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Dish Network Granted $214.9 Million Judgment Against Prisoner

Dish Network Corp., the second-largest satellite television provider in the U.S., won a $214.9 million judgment against an imprisoned maker of piracy software used to unscramble encrypted subscription programs.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez awarded the damages in an amended order posted yesterday on the electronic docket of the case in San Diego federal court. That order amended an earlier judgment, also posted yesterday, in which the judge had awarded Dish $300 million in damages.

A woman answering the phone at Benitez’s chambers, who declined to give her name, said the judge couldn’t comment on the rulings.

Dish, based in Englewood, Colorado, had sued Viewtech Inc., a distributer of set-top boxes, and the company’s founder Jung Kwak in 2007. The company’s receivers are purportedly designed for “free-to-air” satellite programs but can be modified with piracy software to receive encrypted programs, according to yesterday’s order.

Dish’s request for damages was unopposed, according to the ruling. Kwak is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to orchestrating a conspiracy to circumvent Dish’s security measures, Benitez said in the order. Kwak was representing himself in the case and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Chad Hagan, a lawyer representing Dish, didn’t immediately return a call to his office after regular business hours yesterday.

The case is EchoStar Satellite LLC v. Viewtech Inc., 07-cv-01273, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California.

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