Television, Internet

The following comment is from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation newsletter of the 16th August 2003, Vol 16 No 21:

Satellite TV giant DirecTV has sent ominous letters to an estimated 100,000 individuals, accusing them of purchasing “pirate access devices” and threatening to haul them into court for stealing television channels. The letters tell the unlucky recipients that the prospect of an expensive legal battle will go away if they pay up, usually to the tune of $3,500. Yet, in too many cases, the targets of the letters never intercepted DTV’s signal; they’re only guilty of owning smart card technology. This dragnet is catching innocent security professionals, hobbyists, and entrepreneurs. Without proof of a violation of law, DTV’s unsubstantiated threats to sue are an abuse of the legal system.
As if that’s not bad enough, DirecTV has filed over 9,000 lawsuits against purchasers of smartcard technology, employing an army of lawyers to squeeze even more costly settlements out of individuals nationwide. Ask your Members of Congress to initiate an investigation into DirecTV’s misuse of the law and blatant disregard for the public’s right to use technology.

The DirecTV Defense website sponsored by EFF and Stanford Law School’s Center for the Internet and Society (CIS) Cyberlaw Clinic is at: