April 24, 2014

Missouri Cable Laws

There are two Missouri Laws relating to the Cable Television Industry:

  • the Missouri Overbuild Law
  • the Missouri Cable Theft Law.

Missouri Overbuild Law 71.970

Municipal Ownership of Cable Television Facilities.

  1. Municipalities may own and operate cable television facilities on a nondiscriminatory, competitively neutral basis, and at a price which cover costs, including imputed costs that the political subdivision would incur if it were a for-profit business. No municipality may own or operate cable television facilities and services unless approved by a vote of the people. This section shall apply only to municipalities that acquire or construct cable television facilities and services after August 28, 2002.
  2. The public service commission shall annually study the economic impact of the provisions of this section and prepare and submit a report to the general assembly by December thirty-first of each year.
  3. The provisions of this section shall terminate on August 28, 2007.

(L.2002, H.B. No. 1402, & A.)

Missouri Cable Theft Law

Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 570
Stealing and Related Offenses Section 570.300

Theft of cable television service, penalty. 570.300.

A person commits the crime of theft of cable television service if he:

  1. Knowingly obtains or attempts to obtain cable television service without paying all lawful compensation to the operator of such service, by means of artifice, trick, deception or device; or
  2. Knowingly assists another person in obtaining or attempting to obtain cable television service without paying all lawful compensation to the operator of such service; or
  3. Knowingly connects to, tampers with or otherwise interferes with any cables, wires or other devices used for the distribution of cable television if the effect of such action is to obtain cable television without paying all lawful compensation therefor; or
  4. Knowingly sells, uses, manufactures, rents or offers for sale, rental or use any device, plan or kit designed and intended to obtain cable television service in violation of this section.
  • Theft of cable television service is a class C felony if the value of the service appropriated is five hundred dollars or more; otherwise theft of cable television services is a class A misdemeanor.
  • Any cable television operator may bring an action to enjoin and restrain any violation of the provisions of this section or bring an action for conversion. In addition to any actual damages, an operator may be entitled to punitive damages and reasonable attorney fees in any case in which the court finds that the violation was committed willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage. In the event of a defendant’s verdict the defendant may be entitled to reasonable attorney fees.
  • The existence on the property and in the actual possession of the accused of any connection wire, or conductor, which is connected in such a manner as to permit the use of cable television service without the same being reported for payment to and specifically authorized by the operator of the cable television service shall be sufficient to support an inference which the trial court may submit to the trier of fact, from which the trier of fact may conclude that the accused has committed the crime of theft of cable television service.

If a cable television company either:

  1. Provides unsolicited cable television service; or
  2. Fails to change or disconnect cable television service within ten days after receiving written notice to do so by the customer, the customer may deem such service to be a gift without any obligation to the cable television company from ten days after such written notice is received until the service is changed or disconnected.
  3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to render unlawful or prohibit an individual or other legal entity from owning or operating a video cassette recorder or devices commonly known as a satellite receiving dish for the purpose of receiving and utilizing satellite-relayed television signals for his own use.
  4. As used in this section, the term cable television service includes microwave television transmission from a multipoint distribution service not capable of reception by conventional television receivers without the use of special equipment.