At 07:56 PM 9/9/2003, Brian Guralnick wrote:
> misdemeanor. Selling the boxes appears to be a public offense (if I'm
> correct, public offenses are prosecutable as felonies). Relevant to the
> interests of printed circuit designers, printed circuit boards are
> specifically mentioned.

    That's because any pirated boxes have been stolen from the cable
company, or manufacter.  Such cable boxes are only sold between the
manufacturers (ie Scientific Atlanta, GI - Jerrold, Pioneer...) and the
cable companies.  Any of the boxes which are purchased separately between
you & a store dealer, must be stolen units, or stolen property, not to
mention that these units have also been modified intentionally for theft of
signal as well.

No, I don't think this is correct, or at least it isn't complete. The reference is to non-authorized decoders which are sold on the black market. They are not generally stolen, per se, though they may represent unauthorized use of intellectual property or such things as copied circuit boards. The reference is to devices to defeat the scrambling. Sure, the legal box does that, but a new law wouldn't have been needed to deal with theft of boxes.... Rather someone may have reverse-engineered a box or may have developed an independent decoder.

I mentioned this because I know that a designer might be approached by someone who wants to make such a thing. He might provide a photo of an old board and say that he needs to reproduce it, the originals have been lost, he might claim. (And certainly I've been asked to reproduce PCBs where the films etc. had completely disappeared.) Designers are not obligated to confirm that a design request is legitimate, but if it did become reasonably clear that it was not legitimate, and the designer provided services to further the end of unlawful use, I think the designer might be exposed to criminal liability. This is entirely aside from the ethical question.

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