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CITE

    47 USC Sec. 605                                             01/08/2008

EXPCITE

    TITLE 47 - TELEGRAPHS, TELEPHONES, AND RADIOTELEGRAPHS
    CHAPTER 5 - WIRE OR RADIO COMMUNICATION
    SUBCHAPTER VI - MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

HEAD

    Sec. 605. Unauthorized publication or use of communications

STATUTE

    (a) Practices prohibited
      Except as authorized by chapter 119, title 18, no person
    receiving, assisting in receiving, transmitting, or assisting in
    transmitting, any interstate or foreign communication by wire or
    radio shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance,
    purport, effect, or meaning thereof, except through authorized
    channels of transmission or reception, (1) to any person other than
    the addressee, his agent, or attorney, (2) to a person employed or
    authorized to forward such communication to its destination, (3) to
    proper accounting or distributing officers of the various
    communicating centers over which the communication may be passed,
    (4) to the master of a ship under whom he is serving, (5) in
    response to a subpena issued by a court of competent jurisdiction,
    or (6) on demand of other lawful authority. No person not being
    authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication
    and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport,
    effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person.
    No person not being entitled thereto shall receive or assist in
    receiving any interstate or foreign communication by radio and use
    such communication (or any information therein contained) for his
    own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. No
    person having received any intercepted radio communication or
    having become acquainted with the contents, substance, purport,
    effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof)
    knowing that such communication was intercepted, shall divulge or
    publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or
    meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) or use such
    communication (or any information therein contained) for his own
    benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. This
    section shall not apply to the receiving, divulging, publishing, or
    utilizing the contents of any radio communication which is
    transmitted by any station for the use of the general public, which
    relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, or
    which is transmitted by an amateur radio station operator or by a
    citizens band radio operator.
    (b) Exceptions
      The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply
    to the interception or receipt by any individual, or the assisting
    (including the manufacture or sale) of such interception or
    receipt, of any satellite cable programming for private viewing if -
        (1) the programming involved is not encrypted; and
        (2)(A) a marketing system is not established under which -
          (i) an agent or agents have been lawfully designated for the
        purpose of authorizing private viewing by individuals, and
          (ii) such authorization is available to the individual
        involved from the appropriate agent or agents; or
        (B) a marketing system described in subparagraph (A) is
      established and the individuals receiving such programming has
      obtained authorization for private viewing under that system.
    (c) Scrambling of Public Broadcasting Service programming
      No person shall encrypt or continue to encrypt satellite
    delivered programs included in the National Program Service of the
    Public Broadcasting Service and intended for public viewing by
    retransmission by television broadcast stations; except that as
    long as at least one unencrypted satellite transmission of any
    program subject to this subsection is provided, this subsection
    shall not prohibit additional encrypted satellite transmissions of
    the same program.
    (d) Definitions
      For purposes of this section -
        (1) the term "satellite cable programming" means video
      programming which is transmitted via satellite and which is
      primarily intended for the direct receipt by cable operators for
      their retransmission to cable subscribers;
        (2) the term "agent", with respect to any person, includes an
      employee of such person;
        (3) the term "encrypt", when used with respect to satellite
      cable programming, means to transmit such programming in a form
      whereby the aural and visual characteristics (or both) are
      modified or altered for the purpose of preventing the
      unauthorized receipt of such programming by persons without
      authorized equipment which is designed to eliminate the effects
      of such modification or alteration;
        (4) the term "private viewing" means the viewing for private
      use in an individual's dwelling unit by means of equipment, owned
      or operated by such individual, capable of receiving satellite
      cable programming directly from a satellite;
        (5) the term "private financial gain" shall not include the
      gain resulting to any individual for the private use in such
      individual's dwelling unit of any programming for which the
      individual has not obtained authorization for that use; and
        (6) the term "any person aggrieved" shall include any person
      with proprietary rights in the intercepted communication by wire
      or radio, including wholesale or retail distributors of satellite
      cable programming, and, in the case of a violation of paragraph
      (4) of subsection (e) of this section, shall also include any
      person engaged in the lawful manufacture, distribution, or sale
      of equipment necessary to authorize or receive satellite cable
      programming.
    (e) Penalties; civil actions; remedies; attorney's fees and costs;
      computation of damages; regulation by State and local authorities
      (1) Any person who willfully violates subsection (a) of this
    section shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned for not
    more than 6 months, or both.
      (2) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section
    willfully and for purposes of direct or indirect 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 conviction and shall be fined not more than $100,000 or
    imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for any subsequent
    conviction.
      (3)(A) Any person aggrieved by any violation of subsection (a) of
    this section or paragraph (4) of this subsection may bring a civil
    action in a United States district court or in any other court of
    competent jurisdiction.
      (B) The court -
        (i) may grant temporary and final injunctions on such terms as
      it may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain violations of
      subsection (a) of this section;
        (ii) may award damages as described in subparagraph (C); and
        (iii) shall direct the recovery of full costs, including
      awarding reasonable attorneys' fees to an aggrieved party who
      prevails.
      (C)(i) Damages awarded by any court under this section shall be
    computed, at the election of the aggrieved party, in accordance
    with either of the following subclauses;
        (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 each violation of subsection (a) of this section
      involved in the action in a sum of not less than $1,000 or more
      than $10,000, as the court considers just, and for each violation
      of paragraph (4) of this subsection involved in the action an
      aggrieved party may recover statutory damages in a sum not less
      than $10,000, or more than $100,000, as the court considers just.
      (ii) In any case in which the court finds that the violation was
    committed willfully and for purposes of direct or indirect
    commercial advantage or private financial gain, the court in its
    discretion may increase the award of damages, whether actual or
    statutory, by an amount of not more than $100,000 for each
    violation of subsection (a) of this section.
      (iii) 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 $250.
      (4) Any person who manufactures, assembles, modifies, imports,
    exports, sells, or distributes any electronic, mechanical, or other
    device or equipment, knowing or having reason to know that the
    device or equipment is primarily of assistance in the unauthorized
    decryption of satellite cable programming, or direct-to-home
    satellite services, or is intended for any other activity
    prohibited by subsection (a) of this section, shall be fined not
    more than $500,000 for each violation, or imprisoned for not more
    than 5 years for each violation, or both. For purposes of all
    penalties and remedies established for violations of this
    paragraph, the prohibited activity established herein as it applies
    to each such device shall be deemed a separate violation.
      (5) The penalties under this subsection shall be in addition to
    those prescribed under any other provision of this subchapter.
      (6) Nothing in this subsection shall prevent any State, or
    political subdivision thereof, from enacting or enforcing any laws
    with respect to the importation, sale, manufacture, or distribution
    of equipment by any person with the intent of its use to assist in
    the interception or receipt of radio communications prohibited by
    subsection (a) of this section.
    (f) Rights, obligations, and liabilities under other laws
      unaffected
      Nothing in this section shall affect any right, obligation, or
    liability under title 17, any rule, regulation, or order
    thereunder, or any other applicable Federal, State, or local law.
    (g) Universal encryption standard
      The Commission shall initiate an inquiry concerning the need for
    a universal encryption standard that permits decryption of
    satellite cable programming intended for private viewing. In
    conducting such inquiry, the Commission shall take into account -
        (1) consumer costs and benefits of any such standard, including
      consumer investment in equipment in operation;
        (2) incorporation of technological enhancements, including
      advanced television formats;
        (3) whether any such standard would effectively prevent present
      and future unauthorized decryption of satellite cable
      programming;
        (4) the costs and benefits of any such standard on other
      authorized users of encrypted satellite cable programming,
      including cable systems and satellite master antenna television
      systems;
        (5) the effect of any such standard on competition in the
      manufacture of decryption equipment; and
        (6) the impact of the time delay associated with the Commission
      procedures necessary for establishment of such standards.
    (h) Rulemaking for encryption standard
      If the Commission finds, based on the information gathered from
    the inquiry required by subsection (g) of this section, that a
    universal encryption standard is necessary and in the public
    interest, the Commission shall initiate a rulemaking to establish
    such a standard.

SOURCE

    (June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title VII, Sec. 705, formerly title VI,
    Sec. 605, 48 Stat. 1103; Pub. L. 90-351, title III, Sec. 803, June
    19, 1968, 82 Stat. 223; Pub. L. 97-259, title I, Sec. 126, Sept.
    13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1099; renumbered title VII, Sec. 705, and
    amended Pub. L. 98-549, Secs. 5(a), 6(a), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat.
    2802, 2804; Pub. L. 100-626, Sec. 11, Nov. 7, 1988, 102 Stat. 3211;
    Pub. L. 100-667, title II, Secs. 204, 205, Nov. 16, 1988, 102 Stat.
    3958, 3959; Pub. L. 103-414, title III, Secs. 303(a)(25)-(28),
    304(a)(15), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4295-4297; Pub. L. 104-104,
    title II, Sec. 205(a), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 114.)

AMENDMENTS

      1996 - Subsec. (e)(4). Pub. L. 104-104 inserted "or direct-to-
    home satellite services," after "programming,".
      1994 - Subsec. (d)(6). Pub. L. 103-414, Sec. 303(a)(25),
    substituted "subsection (e)" for "subsection (d)".
      Subsec. (e)(3)(A). Pub. L. 103-414, Sec. 303(a)(26), substituted
    "paragraph (4) of this subsection" for "paragraph (4) of subsection
    (d) of this section".
      Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 103-414, Sec. 303(a)(27), redesignated
    subsec. (f), relating to universal encryption standard, as (g).
      Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 103-414, Sec. 304(a)(15), which directed
    substitution of "The Commission" for "within 6 months after
    November 16, 1988, the Federal Communications Commission", was
    executed by making the substitution in text which read "Within 6
    months" rather than "within 6 months" in introductory provisions to
    reflect the probable intent of Congress.
      Pub. L. 103-414, Sec. 303(a)(27), redesignated subsec. (f),
    relating to universal encryption standard, as (g). Former subsec.
    (g) redesignated (h).
      Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 103-414, Sec. 303(a)(27), (28), redesignated
    subsec. (g) as (h) and substituted "subsection (g)" for "subsection
    (f)".
      1988 - Subsecs. (c), (d). Pub. L. 100-626 added subsec. (c) and
    redesignated former subsec. (c) as (d). Former subsec. (d)
    redesignated (e).
      Subsec. (d)(6). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(1), which directed the
    addition of par. (6) to subsec. (c), was executed to subsec. (d) to
    reflect the probable intent of Congress and the intervening
    redesignation of subsec. (c) as (d) by Pub. L. 100-626.
      Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(2)-(12), which directed
    the amendment of subsec. (d)(1) to (4) of this section, was
    executed to subsec. (e)(1) to (4) of this section, see below, to
    reflect the probable intent of Congress and the intervening
    redesignation of subsec. (d) as (e) by Pub. L. 100-626.
      Pub. L. 100-626 redesignated subsec. (d) as (e). Former subsec.
    (e) redesignated (f).
      Subsec. (e)(1). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(2), substituted
    "$2,000" for "$1,000".
      Subsec. (e)(2). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(3), substituted
    "$50,000 or imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both, for the
    first such conviction and shall be fined not more than $100,000 or
    imprisoned for not more than 5 years" for "$25,000 or imprisoned
    for not more than 1 year, or both, for the first such conviction
    and shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned for not more
    than 2 years".
      Subsec. (e)(3)(A). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(4), inserted "or
    paragraph (4) of subsection (d) of this section" before "may
    bring".
      Subsec. (e)(3)(B). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(5)-(8), struck out
    "may" after "The court" and substituted "may grant" for "grant" in
    cl. (i), "may award" for "award" in cl. (ii), and "shall direct"
    for "direct" in cl. (iii).
      Subsec. (e)(3)(C)(i)(II). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(9), inserted
    "of subsection (a) of this section" after "violation", substituted
    "$1,000" for "$250", and inserted before period at end ", and for
    each violation of paragraph (4) of this subsection involved in the
    action an aggrieved party may recover statutory damages in a sum
    not less than $10,000, or more than $100,000, as the court
    considers just".
      Subsec. (e)(3)(C)(ii). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(10), substituted
    "$100,000 for each violation of subsection (a) of this section" for
    "$50,000".
      Subsec. (e)(3)(C)(iii). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(11),
    substituted "$250" for "$100".
      Subsec. (e)(4). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 205(12), added par. (4) and
    struck out former par. (4) which read as follows: "The importation,
    manufacture, sale, or distribution of equipment by any person with
    the intent of its use to assist in any activity prohibited by
    subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to penalties and
    remedies under this subsection to the same extent and in the same
    manner as a person who has engaged in such prohibited activity."
      Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 204, added subsec. (f)
    relating to universal encryption standard.
      Pub. L. 100-626 redesignated subsec. (e), relating to rights,
    obligations, and liabilities under other laws, as (f).
      Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 100-667, Sec. 204, added subsec. (g).
      1984 - Pub. L. 98-549, Sec. 5(a), designated existing provisions
    as subsec. (a) and added subsecs. (b) to (e).
      1982 - Pub. L. 97-259 struck out "broadcast or" after
    "communication which is", substituted "any station" for "amateurs
    or others", struck out "or" after "general public,", and
    substituted "ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, or
    which is transmitted by an amateur radio station operator or by a
    citizens band radio operator" for "ships in distress".
      1968 - Pub. L. 90-351 inserted "Except as authorized by chapter
    119, title 18", designated existing provisions as cls. (1) to (6),
    inserted "radio" before "communication" in second and fourth
    sentences, struck out "wire or" before "radio" in third sentence,
    and substituted "intercepted" for "obtained" in fourth sentence.
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1988 AMENDMENT
      Amendment by Pub. L. 100-667 effective Jan. 1, 1989, see section
    206 of Pub. L. 100-667, set out as an Effective Date note under
    section 119 of Title 17, Copyrights.
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1984 AMENDMENT
      Section 5(b) of Pub. L. 98-549 provided that: "The amendments
    made by subsection (a) [amending this section] shall take effect on
    the effective date of this Act [Dec. 29, 1984]."
      Amendment by Pub. L. 98-549 effective 60 days after Oct. 30,
    1984, except where otherwise expressly provided, see section 9(a)
    of Pub. L. 98-549, set out as an Effective Date note under section
    521 of this title.
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