Satellite television companies sue Plano man for piracy

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Mar 9, 2011

SHERMAN - A Plano resident is being sued for illegally obtaining subscription-based satellite television programing.

Dish Network, Echostar Technologies and Nagrastar filed suit against Chris Schaefer on March 2 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs obtained the business records of Dark Angel, an alleged pirate television service. The companies claim that the records contained information that Schaefer subscribed to Dark Angel's service, allowing him to illegally decrypt DISH Network's satellite signal and view copyrighted satellite television programming without authorization.

Dark Angel allegedly provided end-users computer software and decryption codes in order to descramble the programming without authority and without payment. Schaefer is accused of violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Communication Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue a permanent injunction preventing the defendant from circumventing the DISH Network security system or receiving without authorization DISH Network's satellite transmissions of television programming and for an order impounding all unauthorized equipment used in the piracy.

The plaintiffs are seeking an award of actual damages, plus any profits made by Schaefer or statutory damages and an award of punitive damages, court costs, attorney's fees, investigative expenses and interest.

The plaintiffs are represented by Chad M. Hagan of Hagan Noll & Boyle in Houston.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:11-cv-00102

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