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CITE

    47 USC Sec. 553                                             01/08/2008

EXPCITE

    TITLE 47 - TELEGRAPHS, TELEPHONES, AND RADIOTELEGRAPHS
    CHAPTER 5 - WIRE OR RADIO COMMUNICATION
    SUBCHAPTER V-A - CABLE COMMUNICATIONS
    Part IV - Miscellaneous Provisions

HEAD

    Sec. 553. Unauthorized reception of cable service

STATUTE

    (a) Unauthorized interception or receipt or assistance in
      intercepting or receiving service; "assist in intercepting or
      receiving" defined
      (1) No person shall intercept or receive or assist in
    intercepting or receiving any communications service offered over a
    cable system, unless specifically authorized to do so by a cable
    operator or as may otherwise be specifically authorized by law.
      (2) For the purpose of this section, the term "assist in
    intercepting or receiving" shall include the manufacture or
    distribution of equipment intended by the manufacturer or
    distributor (as the case may be) for unauthorized reception of any
    communications service offered over a cable system in violation of
    subparagraph (1).
    (b) Penalties for willful violation
      (1) Any person who willfully violates subsection (a)(1) of this
    section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not
    more than 6 months, or both.
      (2) Any person who violates subsection (a)(1) of this section
    willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private
    financial gain shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned
    for not more than 2 years, or both, for the first such offense and
    shall be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned for not more
    than 5 years, or both, for any subsequent offense.
      (3) For purposes of all penalties and remedies established for
    violations of subsection (a)(1) of this section, the prohibited
    activity established herein as it applies to each such device shall
    be deemed a separate violation.
    (c) Civil action in district court; injunctions; damages;
      attorney's fees and costs; regulation by States or franchising
      authorities
      (1) Any person aggrieved by any violation of subsection (a)(1) of
    this section may bring a civil action in a United States district
    court or in any other court of competent jurisdiction.
      (2) The court may -
        (A) grant temporary and final injunctions on such terms as it
      may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain violations of
      subsection (a)(1) of this section;
        (B) award damages as described in paragraph (3); and
        (C) direct the recovery of full costs, including awarding
      reasonable attorneys' fees to an aggrieved party who prevails.
      (3)(A) Damages awarded by any court under this section shall be
    computed in accordance with either of the following clauses:
        (i) the party aggrieved may recover the actual damages suffered
      by him as a result of the violation and any profits of the
      violator that are attributable to the violation which are not
      taken into account in computing the actual damages; in
      determining the violator's profits, the party aggrieved shall be
      required to prove only the violator's gross revenue, and the
      violator shall be required to prove his deductible expenses and
      the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the
      violation; or
        (ii) the party aggrieved may recover an award of statutory
      damages for all violations involved in the action, in a sum of
      not less than $250 or more than $10,000 as the court considers
      just.
      (B) In any case in which the court finds that the violation was
    committed willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or
    private financial gain, the court in its discretion may increase
    the award of damages, whether actual or statutory under
    subparagraph (A), by an amount of not more than $50,000.
      (C) In any case where the court finds that the violator was not
    aware and had no reason to believe that his acts constituted a
    violation of this section, the court in its discretion may reduce
    the award of damages to a sum of not less than $100.
      (D) Nothing in this subchapter shall prevent any State or
    franchising authority from enacting or enforcing laws, consistent
    with this section, regarding the unauthorized interception or
    reception of any cable service or other communications service.

SOURCE

    (June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title VI, Sec. 633, as added Pub. L. 98-
    549, Sec. 2, Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2796; amended Pub. L. 102-
    385, Sec. 21, Oct. 5, 1992, 106 Stat. 1498.)

AMENDMENTS

      1992 - Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 102-385, Sec. 21(1), substituted
    "$50,000" for "$25,000", "2 years" for "1 year", "$100,000" for
    "$50,000", and "5 years" for "2 years".
      Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 102-385, Sec. 21(2), added par. (3).
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1992 AMENDMENT
      Amendment by Pub. L. 102-385 effective 60 days after Oct. 5,
    1992, see section 28 of Pub. L. 102-385, set out as a note under
    section 325 of this title.
                              EFFECTIVE DATE
      Section effective 60 days after Oct. 30, 1984, except where
    otherwise expressly provided, see section 9(a) of Pub. L. 98-549,
    set out as a note under section 521 of this title.
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