Colorado Legislative Council Staff
NO FISCAL IMPACT
January 16, 1998
House Business Affairs
Will Meyer (866-4976)
TITLE: CONCERNING THE THEFT OF CABLE SERVICES.
Summary of Assessment
The provisions of this bill would authorize cable operators to sue for theft of cable services when a person knowingly engages in one of the following acts without authorization or payment:
• obtains cable service or assists another in doing the same;
• makes connections for the distribution of cable services;
• modifies or possesses devices owned by a cable operator to intercept cable services;
• manufacturers, imports, distributes, or sells devices to receive cable services; or
• fails to return equipment after service has been terminated.
The provisions of the bill would allow cable operators to recover the greater of $5,000 or 3 times the amount of actual damages sustained, unless the theft was for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, in which case the award may be increased by up to $50,000. The bill would allow the successful party in a lawsuit to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs. The bill will become effective at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the ninety-day period after adjournment sine die of the General Assembly, or on the date of the official declaration of the vote of the people as proclaimed by the Governor, if a referendum petition is filed pursuant to Article V, Section 1 (3) of the State Constitution.
It has been estimated by the industry that approximately 50 actions may be filed each year in the courts. According to the Judicial Branch, approximately 2% of cases filed with the courts go to trial. The number of new cases resulting from the provisions of this bill would not have a significant impact on the workload of the Judicial Branch. The provisions of the bill would not affect any other agency or the state, or unit of local government. Therefore, the bill is assessed as having no fiscal impact.