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DirecTV to Pursue Pirates

CmdrTaco posted about 13 years ago | from the not-very-surprising dept.

Technology 291

Trinity-Infinity writes "This story from CNNfn details DirecTV's & Hughes Electronics' plans to eliminate the piracy of their signals through a direct-mail campaign. Their source for creating their list of who to mail letters to? Searching bootlegging operations the feds have already busted. It is interesting that as many as 1 million people may be pirating, in comparison to DirecTV's 10 million paying customers." Ya know, I really want to pirate DirecTV, but not to get all the channels... just to get a damn FOX affiliate over my dish so I could use my DirecTivo for The Family Guy and That 70s Show. Is that to much to ask? I already pay for HBO and Sci-Fi channel. Anyway, there's definitely going to be a lot more cracking down on pirated dish stuff: they are getting crazy with the protective measures.

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the cycle of piracy..... (2, Funny)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | about 13 years ago | (#10387)

ha our triple-super-duper-protection device will foil you!!!

Oh yeah, the Z34Vfds3 shreds your protection HAR HAR HAR!!!

ahh-haa!! quadruple-super-dee-duper protection device 4943jffj$, try to stop this!!!!!

Oh jeez, it took 25 minutes for my pet chimpanzee to figure out a work-arround with his model: sld2383D slide ruler....but my parrot had to help him, so I guess you made progress

hmmmm, let's get them arrested. HAHAHA.

Jeez, you got two of us, out of 3 million....good job.

now repeat from the beginning accept change the letter/numbers of the devices arround and add a few dee-dupers.....Piracy will continue no matter what, accept it and concentrate on making your products better, nothing has worked yet and nothing ever will.

PC (2, Interesting)

dsmey (193342) | about 13 years ago | (#10417)

One guy I know pirates this service by putting a cheap PC inbetween their satellite and their DirectTV receiver, thus eliminating the "shutdown" signal they occasionally send out to cancel the pirates' signal. When the PC locks up due to the signal, all you have to do is reboot the PC. I don't know how it works, but it does.

Re:PC (2, Informative)

mistered (28404) | about 13 years ago | (#22575)

It's called emulation. Basically, there's a microcontroller in the smartcard that receives control messages from the satellite receiver set-top, and acts on those messages to enable or disable channels that you have access to. This microcontroller can be remotely reprogrammed, which is how DirecTV disables pirated cards (by reprogramming it with useless code).

What you do with an emulation setup is get an old PC, and emulate the operation of the microcontroller (an 8051) in the PC. That way, if the code gets reprogrammed, you don't have a useless card, just a PC to reboot.

There's some background information on emulation [] at

There's also a DirecTV emulator for linux called Pitou, as mentioned previously on Slashdot. [] That one's pretty neat, since it's based on an existing 8052 simulator called ucsim, and it allows you to use a descrambling card across TCP/IP. Pitou's home page [] is on sourceforge.

Re:PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#28062)

That's called emulating where the PC takes over key functions of the security card. So far DirectTV has not been able to fully break this.

Choices (2, Interesting)

Teflon Coating (177969) | about 13 years ago | (#15213)

I think the reason why so many people pirate tv is because there are no choices. You have to buy this package or another package, you can't get the 4 tv stations you want. I've been switching back and forth from cable to dish because of better prices for each. I myself don't pirate, but to many people it is probably very tempting. Like in order to get the 4 stations i wanted (TechTV, TLC, Discovery, and MTV2) i had to buy the package of 50 stations from dish. I probably never watched any of those for more than 30 minutes. The reason i got the dish was because at the time i bought it, they said after one year you could pick 10 stations and only pay for those. Well after a year of using the service, i called up and it's no longer avalible. If people could pick the stations they want, i think the number of pirates would go way down.

Ask a simple question... (3, Insightful)

Chakat (320875) | about 13 years ago | (#15522)

Ya know, I really want to pirate DirecTV, but not to get all the channels... just to get a damn FOX affiliate over my dish so I could use my DirecTivo for The Family Guy and That 70s Show. Is that to much to ask?
There's actually a pretty simple way around this dilemma, Taco. Get a relative/friend/willing slashdotter/etc who lives out in the middle of nowhere to let you use their address for the bills. You're then considered out of range of local broadcasters and they'll let you have your local channels. After that, you can get all the Family Guy and That 70's Show you can TiVO

Re:Ask a simple question... (1)

JebOfTheForest (207893) | about 13 years ago | (#13081)

I don't have any friends who live in the middle of nowhere, but I do have friends who live in the areas where DTV is allowed to broadcast local networks. Will this tactic work this way? Also, does said person then have to forward all of my bills to me? Can I set up electronic payment or something?

Isn't this a good thing? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#15549)

Isn't this what everybody's been asking for? We've asked companies to stop copy protecting their "intellectual property" at the cost of convenience to ordinary consumers, and go after actual pirates instead, and it looks like this is what they doing.

Cable (4, Interesting)

telbij (465356) | about 13 years ago | (#21530)

Heh, the other day a cable sales guy came to our house and was like "We know you're stealing cable, would you like to subscribe now at reduced rates?"

More companies should offer this kind of piracy discount, I think it'd be a great sell :)

"Pay-Per-View" Article Now Out on DirecTV (3, Informative)

westfirst (222247) | about 13 years ago | (#22083)

Peter Wayner, the author of Free for All , Disappearing Cryptography and other nerd books is selling a short book or long article [] on the war between DirecTV and the hackers. All you need to do it send cash with paypal.

Of course I wonder if the article will be pirated too. :-0

Re:"Pay-Per-View" Article Now Out on DirecTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#23342)

Pirate the text? Is there any way to keep text on the farm? It's like trying to fence in birds with barbwire. Sure they sit on it for a bit, but then they fly where they want.

Taco and I went clubbing the other night (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#22233)

Saw this girl at the club. She had on these really cool black, sparkly pants and a really great ass. I walk up to her and tell her her pants were really cool and she thanks me and she seems really nice and we find out that we're both rolling our asses off. So I tell her that not only are her pants cool but also, that she has a great ass. She laughs, thanks me, and says she appreciates my comment because she works out and a lot on her ass, specifically. So I ask her if I can touch it. She laughs again and says "My ass? OK." So I put my hand on her butt and gave a firm squeeze. I got a handful of the most beautiful, bubbly, firm ass I've ever seen or felt (understand that I'm a butt guy, as stupid as that sounds). "Oh my god," I say and she laughs again. So we get to talking and I find out that she's going to go to the other club we're about to go to. "Maybe I'll see you there," I say and me and my friends go.

I see her at the other club and go to talk to her but it looks like she's with a guy who looks like he's her boyfriend so I just say hi in passing.

So maybe CmdrTaco is right, that drugs are bad. Because that's one of the downsides of rolls...your mack is both on and off...hard to explain.

If I see her again, I'm definitely getting her number...or another handful...or both.

Re:Taco and I went clubbing the other night (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#15027)

So maybe CmdrTaco is right, that drugs are bad.

When did he say something like that?

If he's anti-drugs I'm gonna stop reading this site right now. Or even better. I'm gonna start trolling it!

Re:Taco and I went clubbing the other night (1)

microbob (29155) | about 13 years ago | (#25725)

Rolling? Eh?

Re:Taco and I went clubbing the other night (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#22612)

God I wish I had some pot.

Sometimes I think that here the drug fascists have actually won.

Satellite escrow? (2)

joshamania (32599) | about 13 years ago | (#22668)

The pirates spend enough time/money on pirating signals, why doesn't DirecTV just make a deal where you can buy your dish system for $2000 - $3000, put that money in an escrow account to pay the monthly fees, and then allow the escrow holders to watch everything?

Re:Satellite escrow? (1)

KMitchell (223623) | about 13 years ago | (#34545)

There's at least one problem with this...

The satellite cos are regulated in a variety of ways as to what they're ALLOWED to show you. Between sports blackouts and issues regarding "local" networks it's not *just* about the money.

Of course it really *is* about the money :)

It would be much cooler if... (2, Offtopic)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#23052)

DirecTV were pursuing "Ahoy, matey!" pirates. I'd pay to watch that over the 500-some channels of rubbish they now offer.

fristtty (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#23073)

first CmdrTaco sucks royal dick post!

Re:fristtty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#33031)

Post your latent homosexual fantasies of CmdrTaco sucking your dick somewhere else.

TV Piracy is almost a Tradition in the US (1, Insightful)

Tattva (53901) | about 13 years ago | (#23074)

Who doesn't know someone who got cable for free and "forgot" to tell the cable company?

That said, now that there are 3 choices for television programming (cable, air, satellite) for many people they can no longer use the excuse that they are just fighting the man.

There is finally at least the hope of competition in this long-time monopoly. Honestly, I don't know why this is news worthy of a Slashdot post, unless theft and Slashdot are somehow linked.

Moderate me down if you must.

Cable company GAVE me free TV with internet svc! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#3041)

"I want to signed up for cablemodem service."
"You want our standard CATV package plus internet, sir?"
"No, I just want the cablemodem."

After the install, I plugged a TV into the cable and found I had 75 channels of stuff tere.

Hey, I didn't ask for it. They're giving it to me. I don't have to pay for it nor tell them about their mistakes.

Ugh, there uncoolness factor just redlined (1)

eXtro (258933) | about 13 years ago | (#23076)

I had on a number of occasions said how cool I thought DirecTV was for targetting non-paying service users (I won't call it piracy, because I don't believe it really is) through technology rather than the courts. Apparently they're just another lame company who's willing to abuse the courts (who in turn will blow any corporation with enough money) at the expense of peoples rights.

Reply template (1)

NTSwerver (92128) | about 13 years ago | (#23091)

mailing strongly worded letters to thousands of individuals and families suspected of pirating DirecTV signals, the report said.

Let me get this straight....they're gonna mail people suspected of pirating their signals? So there is a possibility that perfectly innocent people will receive strongly worded letters from DirecTV?

If any innocent parties receive said letter please use my handy reply template below:

Dear Sir/Madam


Yours Sincerely

Where do they get their numbers? (2, Insightful)

masoncooper (443243) | about 13 years ago | (#23137)

I personally wonder where they get these stats...Big software companies always attribute their losses to piracy, what's to stop them from saying "We had 30% less profit this month, our software sucks, but that can't be it, must be piracy" No one's there to stop them from saying that or proving them wrong. Couldn't DirecTV pull a similar stunt in an attempt to explain 1M customers leaving or falling 1M customers short of their expectations(or at least bloat their piracy numbers a bit)?

Intimidation (1)

mseeger (40923) | about 13 years ago | (#23441)

If i would do a business and about than 10% of my goods are stolen by people who invest time and money in doing so, i would consider myself doing something wrong.

There may be anomalies in a small business. But in this case about one million (mostly honest) people are cheating.

You cannot even sue one million people. The only chance is to pick a few and serve them a fate so horrible that the intimidated others comply with your rule. Works great at least short term (some third world dictators reading this to confirm?)

CU, Martin

But how... (3, Interesting)

baptiste (256004) | about 13 years ago | (#23657)

will DirectTV get probable cause for searches? It'll be interesting to see if judges grant the warrants based on product sales, etc. Especially when cops raid legitimate places using the cards (for what I have NO idea :) ) So DirectTV has some addresses, but is that enough to grant a warrant - what if the person just bought a non DirectTV hack product from teh same company - it could get messy.

Re:But how... (5, Insightful)

nanojath (265940) | about 13 years ago | (#12724)

If they had probable cause they wouldn't be doing the mailing campaign; they would just bring the hammer down.

There's no reason to believe this is any different from the BSA mailings featured a while ago: They're fishing. No crime in sending a nasty letter, no legal fees or protracted court battle. I suspect the direct mail piece will essentially say: we know you're up to something, ya no-good dirty pirate, but if you go ahead and subscribe to our service right away we won't bother to investigate you...

If, as the article suggests, they've had patchy success prosecuting the big middlemen operations, how the hell likely are they to succeed in running down the a million diffuse and unfederated end-users? Far as I know class action suits only go one way, and this ain't it, meaning they'd have to prosecute each user individually, and what are they likely to get? A back bill for a few years' service at best? Tell me it could come even close to covering the staggering legal fees.

They're just beating the bushes, hoping to scare some people into subscribing. Note that in the final analysis, they don't gain anything if a pirate simply gives up on stealing the signal. They either need to get retroactive compensation or get them to sign up.

Take a look at the stock graph in the article: that's your whole story. Just trying to prop up sagging revenue. The real question is... just how did they get those lists of names? If they were part of a separate case, under what jurisdiction were those names released to DirecTeeVee?

If the signal passes through my backyard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#24237)

If the signal passed through my backyard I am sure as hell going to do whatever the hell I want with it.

i know it's been said before, but... (3, Insightful)

inquis (143542) | about 13 years ago | (#25762)

the DSS satellites beam the digital signal to practically every square foot of land in the united states of america. last time i checked, it has never been illegal to intercept a signal that is being delivered to your property.

so what exactly is being stolen here?? let's see, they broadcast a signal at me that i did not ask for. i intercept the signal and do what i will with it. if you pay some company, they will furnish you with equipment which makes it easier to use the signal (that is being beamed at you, with or without your consent).

does this "crackdown" seem ludicrious to anyone else? how do you steal what you are being beamed for free?


Re:i know it's been said before, but... (1)

buzzbomb (46085) | about 13 years ago | (#30572)

Well, I agree with you. But look at Virginia and how radar detectors are illegal. It's rediculous, but that doesn't mean that the law doesn't exist.

Bullkaka (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2771)

Last time I checked, my direct tv has NOT cut out the comercials. So why the FUCK should I pay for it? Take out ALL the ads, I will pay for it.

They have legal recourse? (2, Informative)

el_munkie (145510) | about 13 years ago | (#27915)

I seem to remember from the past /. story ( DirecTV's Secret War On Hackers [] ) that sateliette broadcasters had no legal recourse against pirates, on the principle that they are beaming their signals on private property, and the people who live there can do whatever they want to with those signals. It would be the content providers' responsibility to keep the signals off non-customers' lawns.

Though I suppose the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions do apply to doctored smart cards. Sigh.

Oh yeah! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#28059)

I'm holding my asshole wide open and it feels great!

The guy

i am lame (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#28762)


Arrrr.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#28969)

We got us some pirates, matties!

Come on (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#28971)

That 70's show?

Re:Come on (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#6676)

That 70's show?

The redhead is damn sexy!

And Lois is a damn sexy for a cartoon, too.

Yarrrrrr (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#28972)

They'll never catch me! I've got the fastest ship in the fleet!

Re:Yarrrrrr (0)

Big Brass Balls (257794) | about 13 years ago | (#15550)

Just remember not to let the rum sink with the ship. That would be might bad alcohol abuse.

Re:Yarrrrrr (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#34564)

dammit... I was going to post that. :D

fist! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#28973)

first post from an acc.cccccc

Hello sailor! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#28974)

Ahoy matey, I be a butt pirate. Prepare to main the poopdeck as I hoist my mainsail!

Re:Hello sailor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#27733)

I kissed a boy.
It was like kissing me.

Kiss your cubicle neighbour! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#5992)

If you're not a homophobe you'll go and kiss your same sex cubicle neighbour the instant you read this post.

Ha! At least I made you think about doing it!

I'm a lover - not a fighter!

I am already a pirate! (1)

LightJockey (459672) | about 13 years ago | (#29895)

I'll let everyone in on a little secret. Its a super-high-tech space-age device which allows you to watch television without paying a cent. I get all the major (read: Worth watching) stations here in the city, and I don't pay a dime.

ITS CALLED AN ANTENNA! The thing that most satellite providers need to realize is that if you transmit an open-air signal (although its laughably and easily decrypted) someone SOMEWHERE will listen in for free. Sure, they'll go after the pirates.. but like the hordes, as soon as one falls to the sword of the law, three hundred more will spring up in his place, almost invisible.

Eh? (4, Insightful)

geomcbay (263540) | about 13 years ago | (#29973)

Ya know, I really want to pirate DirecTV, but not to get all the channels... just to get a damn FOX affiliate over my dish so I could use my DirecTivo for The Family Guy and That 70s Show. Is that to much to ask?

Is paying DirecTV for usage of their system too much to ask? Nobody really needs all those channels. People generally only get DirecTV for a couple of channels they wouldn't otherwise be able to get in their area. If DirecTV can offer these programs you want to watch in a better way than you can see them now, why not just pay for the service?

IMO Its really damaging to the Geek community to have people who want to pirate DirecTV yelling in chorus with the people who think the DMCA is evil and corporations are trying to strip us of fair use, etc. Just paints us as an unruly mob that wants everything for free.

And, before anyone posts the 'well they broadcast their signal onto my property' defense, I don't buy into that and never will. The fact that these same people would be outraged if they were videotaped and/or voice recorded if they walked by my property (despite the fact that they are reflecting light and broadcasting sound waves onto my property) just makes it more ridiculous.

Got Sarcasm? (1)

fireant (24301) | about 13 years ago | (#17154)

I believe that Taco was referring to the practice of blocking networks (Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS) which have a local affiliate near your area. I think there may even be a law that forces them to. This way, you have to watch the local affiliate with local commercials. Unfortunately, you usually have to have cable in order to get decent reception of the local stations. This is true in my area, you can't get a damn thing if you try to use the bunny ears.

Looking at the quote again:

just to get a damn FOX affiliate over my dish

He is already paying for his service. He's just pissed that he's not allowed to get Fox.

Just the channels I want (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#30451)

If direct TV would just offer channels on an individual basis at a reasonable cost less people would pirate it. There are only about 20 channels I ever watch but to get them all I have to get the Super Duper Bazzillion Channels pack. Why can't they just offer the channels I want. Also for things like the Tour De France I would have gladly paid for Outdoor Life Network for 3 weeks to have that event but to get that I needed to buy 50+ extra channels. Not worth it in my opinion. Any thoughts on why they can't sell "per channel?"

Re:Just the channels I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#12257)

In Canada, the CRTC regulates how channels can be distributed. I don't know all the details, but there are "linkage rules". For instance, you are required with any television package whether it is cable or satellite, to have a certain set of local-type channels. Even after that, you can't get certain premium channels with having a different type of premium channnel first. These regulations and not necessarily the fault of the distributors.

Re:Just the channels I want (1)

fobbman (131816) | about 13 years ago | (#22597)

It's all in the contracts that DirecTV signs to carry the channels on their system. In order to carry popular channel X they are generally required by the owner of said-channel to carry startup lameass channels G, O, A, T, S, E, C, and X [] , plus the usual chunk of the profit. This is what Disney and one of the New England cable companies tussled over last year when there was that blackout of ABC in the area.

So, in order to get "The Discovery Channel" you'll also have to get a dozen other crap channels.


Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#20617)

Don't click on that link! Click on this one instead! []

Re:Just the channels I want (2, Informative)

3333t00l (301558) | about 13 years ago | (#23932)

Why can't they just offer the channels I want.
event but to get that I needed to buy 50+ extra channels. Not worth it in my opinion.

You just want 20 channels not 500?
Ok, that will be $50.00 per month.
DirectTV's costs are not deliniated on a "per channel" basis. They have very high fixed costs ie. satellites. The marginal costs of adding the other 480 channels you your "favorite 20" is negligble. this idea that the cost of 20 channels should be "20/500 x monthly cost" shows an extreme naivete in the way business works.
Same false logic that if record companies sold music by the song than that hit single you like would only cost 1/10 x $15.00 == $1.50. Weell, no average "hit group" only produces 1 hit single per year. I doubt your $1.50 mp3 download would support music creation effort behind that years worth of work.

Re:Just the channels I want (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#3040)

Because not enough people would pay for Outdoor Life Network, or other channels with smaller targets. It's a form of Revenue Sharing, the people paying for ESPN are helping support 24 hour Lawn & Gardening.

Re:Just the channels I want (1)

Smedrick (466973) | about 13 years ago | (#31877)

Good question. I'm sure it's just a matter of greed.

I would love to subscribe just to certain channels. I only use my dish to watch ZDTV (or whatever the hell it is now), MuchMusic and MTV2, and the Practice on ABC (and I have to pay an extra 8 bucks a month just for that!).

Re:Just the channels I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#34471)

>>Any thoughts on why they can't sell "per >>channel?" Duh. Any thoughts on why they sell software for 60 bucks a disk? Any thoughts on why they sell music CDs at 18 bucks each? All together now: "Because they can!"

Re:Just the channels I want (2)

Lizard_King (149713) | about 13 years ago | (#23748)

I agree, but they could be equally exploitative by overcharging for individual channels. Imagine:
MTV $10/month
ESPN $12/month
TNT $5/month
and on and on...

One could rack up a pretty hefty monthly subscription bill.

My question is... (1, Troll)

duffbeer703 (177751) | about 13 years ago | (#30452)

As a loyal Slashbot and staunch advocate of open-everything and coolness in general, how am I supposed to think.

On the one hand, there was a positive article about the DirecTV anti-piracy stuff a few months ago on slashdot.

On the other hand, isn't it evil and wrong to restrict TV from anyone? Shouldn't TV be free for all??

What is the Slashbot groupthink on this issue?

Re:My question is... (2)

BenHmm (90784) | about 13 years ago | (#23620)

and as we slip on our asbestos trousers and sail into the sunset...

I will bite. Why should TV be free for all? If the producers want to sell to a network who only want paying viewers, then shouldn't we respect their wishes? Why should anyone respect the GPL, say, if at the same time the open-everything crowd do not respect other people's choice of license?

Just because it is possible to pirate DirectTV does not give anyone a right to do so. Empowerment is not Entitlement. No arguments as to the price, quality or fairness of the incumbent system are valid whatsoever, if we want people to respect our own practices as much as we desire.

and lo, the asbestos pantaloons fluttered mightily in the seabreeze

Re:My question is... (1)

Smedrick (466973) | about 13 years ago | (#30316)

I don't think TV should be free for all. It's a medium for entertainment. We pay for movies, videogames, strippers, music, etc. and people don't complain about why should TV be free?

just go analog (1)

Aerog (324274) | about 13 years ago | (#30496)

Since this is Slashdot, somebody out there should be able to come up with a computer mod that lets you hook into an old 12' dish and descramble the signal. I'd imagine that you can pick up an analog dish for a couple of bucks these days.

If DirecTV wants to crack down on the pirates, what's stopping a few interested /.ers from going off and getting the feeds from analog.

FOX, Sci-fi, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, and piles of other stuff are already available for feeds on analog, why not save ourselves the trouble?

Only ID10Ts will get busted ... (2, Troll)

Stavr0 (35032) | about 13 years ago | (#33229)

Let me get this straight... M0r0n goes and visit this underground shop that sells pirated DirecTV cards and give them his real name and address?

Sorry, but he deserves to get busted.

Re:Only ID10Ts will get busted ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#6826)


So what are you gonna do when they ask for your official ID? Don't tell me that in the U.S.A. asking for a government supplied ID is illegal...

Re:Only ID10Ts will get busted ... (1)

Mr. McGibby (41471) | about 13 years ago | (#25764)

Why would they even ask for it in the first place?

Re:Only ID10Ts will get busted ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#25424)

To track you down of course.

For instance, if you rent a video they have to be able to track you down if you don't return the movie in time.

Re:Only ID10Ts will get busted ... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | about 13 years ago | (#33048)

Tell them "No"?

It's not illegal to ask. And in most cases, it's not illegal to say no either.

In in some cases, yes, it is illegal to ask for government supplied id (SSN)

Justifiying Piracy?? (1)

Win-Developer (316016) | about 13 years ago | (#33370)

"...just to get a damn FOX affiliate over my dish so I could use my DirecTivo for The Family Guy and That 70s Show. Is that to much to ask? There's definitely going to be a lot more cracking down on pirated dish stuff: they are getting crazy with the protective measures."

That's the stupidest thing I've ever read here on /. You are saying "I only want to pirate this for 2 shows, so then it must be ok" Amazing.

Also "they are getting crazy with the protective measures". What would you expect them to do? They are losing revenue to people pirating the signal. Being easier to pirate than cable TV, they have to come up with some pretty ingenious measures to prevent the rampant piracy that exists. Of the 15 people I know with DirectTV/Dish service, only 1 of them actually pays for the service!

Honestly, what do you expect? I'm sure if you were the president of the company you'd be singing a different tune.

Re:Justifiying Piracy?? (1)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | about 13 years ago | (#25250)

So true! It's a sad, sad truth. People will steal anything that isn't nailed down or hooked up to an alarm (And well, even then). It's SO hard to get worked up about these things when you realise that the ONLY reason they're doing it is because they are already being ripped off. I mean /. gets all pissy anytime something OS is ripped off. But Huges, MS, (insert anyone you don't like here) can just go to hell? It's the constant /. hypocrasy that really hurts. It's a daily stab in the eye to read articles like this. There is absolutely no reason Huges shouldn't do whatever is necessary to keep people from stealing from them. How much does it cost to put up a satelite anyway? Look what happened to Iridium. If enough people steal there'll be no DirectTV at all. (Ok, no one stole from iridium, my point being, if they don't MAKE ENOUGH MONEY, it won't exist.)

Re:Justifiying Piracy?? (2)

Enry (630) | about 13 years ago | (#30248)

What he's saying is because of the crappy FCC regulations, he can't get local channels on his dish and thus use his TiVo to record the channels. Would Taco pay DirectTV to get the local channels via satellite? I hope so.

Re:Justifiying Piracy?? (1)

ethereal (13958) | about 13 years ago | (#32320)

Also "they are getting crazy with the protective measures". What would you expect them to do? They are losing revenue to people pirating the signal.

Actually, I would disagree with that. They already have to blanket the country with their radio signals. The cost is the same for them whether those signals go through my head, a large rock, or a legal DirecTV receiver.

It may be against the terms of your contract to hack your decoder, or to sell it to someone else with the understanding that they would hack it. I don't defend those who have broken such an agreement with DirecTV. But it's not my problem that DirecTV picked the lousy business model of "let's send our signal everywhere, and just sell secret decoder rings". If they weren't going to be able to develop unhackable decoders, maybe they should have picked a different business.

Sigh... The Canadians are the only real heroes in this story :)

Re:Justifiying Piracy?? (2)

Have Blue (616) | about 13 years ago | (#30198)

Ah yes, the good old "if it's in plain sight you should expect it to be stolen" defense. I guess I'll just help myself to your car (parked on a public street no less!) and the contents of your mailbox. And it was your fault for not keeping these items inside your house.

I assume the "lousy" part of their business model is that they have something you want and you aren't allowed to get it for free. Tough shit. They have to pay for the satellite, so they charge the people who use it. You want to watch their content, so you pay them for its percieved value. What's wrong with that?

Re:Justifiying Piracy?? (2)

fishbowl (7759) | about 13 years ago | (#25645)

>Ah yes, the good old "if it's in plain sight you >should expect it to be stolen" defense.

More like, "if you dump it in my yard, it's mine."

What I'd like to see... (1)

shumacher (199043) | about 13 years ago | (#33814) some hard numbers on DirecTV's new purchase contracts. For the past several months, most DirecTV retailers have gotten contracts from system purchasers, asking that they either:
1) Connect the new equipment to DirecTV within 90 days or:
2) Return the equipment to the store.
Failure to do either of these things results in a charge of $200 to the purchaser's credit card. What? Don't have a card? You can't buy a dish.
I'd love to know how many of those $200 charges they've collected on.


so true... (1)

JebOfTheForest (207893) | about 13 years ago | (#34565)

Ya know, I really want to pirate DirecTV, but not to get all the channels... just to get a damn FOX affiliate over my dish so I could use my DirecTivo for The Family Guy and That 70s Show. Is that to much to ask?

I would have directv NOW if I could get a freakin' fox affiliate. They should really get on that. I don't understand why they aren't allowed to give me my local channels. Can't they buy a little government like every other media-related megacorp? There's no other good solution. My local "lifeline" cable deal is $8/mo, I think it's actually a bit more now, and antenna reception sucks. I was seriously considering buying one, paying for it, and getting a bootleg card so that I could tivo-ize network TV. As it stands, I have no cable, no tivo, nothing. A Fox affiliate from Directv is the only missing link...

Re:so true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#833)

Perhaps the eminenet domain theory could be applied to direct tv making the channels available for a reasonable cost on a per channel basis?

As for buying a little government, I think their fear is more with other megacorps than a government regulation.

BSA again? (1)

Blue Aardvark House (452974) | about 13 years ago | (#34612)

"This story from CNNfn details DirecTV's & Hughes Electronics' plans to eliminate the piracy of their signals through a direct-mail campaign."

Are these letters genuine threats to sue, or is it just another BSA [] style marketing tool to sell more product?

Pirates should be treated this way (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#34614)

So this old haggard man of the sea walks into a bar, sits down, and orders a drink. Now, this wouldn't be worth note normally, but he has a steering wheel hanging out of his fly. Not wanting to be rude to a new customer, the bartender says nothing of it and gives him his drinks.

This man starts to become a good customer, so finally, the bartender asks him, "I've really aprecaited your business this past week, but what's with the wheel hanging out of your fly?"

So the man says, "Aye there matey, It's driving me nuts!"

Two Wrongs...? (2, Funny)

Foggy Tristan (220356) | about 13 years ago | (#36769)

So...they're combatting piracy by using junk mail.

What happens with pirates who have opted out of junk mail? Get off scott-free?

Dudes, get over the "seriousness" of piracy. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#29386)

It's petty theft at best. So explain why the penalties are greated than what people who commit rape and 2nd degree murder get?

The laws are fucked. And there's lots worse a person can do than pirate. Go jail the real dangers to society here.

The ultimate slap in the face are CATV commercials that imply that stealing cable will get you condemned to hell.

It's just not much of a crime and ranks right up there with people photocopying magazine articles in the library.

Family Guy (0, Offtopic)

grepMeister (37303) | about 13 years ago | (#4148)

When is the Family Guy returning? Or has it already?

Re:Family Guy (0, Offtopic)

LocalYokel (85558) | about 13 years ago | (#31625)

It's on tonight at 9:30 EDT -- it's the fourth new episode of the season, probably its last. I hope it shows up on DVD... 1016&Q=2624522 []

Re:Family Guy (0, Offtopic)

LocalYokel (85558) | about 13 years ago | (#15420)

Err, last season, not last episode. I have a bad feeling that it's not putting out the ratings Fox wants, nor is it getting the ratings it deserves.

Re:Family Guy (2)

EvlG (24576) | about 13 years ago | (#12256)

The last episode just wasn't that good IMO, so it is easy to see why its not getting the ratings.

I really enjoyed the porn director story of the first 2 episodes, but #3 just didn't do it for me.

I hope the later episodes of the season improve.

Re:Family Guy (2, Interesting)

cybermage (112274) | about 13 years ago | (#13082)

I have a bad feeling that it's not putting out the ratings Fox wants, nor is it getting the ratings it deserves.

The show is great. The problem is that Fox treats it like some kind of bastard step-child. The best way to kill a show is to move it around the schedule and make it disappear for months at a time. Rabid fans will follow it, but the bulk of the viewers, ones who settle into a routine viewing schedule, will give up on it, or assume it has been cancelled.

jerks (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#4609)

last time they shut people down during WWF pay-per-view match. what could be worse than that? haven't they done enough?

Re:jerks (3, Funny)

sqlrob (173498) | about 13 years ago | (#23136)

Waiting till the end of the match?

Will Canada be targetted? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#4610)

DirecTV is an American company. Recently, DirecTV tried to sue a Canadian supplier of programmer for their smart cards used to pirate these signals. The CRTC got involved, and they determined that there are no legal grounds, claiming that DirecTV shoudn't be in Canada in the first place, so they have no legal basis on the lawsuit. So my question is, will DirecTV be targetting Canadian residence?

Re:Will Canada be targetted? (1)

mshomphe (106567) | about 13 years ago | (#22730)

Someone else out there probably know better, but I believe that under NAFTA, DirecTV might be able to make some claims...

"nobody" pays (3, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | about 13 years ago | (#5991)

Almost everybody I know who watches TV has
some kind of cracked system for it. My problem
with this is that *I* can't make myself pay
for something that I know is widely available for free, so I basically do without TV.

If the situation were that everybody really and
truly paid, instead of the "H-Card/PC" situation
I see everywhere, I might be able to justify

This is one case where widespread "piracy" has caused me to evaluate a service as not being worth paying for! (If all my neighbors get the
service for free and take it for granted, I do
not wish to be a chump and pay for it.)

If I paid for satellite tv, I would definitely become the only person I know, and I know plenty,
who pays.

newbie question: sat systems in USA a'la Astra? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#5993)

I have a question, coming from a typical EU sat TV experience:

Back at home, all I had to do was to buy a sat receiver, an 80cm dish, a small motor and the 'converter' (whatever that was called, which goes into the dish's focus point), and I was able to get hundreds [] of channels [] :

  • High quality stuff, like German-Austrian-Swiss 3sat []
  • programs in all kind of languages, from Finnish to Turkish (not that I speak those, but between English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, I had some choice of multi-lingual programming :-P)
  • best of all: I did not have to subscribe to any service, no monthly fee etc.

I don't want to start a flame-war: I just want a similar service here in the USA while I am here. How can I get it?

Or is it so that, in a similar fashion as for cellphones in the USA, I have to pay even for things which are (or should be) paid for already by someone else?

thanks for any detailed help.

PS: what I mean with the cellphone comparison is:

  • I don't see why I should pay for TV movies interrupted by many commercials: I either pay by watching the commercials, or I don't want to see them inbetween movies. Not both.
  • Likewise, I don't want to pay for someone else's phone calls: if someone wants to call my phone, I don't see why I should be paying for it (as if I were asked to pay for incoming calls on my home phone, d'oh)

PPS: I don't want to mess with sat dishes larger than 1m for that, nor to spend more than $300 total for the whole rig (as I'd do in EU).

I'd do it too (3, Insightful)

quartz (64169) | about 13 years ago | (#6092)

I'd pirate Directv too, but I don't have a ship and I can't sail. And I don't have a TV. No really, this "pirate" business is starting to get on my nerves. Why the hell they're calling US pirates? They're the ones who rip us off with high rates, crappy content, bad customer support and questionable service...

Arrrggghhh! (2)

Gehenna_Gehenna (207096) | about 13 years ago | (#15214)

Overheard on the New England coast

Direct TV: Avast ye scurvy channel surfer.. Stand an deliver , your money or your life

Victim: Sorry, I was looking for DirecTv customer service..

Direct Tv: And Ye have found it, ya miserable land-lubber! Now .. would you be interested in upgrading your service or will ya be spendin' the night in Davy Jonse' locker?

Victim: Screw this, I'm going back to cable.

Direct Tv: Threaten me will ya! We'll se whos laughing when you get a Black Spot on yer bill this month!

Victim: 'Click' tone.......................

Re:I'd do it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#23656)

>crappy content

Since you don't "own" a TV, how would you know?

Can't be that bad (2)

truthsearch (249536) | about 13 years ago | (#3038)

The rates can't be too high and the content can't be too crappy... because otherwise 10 million people wouldn't pay for it. There's always land-line cable. I don't know about you, but I don't (voluntarily) pay for things I don't like.

Re:I'd do it too (1)

BenHmm (90784) | about 13 years ago | (#31876)

They're the ones who rip us off with high rates, crappy content, bad customer support and questionable service...

and that really nasty way they come round with sticks and force you to buy.
I hate that.

Re:I'd do it too (1)

quartz (64169) | about 13 years ago | (#31628)

It's true that they don't force anyone to buy, which is exactly why I don't buy any of their products (that is, I *wouldn't* buy any of their products if my landlord didn't force me to pay for cable, even if I don't use it, but whadda hell, I'm free to move if I'm not willing to put up with it). BUT there are people who want to watch TV, and they don't have much choice of providers, do they? I wouldn't exactly call 2 or 3 media-content conglomerates "choice".

Re:I'd do it too (0)

zrizer (448365) | about 13 years ago | (#33440)

Yeah! Down with TV. Not watching TV sends productivity through the roof!
I told my cousin to stop watching TV, so he gave it up for Lent and eventually stopped watching it altogether for the rest of the spring semester. He got straight A's as a direct result! Down with TV!

Re:I'd do it too (1)

uncledrax (112438) | about 13 years ago | (#9696)

1) Pirating TV signal that is subscription based is considered a form of Theft. [I'd say because in most cases you have to specifically do something to pirate it.. if it was just an Air-feed (ie: reg TV), then you can't steal it.
2) Services like DirectTV are not, by any means, something you HAVE to have. It's a luxury.
If you dont think they have good service/programming, dont buy thier service, and try to convience others (rationally) to not buy their service.
This is a concept called the Dollar-Vote.
There is this amazing other concept that if no one buys a product, that product will either improve, or die.

IOW: Quit your bitching.

Re:I'd do it too (1)

lamp77 (147098) | about 13 years ago | (#25646)

>if it was just an Air-feed (ie: reg TV), then
>you can't steal it.

In the U.K. you pay a t.v. tax just to watch the Air feed progs. Violation is persecutable.

Re:I'd do it too (2)

plague3106 (71849) | about 13 years ago | (#30494)

Companies are so big that 'dollar votes' are insignificant.
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