The Possibility of Subpoenas in TV Piracy Cases

Posted on June 29, 2015 by Matthew Paré

Imagine this: You have been sued for allegedly committing TV signal piracy regarding one boxing match that you showed at a place of business.  You know that for many years you have been using a residential TV account at the place of business and did not think it was a problem, but over the years you have shown perhaps a dozen or so pay-per-view fights.  The plaintiff has made an exorbitant settlement demand just for the one known violation.  The plaintiff’s attorney threatens that with additional litigation they will send subpoenas to the TV service providers to get to the bottom of the true extent of the violations and then amend the complaint to include numerous additional violations, making the settlement position go up.  It may seem that you should quickly settle to avoid the possibility of the situation snowballing out of control to something that would be unmanageable.  This is where the expertise of an experienced TV signal piracy attorney is necessary.

For most attorneys looking at a situation like this it may seem like a problem that cannot be solved and the only solution is to agree to the high settlement demand in order to avoid a potentially worse situation if the additional violations are revealed.  The reality is, however, that the ability of the plaintiff to discover those additional violations can be severely restricted in the discovery phase of the litigation.  There are federal statutes that provide for the privacy of cable and satellite TV records, namely 47 U.S.C. section 551 for cable, and 47 U.S.C. section 338(i) for satellite TV subscribers.  These types of laws can be used to essentially prevent the plaintiffs in TV signal piracy cases from digging into the viewing history of a TV account.  

There is a significant danger in the possibility of the plaintiff discovering multiple TV piracy violations, especially if the wrong type of account had been used for an extended period of time at a business location.  The theoretical possibility of this problem, however, is much worse that the actual likelihood of this happening with good counsel because the TV service providers can be prevented from releasing the records that will likely be requested.  In other words, although there will be a subpoena to produce the records, there are also these federal laws that say that the records are supposed to be private and protected.  This in particular is a very delicate subject in which you will need expert legal counsel to effectively protect your interests.  

If you are at all concerned about the possibility of an out-of-control situation developing due to the possibility of subpoenas to TV service providers revealing several pay-per-view events being shown at a commercial location, you will need the assistance of attorney Matthew Pare.  Do not be intimidated into settling for too much money when there are laws in place to protect the privacy of TV records.  Due to his familiarity with the discovery procedures in the federal court system and a deep knowledge of the relevant laws and how to use them to your advantage, Mr. Pare will be able to protect you from what may seem like a potentially very bad situation.  Attorney Matthew Pare can be contacted at 619-869-4999.

TV Signal Piracy

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