UFC 148 Piracy Leads to $11,848 Court Judgement

Adding to this site’s archived decisions of UFC Pay Per View piracy cases, reasons for judgement were released this week by the US District Court, D. South Carolina, awarding damages and attorney fees of over $11,000 following commercial piracy of UFC 148.

In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. AFSB) the Defendant, who operated a sports bar, displayed UFC 148 without paying the commercial sub licence fee of $950.  They charged a cover fee of $5 to patrons that evening, an aggravating circumstance in such cases.

The Plaintiff sued and obtained default judgement seeking maximum damages of over $110,000 for this piracy but the Court awarded a fraction of this amount.  In noting damages $2,850 and enhanced damages of $5,700 were appropriate District Judge Hendricks provided the following reasons:

This Court finds that a statutory damages award of $2,850, which is three times the license fee that the defendants should have paid to legally broadcast the Program, is the appropriate amount of statutory damages. This award is within the range of statutory damages that other judges within this district have awarded in similar cases…When combined with the enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees, discussed below, the Court finds that the damages awarded in this case are a sufficient deterrent of similar future conduct…

Although the court finds that the defendants’ violations were intentional and willful and agrees that more than nominal damages should be awarded to deter future violations, the court does not approve the maximum of statutory enhanced damages, and it concludes that enhanced damages in the amount of $5,700.00 (in addition to the $2,850.00 award discussed above and the award of attorneys’ fees and costs discussed below) should be granted…

For the reasons set forth above, the Court grants the plaintiff’s motion for default judgment and awards the plaintiff $2,850.00 in statutory damages, $5,700.00 in enhanced damages, $2,178.75 in attorneys’ fees, and $1,120.00 in costs, for a total award of $11,848.75. The defendants are jointly and severally liable for these damages.


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