By Maureen Kyle
(NEW ALBANY, Ind., July 29th, 2004, 12:30 p.m.) -- Satellite television doesn't come cheap. Well sometimes it can -- if you steal it. But police say crime doesn't pay, and on Wednesday they arrested a southern Indiana man who says selling copied satellite access cards is his right. WAVE 3's Maureen Kyle reports.
Most people pay a premium price to get channels like HBO, Showtime, the Movie Channel and pay-per-view events -- but not if they got their access card from Wayne Raisley. That's because Raisley firmly believes no one should have to pay for the signals being beamed across the planet.
"I'm sticking to the law that says all airwaves are free," Raisley says. "Because they're free, it's just like breathing air."
Raisley tells us he has been encrypting satellite TV cards for as little as $25 since 1985. He says when business is good, they would encrypt up to 300 cards in one day. "We used to make about 100,000 a year, but that's down now because of Direct TV. We can't fix their cards right now because they've gone to a new card that's got a really good encryption on it."
DirectTV calls Raisley's actions pirating, but he says it doesn't matter what the companies say. No, this is not OK with them. But they're a company, they're not the government. They're not the law."
But the state police and Secret Service agents who searched Raisley's business say there are laws against pirating. Sgt. Jerry Goodin with Kentucky State Police says "He is stealing a signal that is programmed by DirectTV or any other satellite TV company, and they are paying for that frequency."
Raisley didn't think the troopers had a case. "They already figured out that the state has no jurisdiction right now."
Despite his beliefs, however, Raisley is facing one count of felony theft.
As for Raisely's customers, Sgt. Goodin says "I think they should be concerned. And what my suggestion would be is to contact the state police and advise us that they do have one of these cards or contact their satellite dish receiver company, whoever it is that they have, and let them know that they have one."
Sgt. Goodin wouldn't say whether or not people who bought cards from Raisley would be charged with a crime. "I can't comment on the prosectutor's office, but I wouldn't want to be in possession of one."
A spokesperson from DirectTV says the company cannot comment on this specific case, says it is assisting in the investigation. Even though Raisley faces just one count of felony theft, he could face more charges after the case is evaluated by the prosecutors office.
Online Reporter: Maureen Kyle