As part of its escalated campaign to curb satellite signal piracy, DirecTV, Inc. recently executed civil seizure and impoundment orders against several businesses and individuals across the United States, and seized several truckloads of equipment used to illegally reprogram DirecTV access cards and steal DirecTV programming signals.
These seizures, believed to be the first under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, were conducted in connection with suits filed in U.S. District Court in California against multiple targets in California, Texas and Florida.
The most prominent targets were Santa Ana-based Fulfillment Plus; WhiteViper Technologies and American Card Programmers of Anaheim; and the defendants believed to have links to those businesses.
They include: Derek E. Trone, WhiteViper Technologies, Future Capital Corp.; Jennifer and William Zinn, Mailroom & More; Bruce Allen Turner, Vector Technologies, Inc., Global Capital Corp.; Jim Stevens, American Card Programmers; Robert Meadows, MEADCO; and Scott Madzig, Fulfillment Plus, Parcel Handlers Ltd.
According to the complaints filed in these cases, the defendants advertised and sold signal theft devices over the Internet and provided and listed programs and instructions for illegally modifying DirecTV access cards.
The targets of the civil seizure and impoundment orders in these cases have included the operators of the Web sites, as well as the manufacturing and distribution sites that supported the Internet businesses.
Members of the DirecTV Office of Signal Integrity, Engineering and Legal departments conducted the seizures, with support from federal, state and local law enforcement entities.
"The use of civil seizures under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a significant new weapon in our fight against signal piracy," said Larry Rissler, vice president, Office of Signal Integrity for DirecTV, Inc.
"By using this statute, we are able to seize equipment or property without prior notice, before there is an opportunity to destroy or hide evidence. We expect to conduct many more raids of this kind in the future against targets big and small."
In addition to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the complaints have also included claims under the Federal Communications Act, Federal Wiretap laws and the California Penal and Civil Codes.
After ordering the seizure and impoundment of illegal devices, the courts in all cases have now issued either temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions, barring the defendants from continuing to conduct business over the Internet or by any other means. Other websites shut down as a result of these orders include www.axxessplus.com, and www.huexpress.com.
DirecTV's intensified campaign to protect the security of its signal includes civil actions and criminal referrals, frequent raids in cooperation with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and the transmission of electronic counter-measures, designed to disable illegally modified access cards.
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DirecTV Files Federal Suit Against Satellite Piracy Ringy
El Segundo - May 15, 2001
Continuing its aggressive enforcement activity against satellite television piracy, DirecTV Inc. today announced it has filed a federal lawsuit against 80 individuals whom it believes trafficked illegal signal theft equipment imported from Canada for sale in the United States.
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