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Defending electronic piracy clients since 2003
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If you have received a demand letter regarding “IKS” reception of the Dish Network or Nagrastar signal, you should understand that the claim against you will be based upon evidence that is gathered by professional investigators (frequently retired police investigators) and it is typically a sufficient basis to legally send you a demand letter. Unless they can be convinced that they have no claim, or you negotiate a settlement, they will initiate a proceeding against you in federal court....so heads-up - and please read on.
Signal piracy civil prosecutions are generally conducted pursuant to the Federal Communications Act (Title 47 U.S. Code), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the "Wiretap Act" (Title 18 U.S. Code), all complex and little understood areas of the law. Certainly, it will be very difficult for you to find a local lawyer who is familiar with it. In fact, many of my clients are actually other lawyers, who, having been called upon by one of their regular clients for help in this kind of situation, require my assistance to first understand the issues themselves. Moreover, I know of no one else on the defense side with my knowledge and experience as gained during the defense of hundreds of these cases.
Do not default (fail to respond to a Summons and therefor give the claimant the opportunity to magnify the claim against you in your absence; moreover, judges don't look kindly upon those who ignore a Summons). The consequences of ignoring this will lead to a significant federal judgment against you. A signal piracy case can run into five figures depending upon how the claimant presents the facts and the discretion of the judge - and in the case of distributors or resellers, minimum damages start at five figure sums.
It should be
that as these are civil (rather than criminal) cases, the burden of
proof is “preponderance of the evidence” or “which
is the most likely” - not “proof beyond a
reasonable doubt”. Accordingly, civil cases are generally much
easier to prosecute (and therefore harder to defend) than criminal
Moreover, it is very important to note that the signal provider (or rights owner) enjoys a unilateral (one-sided) claim to attorney fees. That is: once a lawsuit commences, and if Nagrastar wins, the DMCA gives a judge discretion to charge Nagrastar's attorney fees to you (and Title 47 cases give the claimant an absolute right to recover their attorney fees); however, if defendant wins, defendant has no such rights. (Doesn't sound fair, does it? However, it is true!)
misinformation and impractical guidance on the web, such as: "innocent
infringer" or "non-use" defenses.
This includes “I purchased it but I couldn't get
it to work”. If you can show a documented attempt to claim a refund
from the seller, the non-use defense is generally viable, but failing that you
will likely make an ass of yourself in court and quite possibly incur
both court costs and considerable legal expenses for two attorneys
(yours and theirs)..... If you have questions on any of this, including whether you should settle or litigate, you are welcome
to call me for further explanation, free of charge: (631) 274 4610.
should you litigate or should you settle - and if you settle, for how
much? And just as important, the terms of the "release" you get
you settle - and also the fact that these settlements involve future
obligations on your behalf (exclusive of your settlement sum). I offer
you the professional advice of
someone with 20 years experience in this area of the law - and if
settlement is advised, I will negotiate a fair settlement for you. My
professional services are available to you for a very
reasonable flat fee.
Download my Professional Services Retainer here
Other sites from the Law Office of Gary Ruff:
Relevant U.S. anti-piracy laws can be downloaded here.