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DBS Pirate to Fork Over $500K

A manufacturer of piracy devices agreed to pay $500,000 in damages to EchoStar Communications, DirecTV and two other companies to settle a civil lawsuit, officials said Thursday.

The settlement was the end result of a lawsuit filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against Steve Souphanthong, who does business as B-Tech Distribution, and several of his relatives and associates.

The plaintiffs -- which also included NagraStar and Bell ExpressVu -- alleged that Souphanthong was one of the largest manufacturers of piracy devices in North America, and that it was engaged in creating, manufacturing, selling, trafficking in and distributing piracy devices and piracy software.

Those devices included ROM X cards and ISO programmers for use against EchoStar and Bell ExpressVu, as well as the Mikobu, Apollo 745 and Avenger line of products for use against DirecTV.

Souphanthong, his relatives and associates also operated several well-known piracy Web sites including www.dssstars.com, www.dssstyle.com, www.dssorbit.com, www.dssavenger.com, www.huaccess.com, www.mikobux.org and www.hugadgets.com.

Searches of premises belonging to Souphanthong and his relatives in 2003 seized vast quantities of piracy devices, business records and computer files.