Not what you're
looking for? Try an advanced search.
Buy This Entire Record For
V CABLE, INC. v. GUERCIO
June 26, 2001
V CABLE, INC., AND CABLEVISION SYSTEMS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFFS,
THOMAS GUERCIO, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hurley, District Judge.
The captioned cases were tried before the Court non-jury. The purpose
of this decision is to provide my findings of fact and conclusions of law
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52.
By two separate complaints, later consolidated, V Cable, Inc. and
Cablevision Systems Corporation ("Cablevision" or "plaintiffs") have
asserted claims against defendant Thomas Guercio ("Guercio" or
"defendant"), under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
47 U.S.C. § 553(a)(1), 605(a), and 605(e)(4) (the "Communications
Act"). Specifically, the claims against Guercio are as follows:
First, Cablevision alleges that Guercio has sold and
distributed "pirate" cable television
converter-decoder equipment with knowledge and intent
that such devices be used by third party purchasers
and end-users for unauthorized interception and
reception of Cablevision's satellite-delivered premium
and pay per view programming services. This alleged
conduct is in violation of sections 605(e)(4) and
553(a)(1) of the Communications Act. . . .
Second, Cablevision alleges that Guercio has
personally used "pirate" cable television
converter-decoder equipment to intercept and receive
Cablevision's premium and pay per view cable
television programming services which defendant was
not authorized to receive in violation of sections
605(a) and 553(a)(1) of the Communications Act. The
use of "pirate" cable television converter-decoder
equipment to intercept satellite delivered cable
television programming is a violation of sections
605(a) and 553(a)(1) of the Communications Act.
(Pls.' Rev. Pre-Trial Order at 2-3.)
Defendant in his answer and during his trial testimony denied that he
purchased, used, or distributed pirate cable television converter-decoder
equipment. Additionally, defendant has asserted a number of affirmative
defenses, including that plaintiffs' actions are time barred under the
applicable statute of limitations.
a) At all times hereinafter mentioned, Cablevision
Systems Corporation is a corporation organized and
existing under the laws of the State of Delaware which
is duly registered to do business in New York State
and having its principal business offices at One Media
Crossways, Woodbury, New York.
b) At all times hereinafter mentioned, defendant
Thomas Guercio is an individual residing at 6
Cliftwood Place, Kings Park, New York 11754.
c) Cablevision operates cable television systems
pursuant to franchises awarded to it by the political
subdivisions of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New
York, which authorize it to construct, operate and
maintain cable television systems in Nassau and
Suffolk Counties, New York. Cablevision offers cable
television services to subscribers who request and pay
d) Cablevision's programming is offered to its
subscribers in "packages" of programming services.
"Basic" and "Family" tiers are packages of programming
services that a subscriber receives at a monthly
rate. Subscribers may also elect to purchase certain
premium programming services, such as Cinemax,
Home Box Office and Showtime, for an additional
monthly charge per service.
e) Additionally, Cablevision offers pay per view
programming, a service enabling a subscriber to
purchase individual movies, sporting events, or other
entertainment for a pre-event fee over and above the
subscriber's regular monthly fee.
f) Each subscriber is entitled to receive only that
level of programming services that he or she selects
g) The signals for Cablevision's cable television
services are received via satellite and transmitted
from Cablevision's satellite reception facilities to
subscribers' homes through a network of cable wiring
2. Cable Television Converter-Decoder Equipment
To prevent its subscribers from receiving services that they have not
purchased, Cablevision encodes or "scrambles" the signals for all of its
premium and pay per view programming. When signals to Cablevision's
premium or pay per view programming are scrambled, that programming is
rendered unviewable by a subscriber who has not purchased such
programming. In conjunction with its encryption security process,
Cablevision provides to those subscribers who have purchased any premium
or pay per view programming a device known as a "converter-decoder."
Cablevision's authorized converter-decoder devices are "addressable, "
which means that Cablevision programs each device in a subscriber's home
from its central computer to descramble only those specific premium and
pay per view programming services that a subscriber has purchased.
Conversely, any premium or pay per view programming that the subscriber
has not purchased will not be descrambled by the device furnished by
Cablevision. The industry is plagued by individuals and entities who
market unauthorized "pirate" converter-decoders which permit a purchaser
of the device to obtain Cablevision's scrambled premium and pay per view
programming without paying the required fee to Cablevision.
3. Cablevision Has Established That Defendant Purchased Pirate
Descrambling Devices ...
Buy This Entire Record For