This article is from the Digital Broadcast Satellites FAQ, by Brian Trosko firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
There are pirate cards which act just like a normal access card,
with the exception that they authorize every single bit of programming
This means that if you have one, *everything* is turned on. Every
premium channel. Every PPV movie. TV Asia.
Needless to say, these cards are quite illegal. They aren't too
prevalent in the United States, since their expense is so great.
Additionally, the program providers send out ECMs (Electronic
Counter-Measures) on a regular basis, which often succeed in
deactivating certain makes of card. DirecTv is currently implementing
a card swap, thereby replacing the access card of every legitimate
In Canada, pirate cards are somewhat more widespread, due to the
illegality of foreign DBS systems in general.
This FAQ in no way endorses the use of pirate cards. In the opinion
of the FAQ author, their use is highly unethical. Also, keep in
mind that the person you're buying the card from is, in a sense,
a professional thief, so you are not likely to have any legitimate
avenues of recourse if you should feel cheated in any way.