Ill. Pirates Slapped for $29M-Plus

A federal court judge in Illinois assessed a damage award of more than $29
million against a pirate firm there.

Cablevision Systems Corp. filed suit in May 1999 against Teleview Inc.;
Teleview Distributors Inc.; Omega Holdings LLC; Omega of Elgin Inc.; J.C.R.
Products Inc.; C & G Electronics Inc.; and Rec-Tec Electronics Inc.

According to the suit, the principals and employees are Frank Redisi Sr. and
Jr.; James, Frank and Joann Recchia; and Nora Villalobos. The businesses are
based in Elgin, Ill.

In a trial before Judge Ruben Castillo in U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois, eastern division, Cablevision executives were
able to demonstrate that the distributors had sold at least 2,756 cable
customers. They also presented a formula, which the judge accepted,
demonstrating the mounting loss to the operator caused by the distribution of
the set-tops.

The damage award is important because judges in previous anti-piracy lawsuits
have interpreted the damage statutes in federal law in a way that rejects
formulas multiplying losses, limiting recovery to $50,000.

National Cable Television Association president and CEO Robert Sachs, in a
prepared statement, lauded Cablevision's pursuit of pirates.

'When people steal cable service, the result is higher costs for the vast
majority of honest consumers who pay for cable,' he said.

Bob Astarita, Cablevision's senior vice president of corporate security,
noted that the company will vigorously pursue efforts to collect the full damage