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DirecTV calls small op a thief

Fri, 09/04/2009 - 8:20am
Brian Santo

DirecTV said it is suing the owner of a small cable company in Michigan, alleging the man illegally rebroadcast DirecTV signals (reported to be ESPN and CNN) on his cable systems.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, alleges John Metzler, the owner and operator of Phoenix Communications and Pine River Cable, set up fraudulent accounts in three communities – Baldwin, Beaver Island and Brutus – using fictitious properties, including a non-existent trailer park and an apartment complex. Pine River Cable used the accounts to resell and rebroadcast DirecTV programming to commercial and residential subscribers.

DirecTV said it has cut off the programming in question to subscribers of services being offered through Metzler’s operations. They are instead getting static screens with information on how to subscribe to “legal programming services,” presumably including DirecTV.

DirecTV said it has asked the court to enjoin and restrain the defendant's alleged fraudulent scheme. Under various state and federal laws, DirecTV may be entitled to damages of up to $100,000 for each violation, or more.

More Broadband Direct 09/04/09:
•  BLOG: Think global, and acting is always local
•  AT&T boots up beta site for online videos
•  Verizon COO, president to step down at year's end
•  Cox's My Primetime lands in Vegas, San Diego
•  Rogers to launch online video portal in Nov.
•  DirecTV calls small op a thief
•  Sprint competed with 'Company X' for Virgin Mobile
•  SeaChange names Huai to its board
•  Nokia rights Ovi, welcomes developers with SDK
•  Broadband Briefs for 09/04/09

 

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