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.
By means of a presidential decree, Uruguay has banned the sale of AZBox STBs and other similar brands because said devices can be modified for the reception of illegal Pay-TV services. According to Prensario Internacional, more than 40,000 of these devices have already been modified in the country. This decision applies not only to the sale of decoders in Uruguayan territory but also their distribution with the purpose of selling them abroad.
Although Uruguay is the first Latin American country to adopt such a measure, other countries have already taken steps to leverage piracy. In Argentina, for example, the Chamber of Audiovisual Channel Producers and Programmers presented last Wednesday two TV spots for a new campaign aimed at promoting the national audiovisual industry growth and fighting against piracy and content theft. In fact, the president of the aforementioned chamber, Sergio Veiga, mentioned the utilization of AZBox STBs and confirmed that it is one of the latest piracy modalities in Latin America.
Veiga also shared figures regarding the piracy issue in the region. About USD 1.2 billion are lost in terms of unsold subscriptions of authorized cable and DTH companies; which accounts for USD 500 million in terms of uncollected taxes and more than USD 800 million lost by programmers.
In turn, Chile has also announced an STB “switch-off” of pirate DTHs in the country. Constanza Tellez, DirecTV Corporate Affairs Manager, stated that “more of these devices are going into Chile, as compared with Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay, because in those countries laws are being applied”. And she added: “Here, we have fallen a bit behind”.
Federal Court enters default against Dark Angel end-user Evelyn Sweeting, awards $10,000 in statutory penalties and issues a permanent injunction
On August 31, 2012 the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia granted DISH Network and NagraStar’s motion for default against Evelyn Sweeting. Sweeting was sued by DISH Network and NagraStar for federal claims arising out of her subscription to the Dark Angel services. The Court’s order includes a permanent injunction against Sweeting as well as an award of $10,000 in statutory damages (the maximum damages per violation) under the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (“ECPA”). 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.
Federal Court enters default against Dark Angel end-user Eric Harris, awards $10,000 in statutory penalties and issues a permanent injunction
On July 24, 2012 the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted DISH Network and NagraStar’s motion for default against Eric Harris. Harris was sued by DISH Network and NagraStar for federal claims arising out of his subscription to the Dark Angel services. The Court’s order includes a permanent injunction against Harris as well as an award of $10,000 in statutory damages (the maximum damages per violation) under the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (“ECPA”). 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.
Last Tuesday, more than 120 German law enforcement officers from several regional command posts were dispatched to raid a total of 23 locations in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.
26 Suspects, aged from 17 to 62, are being accused of data theft, organized cybercrime, commercial resale of copyrighted material, organized fraud, exposing trade secrets and drug trafficking.
The Swiss company Nagravision carried out a large investigation and filed a complaint against the owner of this German IKS network. The investigation was picked up by the cybercrime task force of the Göttingen Police with the help of technicians from Nagravision and Pay TV provider Sky Germany.