I'm trying to find the article but our local paper only keeps stories online for a couple days.
Area man fined $1,000 for selling illegal satellite TV systems
By JACK WALKER
A 68-year-old Johnstown man has been fined $1,000 for selling illegal satellite TV systems.
James Richard Nolan, of 30 Elizabeth Street, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of possessing and selling devices that allowed purchasers to pirate signals from U.S. satellite provider Dish Network.
Nolan came to the attention of authorities in March, 2005 when RCMP Constable John Rennick called the accused about a flyer that promised 450 channels, including 45 movie channels.
Nolan told the officer the system cost $500 and that there was nothing illegal about it.
Rennick then notified the anti-piracy office of the Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association, which advised the "free to air" system was illegal and could unlock both DishNet and Bell Expressvu.
Later that month, the association sent a representative to Nolan's home where he saw several satellite dishes in the backyard and a lot of electronic equipment inside.
The representative paid $500 cash for a system Nolan said would allow access to DishNet programming, including all the sports and porn channels.
Nolan, who admitted he'd been in the business for 20 years, also said the system could be programmed to unlock both Bell Expressvu and Star Choice. However, he said he wouldn't set it up because it would be illegal to pirate signals from Canadian satellite providers.
In early April after Nolan got a shipment of receivers, the RCMP raided his home and arrested him. Along with business records, they seized eight receivers that had been programmed to pick up the Dish Net signals.
While the charges were laid two years ago, the matter didn't come to court as a result of challenges to the legislation.
Prosecutor Brian Evely acknowledged there once was a grey area about the validity of the federal legislation.
"A lot of people thought if you weren't pirating from a Canadian source, you could do that legally," he said. "But the constitutionality of the law has been upheld by the Supreme Court."
Evely argued for a $2,000 fine, noting Nolan had been in the business for a long time and had operated "a fairly substantial enterprise."
Lawyer Deborah Souder suggested a more moderate fine, noting her client had lost his livelihood and is now dependent on government pensions.
Ontario Court Justice Charles Anderson agreed a lesser fine was appropriate given that Nolan had no criminal record and was no longer in business.
"The legislation was under legitimate attack but the court has now decided that is in fact valid," he said.