There is a considerably closer question as to Count 5, which seeks to
equate DirecTV's admittedly intangible bundle of rights to "property"
that may be the subject of a tort action for conversion. Consistently
with the historic origins of that tort, In re Thebus, 108 Ill.2d 255
259, 483 N.E.2d 1258
, 1260 (1985) has quoted the definition from
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 222A:
Conversion is an intentional exercise of dominion or
control over a chattel which so seriously interferes
with the right of another to control it that the actor
may justly be required to pay the other the full value
of the chattel.
Thebus, id. at 260, 483 N.E.2d at 1260 then went on to quote other
authorities along the same lines, including this language from 18
AmJur.2d Conversion § 9, at 164 (1965):
It is ordinarily held, however, that an action for
conversion lies only for personal property which is
tangible, or at least represented by or connected with
something tangible. . . .
Is DirecTV's congeries of rights "connected with something tangible" in
that sense? Although the issue is not free from doubt, it would appear
that the television images received by a claimed violator such as Dyrhaug
through his assertedly illegal interception and use of DirecTV's
electronic communications would
satisfy the tort's requirements as so articulated, in much the same
manner as the situations involving other intangible property that have
been found actionable in such Illinois cases as Bilut v. Northwestern
Univ., 296 Ill. App.3d 42, 52, 692 N.E.2d 1327
, 1332 (1st Dist. 1998),
Stathis v. Geldermann, Inc., 295 Ill. App.3d 844, 856, 692 N.E.2d 798
807 (1st Dist. 1998) and Conant v. Karris, 165 Ill. App.3d 783, 792,
520 N.E.2d 757, 763 (1st Dist. 1987).