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DIRECTV Sues Virginia Residents for Unauthorized Distribution

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DIRECTV has filed a lawsuit against four Haysi, Va., residents alleging that they fraudulently redistributed DIRECTV programming to hundreds of customers over a cable system in rural western Virginia.

In addition to other relief, DIRECTV is seeking a court order to shut down the illegal programming. Affected subscribers have been provided on-screen information about how to obtain legitimate programming services.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, alleges that Dennis Fleming, Dwayne Fleming, Marsha Gibson and Kenneth Thompson, the owners and operators of K & V Cable, set up fraudulent accounts and then used the accounts to resell and rebroadcast the programming to subscribers of K & V Cable.

DIRECTV strictly prohibits the resale or retransmission of any DIRECTV programming and has filed claims against the defendants for violations of the Federal Communications Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Virginia state law.

“Fraudulently obtaining and rebroadcasting satellite TV signals is a serious violation of several federal and state laws that can result in extremely painful financial consequences for any one who engages in this activity,” said James Whalen, vice president of DIRECTV’s Office of Signal Integrity. “DIRECTV is not the only victim in this fraudulent scheme. Hundreds of customers, who were receiving television programming from this illegal distributor, are now without certain services. However, we are attempting to assist those customers with obtaining legal programming services.”

DIRECTV has asked the court to enjoin and restrain the defendant’s alleged fraudulent scheme and for the greater of actual or statutory damages as provided by the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. section 605, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. sections 2510-2521 and state law. DIRECTV may be entitled to statutory damages of up to $100,000 for each violation of 47 U.S.C. – section 605; and for the other federal laws, statutory damages of whichever is the greater of $100 per day for each day of violation or $10,000. Under Virginia state code – section 18.2-187.1 DIRECTV may be entitled to statutory damages of $500 for each violation.

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About DIRECTV, Inc.
DIRECTV, Inc., the nation’s No. 1 satellite television service, presents the finest television experience available to more than 18.3 million customers in the United States and is leading the HD revolution with more than 130 HD channels. Each day, DIRECTV subscribers enjoy access to over 265 channels of 100% digital picture and sound, exclusive programming, industry-leading customer satisfaction (which has surpassed national cable companies for nine years running) and superior technologies that include advanced DVR and HD-DVR services and the most state-of-the-art interactive sports packages available anywhere.

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