Commercial Establishment Liable After Paying Residential Pay Per View Cost for UFC 150

Adding to this site’s archived decisions of UFC PPV piracy cases, reasons for judgement were released this week by the US Disrict Court, SD Alabama, (Joe Hand Promotions Inc v. Beech) finding a a defendant liable for damages after ordering UFC 150 on a residential basis but displaying the event in a commercial establishment.

In finding the Defendant liable District Judge Kristi DuBose provided the following reasons:

In its response to Joe Hand’s motion for summary judgment, the Defendants concede that they are liable for violating § 605. (Doc. 23 at 4 “Therefore, Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law on the issue of liability.”). To hold Beech vicariously liable in her individual capacity and as officer, director, shareholder and/or principal of the Café under § 605, Joe Hand must show that Beech had a “right and ability to supervise the violations, and that he had a strong financial interest in such activities.” J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Arboleda, 2009 WL 3490859, at *5 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 27, 2009). Beech is “the sole manager, member and president” of the Café and the only individual who holds a financial interest in it. (Doc. 21-9 at 2-3). Beech has admitted that she placed the order for UFC 150 and that it was shown in the Café on August 12, 2011. (Doc. 23-1). “Joe Hand is entitled to joint and several liability[8]for damages against [Beech] in an individual and corporate capacity.” Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Blanchard, 2010 WL 1838067, at *3 (S.D. Ga. May 3, 2010).

Based on the facts before it, the Court finds that it is undisputed that Joe Hand has shown that Defendants did in fact intercept and publish UFC 150 in the commercial establishment without receiving authorization from Joe Hand, which the Defendants do not dispute. The Court notes the Defendants’ argument that they paid Dish TV for UFC 150, however, the fact remains that the Defendants did not obtain the proper commercial exhibition rights from Joe Hand, who held these rights exclusively. Thus, Defendants are liable for the unauthorized broadcast of the UFC fight. Accordingly, Joe Hand’s motion for summary judgment as to liability on Count 1, brought under 47 U.S.C. §605, is GRANTED.


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