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Cablevision Systems New York City Corp. v. Pinto

September 29, 2006

CABLEVISION SYSTEMS NEW YORK CITY CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN PINTO A/K/A JOHN PINTO INGIANNI, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gershon, United States District Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff Cablevision Systems New York City Corporation brings this action against defendant John Pinto, alleging that defendant (1) used cable television decoding devices to intercept and obtain unauthorized reception of Cablevision's cable television programming services, in violation of 47 U.S.C. §§ 553(a)(1) and 605(a); and (2) sold and distributed cable television decoding devices to enable others to intercept and obtain unauthorized reception of Cablevision's cable television programming services, in violation of 47 U.S.C. §§ 553(a)(1) and 605(a) & (e)(4). Defendant has stipulated to liability for the first claim, and plaintiff now moves for partial summary judgment on its remaining claim pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant has not responded to plaintiff's motion. Therefore, plaintiff's motion will be treated as unopposed.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

The facts, as supported by the evidence provided by Cablevision, are as follows:*fn1 Cablevision owns, operates, and maintains cable television systems in, among other places, Kings County, New York. To ensure the integrity of its cable services, Cablevision uses the technological measure of scrambling the premium and pay-per-view cable services it transmits. Cablevision provides each subscriber purchasing its services with a converter that is programmed to descramble only those services that the customer has purchased. However, it is still possible to steal Cablevision's premium and pay-per-view services by use of decoding devices, which are designed to descramble premium cable services without payment or authorization.

In an action against North Tech, Inc., a now defunct seller of decoding devices, Cablevision obtained twelve invoices reflecting North Tech's sales of decoding devices to defendant. An investigation by Cablevision revealed that defendant purchased twenty-one decoding devices from North Tech. In his deposition testimony, defendant acknowledged that he subscribed to basic cable services and that he purchased the first decoding device knowing that he would be able to view Cablevision's premium and pay-per-view programming without having to pay for them. Defendant also admitted to giving a decoding device to at least one individual, Jimmy Luong.

B. Procedural History

Cablevision commenced this action on May 5, 2003, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. §§ 553(a)(1) and 605(a) & (e)(4), alleging that defendant used, sold and distributed cable television decoding devices to intercept and obtain and enable others to intercept and obtain unauthorized reception of Cablevision's cable television programming services.

On June 16, 2005, the parties entered into a "Stipulation of Liability," which has been so ordered by the court. The parties stipulated to the following:

1. Pinto admits that he purchased and received two decoding devices from North Tech.

2. Pinto was a Cablevision subscriber at his present address during the time period relevant to this action, and he purchased the Basic Cable level of service, which does not include the right to access any premium or pay-per-view programming services.

3. Pinto attached one of the decoding devices to his television set and Cablevision's cable system.

4. By using the decoding device, Pinto received Cablevision's premium cable television services without payment or authorization.

5. Pinto never had Cablevision's permission to attach to its system any of the devices that he ...


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