I live in a townhouse complex where I discovered a cable line outside my house that goes directly to my neighbor’s house. I tried identifying this line connection, and it appears that my neighbor tapped into my cable TV connection. I was able to confirm this when I observed that my neighbor has access to the same cable provider as I do despite the fact that he is not a subscriber to my cable provider. Because of this, I want to know if there is any specific law and penalty regarding the illegal connection of cable TV? Thank you in advance for your advice!
Republic Act (RA) 10515, known as the Anti-Cable Television and Cable Internet Tapping Act of 2014, prohibits and penalizes unauthorized interception or use of any signal or service over a cable television system or cable Internet network. The purpose of this law is to protect the cable television industry from cable pilferage (Sec. 2, RA 10515).
Relevant to your concern, Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of this law provide that:
“Section 1. Prohibited Acts – It shall be unlawful for any person, natural, or juridical, public or private to:
a) Intercept or receive, or assist in intercepting or receiving, any signal or service offered over a CATV or Cable Internet System by tapping, making or causing to be made any connection to an existing CATV or Cable
c) Use or receive any direct or indirect benefit from any CATV or cable Internet system/network with knowledge that it is a result of any of the preceding prohibited acts; xxx” (Sec. 1, Article III, IRR RA 10515, Memorandum Circular No. 4-10-2013, National Telecommunications Commission).
It is clear that the unauthorized connection made by your neighbor to your cable television system is among the prohibited acts mentioned above since it involves the unauthorized reception, interception and use of your legitimate cable television connection. Furthermore, the law also provides that the presence of cable and connectors designed to intercept cable television connection, such as the cable connection of your neighbor to your own cable line, is prima facie evidence of illegal tapping (Sec. 2, Article IV, Ibid). As such, your neighbor may be made liable and penalized under this law for his illegal connection to your cable television line.
Lastly, the law provides that individuals who will be found guilty for the commission of the above-mentioned prohibited acts will suffer a penalty of two (2) to five (5) years imprisonment or a fine of fifty thousand pesos (Php 50,000.00) to one hundredthousand pesos (Php100,000.00) (Sec. 1, Article III, Ibid.).
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com