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Echostar sues ViewTech


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238 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   hankmack

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 07:10 PM

Todays online Journal has a large article about E* suing distributors of equipment that allows people to view without paying.

Sorry, I can not copy article.
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#2 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 09:18 PM

"Satellite-television broadcaster EchoStar Communications Corp., estimating that its signals are pirated at two million residences across North America, has gone on the offensive by filing suit against a Southern California distributor of set-top boxes and others it accuses of masterminding such schemes.

"The suit, filed in federal district court in San Diego, accuses the defendants of selling equipment and software designed to circumvent the company's security systems. The filing presents a glimpse into the latest twists in the shadowy world of stolen satellite-TV programming..."

Full article available to subscribers here: http://online.wsj.co...e_whats_news_us
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#3 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 09:31 PM

And there's more, from Thursday's Denver Business Journal: "EchoStar and its related company, NagraStar LLC, ... filed suit against ViewTech Inc., its founder Jung Kwak and several unknown individuals on July 13.

"The claim alleges ViewTech sold a set-top box known as Viewsat that allowed customers to pick up DISH Network programming for free once they downloaded software to it.

"Kwak was linked to the sale and marketing of the boxes directly because he frequently participated in chats on Web sites devoted to pirating satellite television feeds..." Full story here: http://www.bizjourna...16/daily45.html

ViewTech response: "...ViewTech and Mr. Kwak intend to vigorously defend against the baseless claims made by Echostar and Nagrastar. ... (Some competitors) have falsely stated that ViewTech’s distributors, dealers and customers are on some sort of list of alleged infringers of supposedly copyrighted materials, and that they may be liable or named in a lawsuit filed against ViewTech. ... (But none) of ViewTech’s distributors, dealers or customers are named or even identified in the allegations of the Complaint, or on any other list." Full letter (PDF) here: http://www.viewsatus...er Responds.pdf
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#4 OFFLINE   Richard King

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 10:33 PM

Cliff Notes of WSJ article not in the Business Journal article:
1. Echostar and independent consultant, The Carmel Group, places the number of of pirate households at approx, 2 million.
2. Lost revenue is estimated at approx $1 Billion per year.
3. Carmel reports that a total of 8 distributors have sold 2.1 million of the boxes in question worth approx $350 million retail.
4. Sales volume is not justified by legit purposes.
5. The success of the "FTA" product depends upon quickly providing the codes to break the Echostar/Nagra system.
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#5 OFFLINE   kenglish

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 06:04 AM

How can they possibly claim ANY "lost revenue", much less "$1 Billion per year"?

Do they really believe that all those folks would have gladly paid full price for every possible channel, if only they didn't have a bootleg box,.....all 2.1 million of them? Maybe they would not have subscribed at all.

And, Echostar pays for programming on the basis of how many paying subscribers they KNOW they have. So, if these 2.1 million alleged "thieves" are not on E*'s books, they are not costing Charlie ANY MONEY at all.

And, "stealing" usually infers that you are depriving someone of something. Had those 2.1 million people not received the programming, those microwaved ones and zeroes would have just sailed out across the universe, never to be heard from again. They certainly did not intercept these waves and prevent others from using them.

So, this is all just a "victimless crime", like "moving", or lying to a local station.
Good for the ViewTech people. They're fighting for our freedom!

Some old timers may note that this post is similar to a long discussion/tirade that went on a few years ago, when we discussed why "moving hurts no one" (and is allowed on these kinds of forums), while "piracy is bad" (for the sat companies, at least) and is forbidden ;)

BTW, their claims (#4 and #5) about "legit purposes" and "success of the product" are misleading. FTA really is a legitimate use. Many, if not most, international channels are available FREE OF CHARGE via FTA. There are, literally, hundreds of channels that are both interesting to watch, as well as legal to watch.

#6 OFFLINE   rid0617

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 06:09 AM

Cliff Notes of WSJ article not in the Business Journal article:
1. Echostar and independent consultant, The Carmel Group, places the number of of pirate households at approx, 2 million.
2. Lost revenue is estimated at approx $1 Billion per year.
3. Carmel reports that a total of 8 distributors have sold 2.1 million of the boxes in question worth approx $350 million retail.
4. Sales volume is not justified by legit purposes.
5. The success of the "FTA" product depends upon quickly providing the codes to break the Echostar/Nagra system.



According to Echostar and the company they paid to provide this. I have 2 Viewsat boxes only because the price was right and use them totally legally for free to air viewing. They make it sound like every one of them were sold only for illegal purposes. I currently recieve 455 channels world wide, approximately 200 speak english, are unscrambled and totally free after the initial investment. Total for my set up which includes 30 inch dish, SG2100 motor and receiver, right at $300. Satellite companies probably hate that fact Other enjoyment includes watching live remotes from satellite trucks all over the country. Apparently they got a copy of the RIAA play book.

#7 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:15 AM

I have no idea of the merits of this lawsuit, and I am specifically not speaking about it here. (rid0617, I don't have any reason to think Dish is trying to crush legitimate FTA.) But in general, it irks me that a number of pirates use "FTA" as a euphemism for piracy. It causes a lot of confusion over what a true, legal FTA receiver is supposed to do.

kenglish, I don't trust anyone's unsupported numbers, but do you believe that there exists at least one viewer out there who is using a pirate box who would otherwise subscribe? Every person like that represents true lost revenue.

About piracy vs. "moving", moving is lying in order to pay for different TV channels, but piracy is something in order to avoid paying for anything. Which makes it worse in my book.

Piracy is not stealing just as drunk driving is not reckless driving. They're all bad, but they're not the same. It's like sneaking into a movie theater; piracy cheats content creators and distributors out of what they deserve. :nono:
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#8 ONLINE   Nick

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:20 AM

SkyReport:

In a letter addressed to the "FTA Community," the attorney for ViewTech said the company and its owner intend to fight the charges recently brought against it by EchoStar and Nagrastar. The complaint - filed in a southern California Federal District Court last week - claims ViewTech's free-to-air receivers allow consumers to illegally access DISH Network programming.

Manuel De La Cerra, legal representative for ViewTech and its owner Jung Kwak, said his client "intends to vigorously defend against the baseless claims made by EchoStar and Nagrastar." The attorney also said the company and Kwak are confident they will prevail in court as the lawsuit moves forward.

Also in the letter, De La Cerra said since news of the lawsuit has spread, competitors of ViewTech's have been improperly making contact with its distributors, dealers and customers and "maliciously conveying false information" about the company. According to the attorney, ViewTech's business partners and customers have been falsely told that they could possibly face litigation of their own for infringing on "supposedly" copyrighted materials.

"Let's be absolutely clear - only ViewTech and Mr. Kwak have been named as potential defendants," De La Cerra said. "None of ViewTech's distributors, dealers or customers are named or even identified in the allegations. The Federal Court has not been asked, nor has it given any interim relief whatsoever to either EchoStar or Nagrastar."

The product in question is ViewTech's free-to-air receiver dubbed VIEWSAT. In the lawsuit, EchoStar claims ViewTech is loading the receivers with pirate-enabling software that "ensure(s) the device will receive and descramble DISH Network programming without authorization from or payment to EchoStar." De La Cerra said ViewTech intends to continue supplying products that "push the bounds of FTA."

www.SkyReport.com - used with permission

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#9 OFFLINE   Ken S

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:06 AM

Why is this a problem for Dish and not DirecTV?

#10 OFFLINE   bidger

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:36 AM

Different encryption methods.

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#11 OFFLINE   paulman182

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:38 AM

D* had the same problem until it upgraded its encryption.

From what I read, D* might not be "unhackable" but no one worries about it, because E* hacks are so easy.

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#12 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:41 AM

Doesn't D* use a non-standard MPEG format instead of true MPEG2?
That helps with security. Until they go MPEG4 and cards become easily available.
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#13 OFFLINE   dhines

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 12:35 PM

bottom line (to me) is this . . . if they are sending out their product over the airwaves, and not providing adequate encryption, they are to blame. they (e*) made the choice that it would be cheaper to pursue this in court rather than upgrade their sat technology. so long as the consumer can legally purchase items that can decrypt their signal, the consumer is not to blame. additionally, if someone can manufacture something that can decrypt their signal, i don't think there is anything wrong with this either.

as stated above, if e* invested in the appropriate security, this would be a non-issue. yet another example of why e* is a second rate company.

#14 OFFLINE   Jim5506

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 12:48 PM

bottom line (to me) is this . . . if they are sending out their product over the airwaves, and not providing adequate encryption, they are to blame. they (e*) made the choice that it would be cheaper to pursue this in court rather than upgrade their sat technology. so long as the consumer can legally purchase items that can decrypt their signal, the consumer is not to blame. additionally, if someone can manufacture something that can decrypt their signal, i don't think there is anything wrong with this either.

as stated above, if e* invested in the appropriate security, this would be a non-issue. yet another example of why e* is a second rate company.


So if someone steals a check out of my mail it is my fault for not having it mailed in a stainless steel vault?

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#15 OFFLINE   paulman182

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 12:52 PM

I do agree that it reflects poorly on E* that they are too cheap to properly encrypt their signal, and prefer to depend on lawyers (who probably work on percentage) to dissuade piracy.

Equipment includes a buncha stuff that I no longer have interest in detailing


#16 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 12:54 PM

I finally got the full WSJ article in front of me, and I'm insulted.

According to the article, if I read it correctly, the lawsuit is based at least partly on logic and analysis provided by The Carmel Group of Monterey CA. Here's a summary of what The Carmel Group is supposed to have said:

* Almost 2.1 million FTA receivers have shipped in North America.
* Legitimate FTA programming is "of interest to only very limited audiences."
* Therefore, that many sales can't be justified by what the article termed "any conceivable legitimate uses."

What?? They're saying that it's effectively impossible that there are that many viewers who want international programming? religious programming? wild feeds of news reports and sporting events? classic TV shows and movies?

I hope that this is all just posturing and trying to work up a stronger argument against someone who reportedly hangs out on pirate forums.
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#17 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 12:57 PM

bottom line (to me) is this . . . if they are sending out their product over the airwaves, and not providing adequate encryption, they are to blame. they (e*) made the choice that it would be cheaper to pursue this in court rather than upgrade their sat technology. so long as the consumer can legally purchase items that can decrypt their signal, the consumer is not to blame. additionally, if someone can manufacture something that can decrypt their signal, i don't think there is anything wrong with this either.



So if a guy picks the lock to your front door and gets inside... he can take whatever he wants because it is your fault for not having a lock that he couldn't pick?

Sure, it behooves a company like Dish to try and come up with something that can't be hacked... but history shows us that anything that can be protected can be broken eventually. This is the game of everyone vs the hackers... and it happens all over the world in various technology sectors. Company A comes up with new protection, Hacker A breaks it... Company A improves to new "unbreakable" code, Hacker A breaks that... and the cycle repeats.

IF Dish can prove any collusion between the company making/selling these FTA receivers and hackers, then Dish is absolutely right to go after them! IF it were just a case of certain FTA receivers being more popular with the hackers then I think Dish would have to limit the scope to just those stealing them.

IF the guy who breaks into your home does so with a Craftsman drill... I wouldn't expect Craftsman to be held accountable... BUT if Craftsman marketed and sold a "Lock-breaker 1000" and said it was good for breaking into people's homes... that would be a horse of a different color.

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#18 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 01:37 PM

The DMCA doesn't speak to the adequacy or sophistication of encryption. It holds that any effort to defeat encryption is against the law.

Key to this will be proving that the software that defeats the encryption was being offered by ViewTech.

#19 OFFLINE   dhines

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 01:39 PM

So if a guy picks the lock to your front door and gets inside... he can take whatever he wants because it is your fault for not having a lock that he couldn't pick?

Sure, it behooves a company like Dish to try and come up with something that can't be hacked... but history shows us that anything that can be protected can be broken eventually. This is the game of everyone vs the hackers... and it happens all over the world in various technology sectors. Company A comes up with new protection, Hacker A breaks it... Company A improves to new "unbreakable" code, Hacker A breaks that... and the cycle repeats.

IF Dish can prove any collusion between the company making/selling these FTA receivers and hackers, then Dish is absolutely right to go after them! IF it were just a case of certain FTA receivers being more popular with the hackers then I think Dish would have to limit the scope to just those stealing them.

IF the guy who breaks into your home does so with a Craftsman drill... I wouldn't expect Craftsman to be held accountable... BUT if Craftsman marketed and sold a "Lock-breaker 1000" and said it was good for breaking into people's homes... that would be a horse of a different color.



the key point you are missing is this . . . if they were distributing their content over a private network, that would be theft. but, they are choosing to distribute it over open airwaves, hence your statements above are not applicable. more to the point, it would be as if i left my wallet in a public place and then wanted to sue the person that found it and did not give it back to me with all of its contents.

when a comapany or individual chooses to expose their products (or assets) to the public, it is their responsibility to protect them. my house is on my property, therefore no matter the type of security i have it is against the law for someone to take from me.

apples to oranges my friend (at least in my mind).

#20 OFFLINE   SaltiDawg

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 01:54 PM

...
So, this is all just a "victimless crime", like "moving", or lying to a local station.
...


(Ranting deleted.) Yeah, and I shouldn't have to pay for long-distance telephone calls because they already have all the equipment and it cost nobody anything for me to use the service. Those Commie Pinkos. :rolleyes:




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