Englewood-based DISH Network faces plenty of challenges in today's entertainment environment, not the least of which is piracy of its programming using software that lets folks with free-to-air receivers view it for nothing. Which is a lot cheaper than a monthly fee.
Stopping all such schemes is damn near impossible -- but earlier this week, DISH, in conjunction with EchoStar Technologies and NagraStar, effectively put the kibosh on one of them, winning a $51 million judgment in Florida against one Robert Ward.
Doubtful that DISH will see much if any of that amount -- but at least the ruling offered some precedential positives, with the court holding that posting pirate software violates the Federal Communications Act, and damages can be based on the number of people who downloaded the software, with fines of up to $2,500 a pop sanctioned.
Read the entire judgment here -- and look below for key passages:
In lieu of actual damages and profits, a prevailing plaintiff under the DMCA may elect to recover "statutory damages for each violation of 1201 in the sum of not less than $200 or more than $2,500 per act of circumvention, device, product, component, offer, or performance of service, as the court considers just..."
The Court concludes that under the facts of this case, Plaintiffs are entitled to a permanent injunction. Plaintiffs have established that Ward's distribution of piracy software caused substantial and unquanifiable harm in that he enabled an untold number of end-users to circumvent the DISH Network security system and intersect copyrighted DISH Network programming. A permanent injunction is also necessary to prevent Ward from engaging in future wrongful conduct because Plaintiffs do not have an adequate remedy to prevent damage they would suffer by further infringement by Ward.