Technology

Florida Court slaps signal pirate with $51 million penalty

MUMBAI: The Federal Court of Florida has slapped online pirate Robert Ward with a $51 million summary judgment for distributing software that aided to the theft of Dish Network signals.


The $51 million will be distributed between Dish Network, EchoStar Technologies and NagraStar that supplies the conditional access security technology to protect satellite signals from theft.
 
According to Dish, the Court held that posting software on the internet that allows people to receive Dis signals for free, violates the Communications Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and that damages could be calculated according to the number of people who downloaded the software (rather than how many people actually used it to steal signals.


The decision, rendered by the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida, was aimed at piracy software marketed as ‘Thedssguy and Veracity‘ that allowed viewers to bypass NagraStar‘s conditional access security and receive premium as well as regular channels for free. That meant lost potential revenue of over $70 per month per-viewer that did not have to pay to get its programming.
 
The Court said Dish had provided "significant independent admissible evidence of Ward‘s violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Communications Act."


The DMCA prohibits the dissemination of technology "designed or produced for circumventing a measure that controls access to a copyrighted work," is marketed for that function, and has limited commercial use beyond that function.

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