Is FTA satellite service even legal?

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Videogamer555

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Mar 6, 2010
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I know hacking is illegal, plain and simple. However, I'm unsure of the status of nonhacked FTA satellite service. I've heard that some FTA receiver manufacturers have been sued by Dish Network. Is this because those FTA receivers are too easy to hack? Or is it because a glitch in the FTA receivers allowed nonhacked receivers to still receive payed programming? So that begs these questions.

Is it legal to own an ordinary nonhacked FTA receiver?

Is the act of receiving FTA satellite TV signals legal?

Is it legal for FTA broadcasters to even do what they do, or are they committing a crime by catering to people with FTA receivers?
 
rodder

rodder

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I know hacking is illegal, plain and simple. However, I'm unsure of the status of nonhacked FTA satellite service. I've heard that some FTA receiver manufacturers have been sued by Dish Network. Is this because those FTA receivers are too easy to hack? Or is it because a glitch in the FTA receivers allowed nonhacked receivers to still receive payed programming? So that begs these questions.

Is it legal to own an ordinary nonhacked FTA receiver?

Is the act of receiving FTA satellite TV signals legal?

Is it legal for FTA broadcasters to even do what they do, or are they committing a crime by catering to people with FTA receivers?

The Answer To Your Questions Is Yes,Yes,And Yes
 
digiblur

digiblur

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Jun 8, 2005
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The receivers didnt have a glitch...they companies paid them under the table to write the extra pieces in the software. How else did they get a copy of the firmware source code for their receivers? This is how dish has been busting them by connecting the dots.

No...picking up non-encrypted satellite signals is perfectly legal. Just like turning on the radio in your car.
 
T

tvropro

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Mar 9, 2007
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If you watch a channel in an unencrypted mode it is perfectly legal. It's when you break the encryption and watch it then it is illegal.
 
Scott Greczkowski

Scott Greczkowski

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Its legal to watch an unencrypted signal that comes onto your property. :)

There is lots of stuff up there to watch and more is coming. :D
 
M

melbfla

SatelliteGuys Guru
Dec 6, 2006
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I know hacking is illegal, plain and simple. However, I'm unsure of the status of nonhacked FTA satellite service. I've heard that some FTA receiver manufacturers have been sued by Dish Network. Is this because those FTA receivers are too easy to hack? Or is it because a glitch in the FTA receivers allowed nonhacked receivers to still receive payed programming? So that begs these questions.

Is it legal to own an ordinary nonhacked FTA receiver?

Is the act of receiving FTA satellite TV signals legal?

Is it legal for FTA broadcasters to even do what they do, or are they committing a crime by catering to people with FTA receivers?

A good portion of FTA programing is done by countries that want to keep their migrating population inform and entertained. Also a good way to show their countries and regions. Also religious and things like PBS, NASA,,,,,
So I guess to answer your questions is yes to all 3.
 
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Mr Tony

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Nov 17, 2003
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Yes its legal to watch unencrypted channels

Some religious broadcasters post the coordinates of their channel on their site
Some college teams post the coordinates of their games for alumni

its when you break the encryption that it doesn't become legal
 
digiblur

digiblur

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Technically it is non-encrypted signals :) If you are watching unencrypted signals without paying for them that is a bad thing.
 
qwert1515

qwert1515

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Sep 26, 2005
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Technically it is non-encrypted signals :) If you are watching unencrypted signals without paying for them that is a bad thing.

I think it's the wording,

I think Digiblur means:
Non-Encrypted meaning that the signal was never encrypted, and unencrypted meaning that the signal was encrypted and you some how undid the encryption without paying for it.
 
digiblur

digiblur

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Jun 8, 2005
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Louisiana
Unencrypted would mean the encryption was undone. FTA signals never had encryption in the first place so there is nothing that would need to be unencrypted.

Just my two cents...I always think it looks weird see unencrypted referred to as fta.
 
C

crackt

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 24, 2007
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101w up north.
Unencrypted would mean the encryption was undone. FTA signals never had encryption in the first place so there is nothing that would need to be unencrypted.

Just my two cents...I always think it looks weird see unencrypted referred to as fta.

decrypted right.

crackt out,.
 
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AcWxRadar

AcWxRadar

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Apr 26, 2006
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Unencrypted sounds to me like the original signal was open from the start, but
non-encrypted seems to sound more proper in English to identify FTA or "In-The-Clear" signals.

Decrypted sounds like you have reversed the encryption mode, but it sounds like a neutral term which signifies nothing illegal nor legal on its own.

I prefer the terminology ENCRYPTED (for scrambled) and NON-ENCRYPTED (for in the clear) to tell the story of the original signal's condition.

Then, I prefer the term "decrypted" to refer to the legal means of unscrambling the signal and "hacking" to refer to any "illegal" means of unscrambling the signal.

RADAR
 
B.J.

B.J.

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Oct 15, 2008
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The last few posts about non-encrypted, unencrypted, decrypted has me a bit dizzy. :) Personally, I think I'll continue to consider unencrypted and non-encrypted as the same thing.

However back to the original post:

I know hacking is illegal, plain and simple. ....

I strongly disagree with this. I think that this and other groups, both in the satellite and other subject matter have unfairly given "HACKERS" a bad rap. There is nothing wrong, or illegal or bad about being a hacker. Hacking is nothing more than taking something you own, and engineering it or reverse-engineering it to do something that it wasn't designed to do. Like using a drinking straw as an insulator, or using the combination of a shortwave receiver and the baseband output of an analog receiver to determine the SR of a digital signal, or modifying a ham radio to increase the bandwidth to allow transmission of higher speed digital or video transmissions, or reverse engineering the drivers for some PCI sat receiver so that it can be used on another OS, or adding a converter to a VHF receiver to allow it to receive HF signals, or piggy-backing a Ku lnbf onto the side of a C-band feedhorn to receive Ku band, or taking the body and motor off an old car, and turning it into a trailer , or taking the boxes that some hardware item was shipped in, and converting it into unique storage units, etc, etc, etc. For lack of a better word, HACKING is GOOD. {sorry}
Yes, it requires hacking to accomplish the illegal activities that we're talking about here, but that doesn't mean that hacking is bad anymore than it is say that it is illegal to drive a car just because it is illegal to exceed the speed limit in a car. Ie it's the speeding that is illegal, not driving the car. Similarly, it is circumventing encryption that is illegal here, not hacking. There are lots of aspects about hacking that are perfectly legal, good for the environment (ie less obsolete equipment thrown away), good for the hobby, good from an educational standpoint, ie just plain good.

Anyway, I am tired of people being critical of hackers, and not just in the TVRO sense. Hacking in general is a good thing. I consider myself to be a hacker, and am proud of it, and it really annoys me that people have changed the definition of what it means to be a hacker over the past decade or two.

Sorry for getting off topic.
 
Inno

Inno

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Aug 13, 2006
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I was under the impression that it was the other way around. Hacking used to mean bad, illegal things (generally things like hacking with computers to get bank account info etc. or receiving pay tv for free) but the more modern interpretation of it is to modify something, anything and use it for a purpose for which it was not designed. Now anyone who modifies anything considers themselves a hacker.

Not sure when or how the definition morphed but for as long as I've heard about hacking it has been a bad thing. Perhaps the term has a different meaning depending on the context in which it is used.
 
johnnynobody

johnnynobody

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I was under the impression that it was the other way around. Hacking used to mean bad, illegal things (generally things like hacking with computers to get bank account info etc. or receiving pay tv for free) but the more modern interpretation of it is to modify something, anything and use it for a purpose for which it was not designed. Now anyone who modifies anything considers themselves a hacker.

Not sure when or how the definition morphed but for as long as I've heard about hacking it has been a bad thing. Perhaps the term has a different meaning depending on the context in which it is used.

Maybe the term "cracker" should be used to describe people that make modifications or alter code to illegally obtain TV programs. A cracker is defined as a black hat hacker, also. I'm not sure of what the legal definitions are.
 
C

crackt

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 24, 2007
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hacking was never about anything but digital freedoms. now that the digital age is upon us full swing the term has been misused to label malicious digital pirates. there really isnt any proper term except electronic criminal. what do we refer to companies who rootkit our computers without our knowledge ? or infect our digital media with drm that renders our slightly used tvs and a/v equipment useless ? truth is this is a topic for a larger debate and slightly off topic of the OPs original post.

unless you are using illegal means to decrypt satellite signals you are a law abiding citizen with an antenna and a reciever. simple. same as ota and fm or am radio.

crackt out,.
 
V

Videogamer555

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Mar 6, 2010
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Technically it is non-encrypted signals :) If you are watching unencrypted signals without paying for them that is a bad thing.

Nobody would want to watch a channel on encrypted signal without decrypting it anyway. Not sure if it's legal or not, but that would be useless anyway, which is the whole point of encrypting it to start with obviously.

Now you talked about FTA signals being legal, but don't the FTA signals use the SAME satellites as the encrypted "Satelite TV" signals like Dish Network? And isn't the it ILLEGAL to receive transmissions (even if they are intentionally NOT encrypted, and meant to be a free signal) from a "Satellite TV" satellite? Unless the signal is coming from a satellite which is itself owned by an FTA broadcaster themself, isn't it ILLEGAL to attempt to receive it?




Maybe the term "cracker" should be used to describe people that make modifications or alter code to illegally obtain TV programs. A cracker is defined as a black hat hacker, also. I'm not sure of what the legal definitions are.

Maybe the correct term should be "modder". Modifyining equipment isn't illegal, unless:

1) It is being modified for illegal purposes.
example: disabling your VCR's automatic gain control, thereby breaking its ability to utilize Macrovision copy protection

2) It is being modified for a legal purpose, but in a way which might also allow the modified equipment to be used for illegal purposes.
example: modifying an Xbox to play Japnese region coded games, but the mod might also enable it to play pirated copies of games

As long as you use unmodified store-bought equipment, you are safe in legal terms.

If you buy stuff (I mean ANY electronic equipment, not just FTA receivers) on Ebay though, watch out, as many are Hong Kong made rip offs, which might not be up to manufacturers specifications, and might allow for illegal uses. Even legit products which are simply the overseas verision of a product might have different standards. For example I saw the international version of the ICOM-PCR1000 computer controlled all band receiver on Ebay. Because it is the international version, it does NOT meet the FCC requirement of blocking the cell-phone frequency band. In fact, that was the selling point, was as an "unblocked" receiver. While modern cell phones send audio as digital data and the voice can't be heard without the proper decoder and digital to analog converter on the receiving end, it is still illegal to listen in that band. And the truth is there's no reason to WANT to listen in that band unless trying to illegally intercept a phone conversation, as that band ONLY contains cellphone signals, and nothing that would be legal to listen to.



There are services that cater to FTA - they want you to have and use a FTA receiver to view their programing. Look at:

Free Christian Satellite Television - No Monthly Fees from Glorystar Christian Satellite!

Charlie doesn't like the word "Free" used in the USA!:rant:
Bob


While there is no subscription, it looks like they sell you the receiver, which means it's encrypted and only THEIR receiver can decrypt it. A generic FTA receiver would be useless.
 
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