Unauthorized Reception of Cable Service47 U.S.C.
The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 added a new section, 47
U.S.C. § 553. This section prohibits receiving cable communications
without permission of the operator, thereby prohibiting the theft of
cable communications. The sale or distribution of equipment that would
a person to receive, without authority, the reception of communications
offered over a cable system also falls within the proscription of this
The Act provides for both criminal and civil penalties for
of this section. The victim of an interception may bring a civil action in
federal court for an injunction, damages, and costs, including reasonable
attorneys' fees. Since there is a civil remedy for violations of 47 U.S.C.
553, United States Attorneys should consider whether this civil remedy is an
adequate alternative to prosecution.
[cited in USAM 9-60.200]