D. Puerto Rico Mentions Split Re Whether 47 U.S.C. § 605 Proscribes Theft of Cable Services Transmitted by Wire
Per Don King Productions, Inc. v. Comite Partido Popular Democratico, 441 F. Supp. 2d 370 (D. P.R. July 31, 2006):
Plaintiff Don King Productions, Inc., ("DKP") brought suit against co-defendant Comité PPD and others pursuant to Section 705 of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 605. (Docket Nos. 1, 31). DKP was the producer and copyright holder of the closed-circuit telecast of the October 2-3, 2004, championship boxing match between Félix "Tito" Trinidad v. Ricardo Mayorga, including all related preliminary bouts ("the boxing match"). Parties interested in the receipt, transmission and broadcast of the boxing match were legally required to purchase said rights and obtain contractual authorization from DKP. According to DKP, co-defendant Comité PPD violated Section 705 by intercepting and displaying to their patrons transmission of the boxing match without authorization, causing substantial damage to DKP.
We note, Comité PPD's reference to the case of Charter Communications Entertainment I, LLC v. Burdulis, 367 F.Supp.2d 16, 21 (D.Mass.2005), which holds that Section 605 proscribes unauthorized interception of radio, not cable, transmissions. The Charter Court recognizes that the First Circuit has not yet decided the issue as to whether Section 605 proscribes the theft of cable services transmitted by wire, and that there is a split among the circuit and district courts which have visited the issue. We pause only to restate our own precedent, as laid out in Century ML-Cable Corp. v. Carrillo Díaz, 39 F.Supp.2d 121 (D.P.R.1999), that Section 605 applies to the unauthorized interception of cable programming services, and is thus applicable to this action, and that plaintiff DKP has properly pleaded a claim under Section 605(a).