DirecTV to sue pirates

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DirecTV Inc. is targeting illegal viewers in its latest attempt to stop
illegal use of its service, AP reports.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company -- the nation's leading direct-broadcast
satellite provider -- is preparing to sue and seek punitive damages from
individuals who access its signal through illegal access cards purchased from
hackers.

The company's campaign includes mailing strongly worded letters to an
estimated 100,000 people DirecTV suspects of illegally accessing its service.
The first batch was mailed in June.

'We wanted to send a very strong message to consumers that they are receiving
DirecTV programming illegally,' spokesman Bob Marsocci said.

A sample letter obtained by AP warns that gaining illegal access to DirecTV's
programming violates federal and state laws and 'subjects you to statutory
damages of up to $10,000 per violation.'

Illegal viewers can escape prosecution if they agree to immediately surrender
all equipment used to illegally access DirecTV's signal, to never again purchase
such devices, to buy one-year contracts to legally receive the signals, to pay
$500 in restitution to DirecTV and to provide the company with information on
how the pirate equipment was purchased.

DirecTV, a division of Hughes Electronics Corp., has approximately 9.5
million subscribers in the United States.

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