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Dish Network L.L.C. v. Silva

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

May 12, 2015

DISH NETWORK L.L.C., et al., Plaintiffs,
JUAN SILVA, Defendant.


LUCY H. KOH, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Dish Network LLC, EchoStar Technologies LLC, and NagraStar LLC (collectively, "Plaintiffs") move for default judgment against Defendant Juan Silva ("Silva"). ECF No. 14 ("Mot."). Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court finds this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument and therefore VACATES the hearing set for May 14, 2015.

For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED.


A. Factual Background

1. Plaintiffs' Satellite Television Programming

Plaintiff Dish Network LLC ("Dish Network") is a multi-channel video provider that delivers video, audio, and data services to approximately 14 million customers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands through a direct broadcast satellite system. ECF No. 1 ("Compl.") ¶ 10. Dish Network uses high-powered satellites to broadcast movies, sports, and general entertainment services to consumers who have been authorized to receive these services after payment of a subscription fee. Id. ¶ 11. Dish Network purchases distribution rights for the content it broadcasts from providers such as network affiliates, motion picture distributors, sports leagues, etc. Id. ¶ 12. The content distributed by Dish Network is copyrighted, and Dish Network is required by the copyright holders to protect the works from unauthorized distribution. Id . ¶ 13. Thus, Dish Network broadcasts television programming in an encrypted, or scrambled, format to limit its distribution only to those authorized to receive the copyrighted programming. Id. ¶ 17-19.

Plaintiff EchoStar Technologies LLC ("EchoStar") provides set-top box receivers, satellite dish antennas, and other digital equipment for the Dish Network system. Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff NagraStar LLC ("NagraStar") provides smart cards and other proprietary security technologies for use in conjunction with EchoStar's receivers. Id. The security technologies provided by NagraStar form a conditional access system for the Dish Network system. Id. Specifically, each receiver and smart card is assigned a unique serial number that is used by Dish Network when activating the equipment. Id. ¶ 16. These unique serial numbers allow Dish Network to ensure that the equipment only decrypts programming and services that the customer is authorized to receive as part of their subscription package. Id. Dish Network is therefore able to "turn on" and "turn off" programming a customer has ordered, cancelled, or changed. Id. ¶ 17. Dish Network is also able to control which users are able to descramble the programming and services broadcast via Dish Network's broadcast satellite system. Id. Together, the EchoStar receiver and NagraStar smart card convert Dish Network's encrypted satellite signal into viewable programming that can be displayed on a television of an authorized viewer. Id. ¶ 19.

2. Piracy of Dish Network Programming

Over the years, many devices and methods have been used by individuals to illegally decrypt, or "pirate, " television programming. Id. ¶¶ 20-25. The black market in piracy devices represents a multimillion dollar industry in the United States. Id. ¶ 20. One method of pirating network programming involves Internet key sharing, or "IKS." Id. ¶ 22. At a high level, IKS allows users to share the "control words" generated by authorized smart cards which are in turn used by a receiver to decrypt Dish Network's satellite signals. See id. ¶¶ 23-25. With IKS, therefore, unauthorized users are able to decrypt Dish Network's encrypted satellite signal and view programming without paying a subscription fee to Dish Network. Id. ¶ 24-25.

A service called NFusion Private Server ("NFPS") is a subscription-based IKS service. Id. ¶ 25. Members of this service pay an access fee and are able to obtain, over the internet, the control words necessary to decrypt Dish Network's satellite signal. Id. Francis Philip ("Philip"), known as "Vgiddy, " sold subscriptions to NFPS. Id. ¶ 26. In exchange for a fee, Philip would provide a NFPS subscriber with a passcode to a server whereby the NFPS subscriber could obtain the proprietary control words to decrypt Dish Network's programming. Id. ¶ 25. Dish Network acquired Philip's business records. Id. ¶ 26.

3. Silva's Conduct

According to Philip's records, Silva purchased multiple subscriptions to NFPS between March and June 2012, and again in March 2013. Id. ¶ 26. Silva used an unauthorized receiver loaded with piracy software to access the NFPS service. Id. ¶ 27. Accordingly, each time Silva's unauthorized receiver was tuned to an encrypted Dish Network channel, Silva's receiver would retrieve the control word for that channel from the NFPS service. Id. Using this received control word, Silva's receiver could then decrypt Dish Network's encrypted satellite signal. Id. Once decrypted, Silva could then view Dish Network programming without having to purchase a subscription from Dish Network. Id.

Philip's records also link Silva to certain posts made on an internet forum. Mot. at 7. These posts reveal that Silva used two receivers in connection with the NFPS service and that his NFPS service was "working fine" and that he was able to watch "one or 2 movies all the time." Id. at 7-8. Additional posts suggest that Silva had ...

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