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Admitted to Practice

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • District of Columbia, 1979
  • U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court District of Colorado, 2011
  • U.S. District Court District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan

John D. Seiver

Of Counsel
John Seiver practices communications and privacy law, representing the interests of cable television, internet, technology and telecommunications companies. He has more than 35 years of regulatory and litigation experience at the local, national and international levels. This includes representing the interests of franchised cable television companies, internet and VoIP service providers, and state and national cable associations, concerning regulatory and litigated issues related to video, internet access, data, and voice services in government investigations as well as proceedings before state and federal courts, the FCC, and state public service commissions. John has either directly handled or been substantially involved with most of the major state and national communications litigation since 1984.

John is also a member of DWT’s Breach Response Team.

Practice Highlights

Privacy and Security
  • Counsels and litigates matters involving governmental and third-party demands for subscriber information under ECPA, Cable Act, and other state and federal statutes in civil and criminal proceedings.
  • Counsels and litigates online and video advertising privacy policies, DMCA, CFAA, copyright and VPPA compliance, subscriber agreements, acceptable use, CPNI, and privacy policies for video internet access service and websites.
  • Counsels responses to State Attorney General investigations involving consumer protection, privacy, data security, and unfair or deceptive business practices.
  • Counsels on matters involving identity theft and data breaches.

Pole Attachments and Communications Regulatory
  • Handles FCC and state level pole attachment litigation involving rates and terms and conditions under the Pole Attachment Act and similar state laws in certified states
  • Briefs appeals of decisions in rulemakings and adversary proceedings involving pole attachments
  • Drafted, negotiated, and litigated commercial agreements and statutory provisions relating to program distribution, program access, copyright and program licensing, telecommunications franchising, rights-of-way disputes, and telco, electric and municipal/cooperative competitive video deployment.
  • Litigated theft of service proceedings, late fee defenses, signal carriage disputes, franchise renewals and transfers, and arbitration of copyright licensing disputes; federal preemption cases under Section 253 of the 1996 Act.

Representative Experience

Privacy and Security

Valentine v. Nebuad

Obtained dismissal on lack of jurisdiction, on behalf of internet service provider Bresnan Communications in federal privacy lawsuit challenging the use of deep-packet inspection technology (2009). Won dismissal of ECPA claims in sister-case in Montana and in the 9th Circuit enforcing arbitration. (N.D. Cal. 2011; 9th Cir. 2013)

Spokeo, Inc. v. Thomas Robins

Submitted amicus brief on behalf of a group of eight media amici urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 9th Circuit's ruling allowing a class action alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to go forward without any allegation of an "injury in fact" for standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, and highlighting the damage to media companies caused by class actions where plaintiffs leverage technical violations of privacy statutes to threaten enormous statutory damages, severely impacting those companies' business models, and chilling speech. (U.S. 2015)

BMG v. Cox

Submitted amicus brief in support of Cox’s appeal of a $25 million contributory copyright infringement verdict based on alleged infringements by Cox’s internet service subscribers. The decisions and verdict eliminate protections in the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions vital to providing internet service, rendering them ineffective for all ISPs. (4th Cir. 2016)

Subpoena enforcement matter for national provider of broadband services and other ISPs

Federal appeals court defense of subscriber privacy claims under Digital Millennium Copyright Act; multiple proceedings in state and federal courts for ISPs responding to, quashing or objecting to subpoenas for subscriber information. 393 F.3d 771 (8th Cir. 2005)

Lightspeed v. Smith

Won fees and sanctions for Comcast in district court affirmed on appeal in frivolous suit accusing Comcast and AT&T of "conspiring" to avoid disclosing thousands of subscriber’s identities to noted porn troll group for alleged copyright infringement. (SD Ill. 2013; 7th Cir. 2014)

Pole Attachments and Communications Regulatory

Florida Cable Telecommunications Association, et al. v. Gulf Power Company

Represented cable operators in victory at a hearing before an FCC ALJ and before the full commission on appeal of that victory in a pole attachment complaint against Gulf Power, after the defendant terminated pole attachment agreements and demanded new ones with 600 percent rate increases. FCC 07D-01; E.B. Docket No. 04-381 (F.C.C. 2011) affirmed in D.C. Circuit. Read more

Pole attachment rate litigation for national provider of broadband services

Won motion to dismiss utility complaint company demanding higher pole attachment payments for the operator's provision of telecommunications and voice services over its cable system. (U.S.D.C. 2010)

Pole attachment rate litigation for cable system operator

Represented cable operator in obtaining an Atlanta court ruling which placed jurisdiction over pole attachment rate disputes with the FCC. Victory in litigation that has been going on since 2006 over the application of the telecom attachment rate to mixed cable and telecom networks, with approximately $5 million at stake directly and hundreds of millions of dollars at risk nationally from adverse rulings. (2009)

Buena Vista Television v. Adelphia Communications Corp.

Defended Adelphia against suit seeking more than $500 million in damages for copyright infringement arising from Adelphia’s failure to pay copyright royalties during the 2002/1 accounting period, when Adelphia declared bankruptcy. (2004) Read more

Pole attachment rate rulemaking proceedings

On behalf of major cable television operators and state cable associations filed comments and reconsideration petitions before the FCC; prevailed at FCC and on appeals to the D.C. Circuit. (8th Cir. Ongoing)

Additional Qualifications

  • Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, 2007-2008
  • Partner, Cole, Raywid & Braverman LLP, 1984-2006
  • Associate, Cole, Raywid & Braverman LLP, 1979-1984

Professional & Community Activities

  • Federal Communications Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Legal Advisory Committee, National Capital Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Professional Recognition

  • Recipient, Finest Law Firm Writers of 2015 Award, The Burton Awards