Feds Save Signal Pirates


Pay TV operators need to stay in shape when it comes to chasing down programming pirates, especially if the culprit’s home state has its own anti-piracy law.

Federal judges in Philadelphia Tuesday told KingVision, a provider of sports and other closed circuit programming to bars, it was out of luck collecting damages from El Toro Bar in Pennsylvania for illegally screening a pirated broadcast of the April 1999 Evander Holyfield/Lennox Lewis heavyweight title match.

KingVision didn’t bring suit until June 2001, a couple months too late for Pennsylvania’s two-year statute of limitations on cable piracy. KingVision argued that the federal government’s three-year limitation should have applied. But the court said state limitations generally trump federal ones.