DISH Network, L.L.C. v. Sonicview USA, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 05-31-2012
  • Case #: 09–cv–1553–L(WVG)
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lorenz
  • Full Text Opinion

Creating boxes designed to circumvent satellite encryption illegally is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Opinion (Lorenz): Dish network uses a proprietary chip to decrypt its signal for its customers. Sonicview developed and sold a box that allowed nonpaying box owners to watch Dish Network programming, along with other programming that was not proprietary. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has provisions that address specifically devices designed for decrypting or circumventing piracy protection without the authority of the copyright owners. The court granted summary judgment on behalf of Dish Network, despite Sonicview’s claims that the device was designed to offer legal video and only coincidentally allowed for signal piracy. The court was not willing to consider the claim genuine when looking at the facts, including the fact that on its website, Sonicview offered the software to modify their box into a DISH network downloadable pirating device. The court GRANTED summary judgment, ordered nearly 66 million dollars in damages to DISH Network, including attorney’s fees, and placed an injunction on Sonicview’s devices.

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