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Understand that, generally speaking, both signal providers and copyright owners do, under federal law, have a valid legal claim against you. Moreover, a “demand letter”, such as you have received, is typically supported by sufficient, professionally obtained evidence. (Many of the investigators employed by rights owners are retired detectives.)  

These cases are currently being prosecuted by the Lonstein Law Office, the Law Offices of Thomas P. Riley, and Hagan Noll and Boyle, LLC; among others. All are experienced attorneys who are prepared to commence a civil prosecution against you. Unless they can be convinced they have no claim, or a settlement occurs, a “Summons and Complaint” (usually returnable in your local Federal District Court) will be forthcoming).  

Signal piracy civil prosecutions are usually conducted pursuant to Title 47 U.S. Code - a complex and little understood area of the law. Certainly, it will be very difficult for you to find a local lawyer who is familiar with it. I know of no one else on the defense side with my knowledge and experience as gained during the defense of hundreds of these cases.

Do not default (fail to respond to a Summons and therefor give the claimant the opportunity to magnify the claim against you in your absence; moreover, judges don't look kindly upon those who ignore a Summons). The consequences of ignoring this will lead to a significant federal judgment against you (although occasionally in the low five figures, an unauthorized exhibition case can run into the mid 5 figures, and even higher – depending upon how the claimant presents the facts and the discretion of the judge).  

It should be understood that as these are civil (rather than criminal) cases, the burden of proof is “preponderance of the evidence” or “which is the most likely” - not “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”. Accordingly, civil cases are generally much easier to prosecute (and therefore harder to defend) than criminal cases.

A judgment will lead to seizure of your assets and perhaps financial ruination - and once a federal judgment issues, it is almost impossible to get it vacated or reduced, and generally, it is not dischargeable in bankruptcy (i.e., If you go through a bankruptcy proceeding, you will not be discharged as to the judgment.)  

Due to the fact that these offenses sound in “tort” (generally “conversion”), it is not likely that your corporation or LLC will protect you from personal liability. 

Moreover, it is very important to note that the signal provider (or rights owner) enjoys a unilateral (one-sided) right to attorney fees. That is: once a lawsuit commences, and if the claimant wins, the claimant has a legal right to make the defendant pay for claimant’s attorney; however, if defendant wins, defendant has no such right. (Doesn't sound fair, does it? However, it is true!)  

I understand that it is disconcerting to be suddenly and unwillingly cast into a situation you do not understand. Moreover, the law relevant to these piracy proceedings is both complex and esoteric. In fact, many of my clients are actually other lawyers, who, having been called upon by one of their regular clients for help in this kind of situation, require my assistance to first understand the issues themselves. However, the means to easily and accurately self-evaluate your situation, and devise your best course - including step by step instructions on how you can significantly reduce your settlement sum, is immediately available to you by email.  

Rights owners in piracy cases overvalue their claims, some drastically so, demanding multiples of what the claims, if litigated, would prove to be worth. Demands of $10,000 to $15,000, and even more, are common. But, the fact is that those who know how to proceed can usually do much better for themselves. Those who follow my proven step by step instructions have succeeded in obtaining much smaller settlements (usually just two to three thousand dollars) without using an attorney! In fact, the U.S. federal district courts have officially made themselves very user friendly to those who choose not to hire a lawyer! However, it is necessary to fully understand both the claim against you and your best course of action. My entirely lawful methods have proven so successful that I now make the information available to the general public. My recently updated and expanded “Unauthorized Exhibition Defense Lab” will be yours for only $89! This user friendly self-help manual includes electronic piracy defense strategies for both settlement and litigation as to a variety of electronic piracy offenses.  Just click on the PayPal button below and it will be emailed to you immediately.

Those of you who would like me to negotiate a better settlement for an unathorized commercial exhibition claim can download my Consultation and Settlement Retainer here.  

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Unlawful downloads (also uploads) constitute copyright infringement. The fact that a court may award attorney fees is a major consideration for defendants when litigating the federal statutes under which copyright infringement lawsuits issue. 

Copyright infringement, together with related and subjective concepts such as “fair use”, is a complex study. If, for example, one purchases a CD and thereafter copies the songs to a cassette in order to play them in their own car, the “fair use “ argument should be a viable defense to an infringement claim. However, you will certainly violate the copyright laws if you engage in unauthorized “uploading” (making it available to others) of a complete copyrighted work- even if you purchased your copy of it, or you make for yourself an unauthorized “copy” or reproduction of a complete copyrighted work that you did not purchase. 

Copyright owners use programs known as “sniffers” that scan the web in order to identify unauthorized downloads in progress. They then identify the web address of the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and then seek to identify the individual subscriber by placing a request with the ISP, or filing a lawsuit for “copyright infringement” and then subpoenaing the records from the ISP.  

Armed with the IP address of the alleged (but unidentified) offender, the copyright owner may commence a “John Doe” lawsuit. Immediately upon commencement of a lawsuit, any party to the suit can, on motion, subpoena your ISP for any non-privileged documents (including data compilations) which are both in their custody (or under their control) and relevant to the claim or defense of any party to the action.  

As copyright infringement lawsuits involve federal statutes, these cases are also litigated in federal court. Even if you are a fast study, the law relevant to infringement proceedings is complex and the courts have developed varying interpretations thereof. Moreover, complainants and their agents do a lot of posturing* regarding both settlement sums and terms of release.  

Each copy of my “Unauthorized Exhibition Defense Lab” now includes a special supplement dedicated exclusively to the defense of unlawful downloading claims. Designed for those who need to economically improve their knowledge, including important point explanations such as “motions to quash”, how to defend yourself (or your child), parental liability for minors, together with guidelines for doing better than the settlement terms being offered. My “Unauthorized Exhibition Defense Lab” which includes electronic piracy defense strategies (including both settlement and litigation) for a variety of offenses, will show you the best way to proceed. It is yours for just $89! Just click on the PayPal button below and my “Unauthorized Exhibition Defense Lab” will be emailed to you immediately.

Download Consultation Retainer here.

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The Law Office of Gary Ruff

21 Pulaski Rd., Suite 154

Kings Park, N.Y. 11754



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