Dish Network, L.L.C. v. Alejandri

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 07-30-2012
  • Case #: 10-2064 (CVR)
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Velez-Rive
  • Full Text Opinion

To demonstrate circumvention of access controls, the plaintiff must show: (1) the defendant distributed the technology, and (2) that the technology was designed to circumvent access control systems and has only limited alternative uses.

Opinion (Velez-Rive): Dish Network and several other satellite television providers (Dish Network) sued Alejandri, claiming that his electronics store had sold and distributed equipment for the purpose of allowing circumvention of Dish Network’s encryption system, and for two violations of the Communications Act. Alejandri did not address the facts provided by Dish Network, or provide his own facts in his opposition, which allowed the court to take the uncontested statement of facts from Dish Network as the uncontested facts for resolving its motion for summary judgment. The facts provided by Dish Network established that Alejandri sold satellite receivers with the knowledge that most (if not all) of them would be used for the unauthorized reception and decryption of Dish Network’s signals. Dish Network also established (through the use of an undercover investigator) that while Alejandri was unwilling to modify the receivers to break Dish Network’s encryption in his store, he was willing to help customers find satellite technicians who would. Based upon Dish Network’s uncontested facts, the court granted Dish Network’s motion for summary judgment as to its circumvention claim. The Court similarly granted Dish Network’s motion for summary judgment for a violation of § 605(e)(4) of the Communications Act, but denied its motion as to § 605(a) because that section does not apply to the theft of cable services.

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