Suit Accuses DirecTV Of Bombarding Users With Piracy Threats

from the ah,-technology-lawsuits dept

It seems like quite a class action lawsuit is forming against DirecTV. There are quite a few details, so I’ll try to summarize it quickly. It started two years ago when DirecTV tried to hack back against those who hacked their system to get free satellite TV. At the time, this hack was supposed to destroy all the hacked DirecTV cards and make it nearly impossible to get pirated satellite TV any more. Of course, that was a fairy tale, and in some ways it became even easier to work around this hack and get the pirated TV again. DirecTV’s next tactic was to use the DMCA to shut down sites that sold smart-card programmers. In some cases, they even took over the sites, turned them into anti-piracy sites, and (most importantly) got their hands on customer lists. They then blanketed all of those customers with threatening letters, saying they knew they were pirates and would sue them if they didn’t turn over their hacked hardware. The problem is that it’s not illegal to own a smart-card programmer – just to use it to steal programs. So, now, angry users are filing a class action lawsuit against DirecTV for wrongfully accusing thousands of users of pirating signals. DirecTV has responded by filling an anti-SLAPP motion, saying that the class action suit is preventing them from sending out these very important letters to people they believe are pirates. Anti-SLAPP actions usually are filed in the other direction, by people against companies for starting a lawsuit that is specifically designed to prevent them from petitioning for redress. Should be an interesting case to follow…

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