network programming.

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Paul Jimenez Order

 

Indiana Federal Court enters judgment and injunction against IKS end-users

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On September 25, 2017 the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana granted DISH Network and NagraStar’s motion for final judgment against Linnis and Paulette Kincaide.  The Kincaides were sued by DISH Network and NagraStar in 2016 for federal claims arising out of their purchase and use of IKS subscription codes to Nfusion Private Server (NFPS). The Court’s order includes a permanent injunction against the Kincaides as well as an award of $10,000 in statutory damages under the Federal Communications Act.  DISH Network and NagraStar continue to investigate and take action against those responsible for trying to circumvent the companies’ security system in order to gain unauthorized access to DISH Network programming.

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