EchoStar/FTA Litigation Takes Turn This Week

Litigation between EchoStar and Freetech, which promotes the controversial Coolsat free-to-air receiver that can allegedly access pirated DISH Network programming, heated up earlier this week when the federal judge handling the case issued an order pertaining to users of the box.

Freetech previously filed a motion targeting subpoenas from EchoStar that sought the identity and contact information for every purchaser of the free-to-air receivers. The FTA box company asked the court to preclude that information, and Judge Richard Seeborg of the U.S. District Court in Northern California granted the Freetech motion.

In his ruling, Seeborg said that while the personal information might assist in determining the extent of damages incurred by EchoStar/DISH, "less intrusive avenues to obtain the information needed for that purpose are available."

Nonetheless, the case continues to move forward in the San Jose court. This week, EchoStar, which is listed as the plaintiff in the case, filed court documents that provide an outline for a court date in November that seeks to preserve evidence.

Specifically, EchoStar asked the court for an order requiring the defendant and its dealers to preserve all Coolsat receivers returned for repair or replacement that contain the alleged piracy software or firmware. EchoStar also asked for the names and contact information for each Coolsat user returning a receiver to the defendant.