California Federal Court Enters Summary Judgment Against Korean-Based Receiver Manufacturer Vicxon Corporation and Its CEO Soo Jong Yeo, Awards Damages in Excess of $27 Million, and Issues Permanent Injunction and Inventory Destruction Relief
On July 26, 2013 the United States District Court for the Southern District of California granted DISH Network, NagraStar and EchoStar Technologies’ (collectively “DISH Network”) Motion for Summary Judgment against Vicxon Corporation and its CEO Soo Jong Yeo. Vicxon Corp. is a Korean-based satellite receiver and dongle manufacturer that shipped various products into the United States for domestic distribution. DISH Network filed suit against Vixcon Corp. and Yeo on January 3, 2012. After prevailing on various motions to dismiss filed by Defendants, DISH Network moved for summary judgment on its DMCA claims. The Court found the receivers and dongles manufactured by Vicxon to violate the DMCA insofar as they included various hardware and software components designed primarily to facilitate circumvention. The Court granted DISH Network’s motion, entered final judgment in their favor, awarded$27,758,200.00 in statutory damages and issued a permanent injunction against future violations. The Court further ordered Defendants to destroy all remaining product inventory and held that Vixcon’s CEO was also individually liable for the judgment amount. 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.
On July 16, 2013, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona ruled in favor of DISH Network, EchoStar Technologies and NagraStar in their long-running battle against Danial Pierce, one of the owners and executive officers of Sonicview USA, Inc. DISH Network previously filed suit against Danial Pierce and his business partners in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California based on their importation and distribution of Sonicview receivers and accessories. On May 31, 2012, the California court ruled that these Sonicview receivers and accessories constitute unlawful piracy devices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Federal Communications Act, and awarded DISH Network approximately $64.9 million in damages and a permanent injunction against Danial Pierce and his co-defendants. DISH Network was in the process of collecting Danial Pierce’s assets in satisfaction of the Sonicview judgment when he and his wife, Sincha Pierce, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Arizona court. DISH Network moved for dismissal of the Pierces’ bankruptcy case on the basis that it had been filed in a bad faith attempt to frustrate DISH Network‘s ability to enforce the Sonicview judgment. The Arizona court granted DISH Network‘s motion and dismissed the Pierces’ bankruptcy case. DISH Network is pleased with the ruling and will continue to aggressively pursue execution of the judgment against Danial Pierce and his co-defendants in the Sonicview litigation.
California bankruptcy court holds piracy judgment against Prosonicview owner Christopher Whitcomb non-dischargeable
On September 17, 2012 the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California ruled in favor of DISH Network, EchoStar Technologies and NagraStar in their long-running battle against Prosonicview owner Christopher Whitcomb. DISH Network filed suit against Whitcomb and his Prosonicview business in February 2011 alleging multiple violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), Federal Communications Act, and the Electronics Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). On July 19, 2011 the District Court entered final judgment against Whitcomb, ordered him to pay DISH Network and NagraStar $14.4 million dollars in statutory damages, and issued a permanent injunction against him. In October 2011 the District Court entered an order finding Whitcomb in contempt of the injunction and cautioned him that any further violations would result in his imprisonment. In an effort to avoid the monetary judgment against him, Whitcomb filed bankruptcy under Chapter 7 in January 2012. DISH Network opposed the discharge of the $14.4 million judgment against Whitcomb and on September 17 the Bankruptcy Court ruled in favor of DISH Network, holding the entirety of the judgment non-dischargeable pursuant to sections 523(a)(4) and (a)(6) of Title 11 of the United States Code. DISH Network is pleased with the Court’s ruling and will aggressively pursue execution of the judgment against Whitcomb and any business entities in which he has an interest.
California Federal Court Enters Summary Judgment Against Sonicview Defendants, Awards $64.9 Million in Damages and Issues Permanent Injunction
On May 31, 2012 the United States District Court for the Southern District of California issued an Order finding Sonicview receivers, i-Hub dongles and A-1 modules violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as well as the Federal Communications Act. The Court’s Order granted motions for summary judgment filed by DISH Network and NagraStar and denied cross-motions for summary adjudication filed by the Sonicview corporate entity and various individual defendants and officers of the company. The Court found Sonicview and its individual officers (Bobby Sanz, Alan Phu and Danial Pierce) jointly and severally liable for statutory damages in the amount of $64.9 Million dollars payable to DISH Network, NagraStar and EchoStar Technologies, and found Sonicview distributors Duane and Courtney Bernard jointly and severally liable for statutory damages in the amount of $984,800.00, and ruled that the damage award was non-dischargeable in Duane Bernard’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. The Court Ordered defendants to destroy all remaining inventory of Sonicview receivers, i-Hubs and A-1 modules, and entered a permanent injunction against all defendants to prevent future violations. DISH Network and NagraStar are pleased with the Court’s ruling and intend to vigorously pursue collection and enforcement remedies.
On March 12, 2012 the United States District Court for the Central District of California entered a temporary restraining order against the owners and operators of the piracy-based websites www.ftaforall.us, www.ftaforall.info, www.ftaforall.net, and www.ftaforall.biz (“Defendants”). DISH Network, NagraStar and EchoStar filed suit against the websites and its Defendants for claims arising under the DMCA, Communications Act and ECPA. The Court’s Order required immediate lockdown and preservation of the websites, which will be held in trust pending resolution of the litigation. A copy of the complaint, summons, temporary restraining order and related materials are available at www.dishnetworkservingnotice.com/ftaforall.