TV Signals from Mexico
Posted on July 24, 2015 by Matthew Paré
For those people in the United States near the border with Mexico there is a unique and very important defense in TV signal piracy cases when the signal comes from Mexico. There are Mexican TV stations, including TVAzteca and Televisa that broadcast boxing matches on the airwaves, often on a delay, for television events that are pay-per-view in the United States. Because these broadcasts are over the traditional publically available airwaves and given the proximity to the border, it is possible to receive such programming in the United States for free simply using an old-fashioned bunny ears antenna on the TV. If that is how you or your business received the signal you have a good defense and should not needlessly settle such a claim.
The plaintiffs in TV signal piracy cases are extremely aggressive and will tell people that regardless of how the signal was received there is no defense. That is not true. If a business did nothing other than turn on a TV and display programming that it received for free from the airwaves that is a good defense. Do not be pressured or bullied into settling such a claim against you.
In litigating this type of situation, the defendant’s testimony and testimony of other witnesses regarding how the TV program was received is certainly critical. In addition, however, it is important to obtain documentary evidence from the Mexican TV stations to prove that the program was broadcasted for free, at what time, and in what area. There are extremely complicated discovery procedures and international agreements that apply to conducting discovery in a different country regarding a federal lawsuit in the United States. The most important agreement is the Hague Evidence Convention, which provides for judicial assistance in using the compulsory process of foreign courts to conduct discovery. In short, a U.S. District Court can issue a “letter of request” to what is called the Mexican Central Authority, which will then help facilitate the discovery. There are other possible mechanisms as well, including notices to appear before a consular officer, designation of a private commissioner, letters rogatory, and using the State Department to assist in such matters. The big picture, though, is that this is a very nuanced civil discovery tool. Only an experienced TV signal piracy attorney will be familiar with or have any experience with how to do this. The Law Office of Matthew Pare, APC has this experience and expertise.
In discussing the possibility of receiving Mexican TV signals in the United States as a defense to a claim of TV signal piracy, it should be noted that satellite signals are different than broadcast TV that is available for free on the airwaves. If you are using a Mexican Sky TV system in a business in the United States that is a problem. There are terms of service that go with such an account and will limit the places it is authorized to be used, and the account will have an address associated with it in a different location. You will likely not have a complete defense to a claim of TV signal piracy if you are using satellite TV from Mexico. You will only have a good defense if it is the local Mexican TV station that is broadcasting an event on TV that you can receive on the U.S. side of the border too.
In conclusion, receiving sports programming from a local broadcast Mexican TV station is a good defense to TV signal piracy. Do not let yourself be bullied into wasting money by settling a TV piracy claim against you if that is how you received the signal in the United States. Attorney Matthew Pare can defend you. He can be reached at 619-869-4999.
TV Signal Piracy