A few months ago we had the story of how DirecTV was harassing innocent techies who happened to buy smart card readers. Clearly, many of the people who buy those readers were using them for illegal purposes (such as pirating signals), but there are legitimate uses for them as well. DirecTV was of the opinion that if you bought such a smartcard reader you were guilty by association - and got their hands on some customer lists of some websites that had been selling those readers. They then sent threatening legal letters to all those customers, telling them to pay $3,500 or face legal consequences. Many of the accused techies fought back and a confused judge ruled against them and even made them pay DirecTV's legal fees. Now, however, those techies are fighting back again, and are accusing DirecTV of violating racketeering laws normally used to put organized criminals in jail. They claim that DirecTV was basically using extortion (and fraud) to force them to pay $3,500 or face a costly lawsuit. DirecTV points to the earlier lawsuit and say they expect this one will turn out the same way.
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