In the latest case assessing damages for pay per view piracy of a combat sports product, reasons for judgement were released this week by the US District Court, W.D. Missouri, ordering $11,960 to be paid following piracy of a boxing pay per view card.
In the recent case (J & J Sports Productions, Inc v. Main Hookah Lounge) the Defendant lounge displayed the Manny Pacquiao v. Juan Manuel Marquez, IV, Welterweight Fight Program without paying commercial sub licencing fees to the Plaintiff. The Defendant failed to respond to the lawsuit and default judgement was obtained.
The Plaintiff sought maximum statutory damages of over $110,000 although the Court declined this request finding it excessive. The Court ordered payment of $2,250 in statutory damages representing the cost of the sub licencing fee plus the cover charge profit made by the Defendant, $6,750 in enhanced damages because the piracy was intentional and for commercial gain and lastly ordered payment of the Plaintiff’s legal fees.
In summarizing the assessed damages and dismissing a claim for tort damages under State law for conversion Chief District Judge Greg Kays provided the following reasons:
Under Section 605 above, Plaintiff receives the amount of money it would have received had Defendant obtained the program lawfully through paying the commercial licensing fee— $2,200—plus the amount that Defendant profited from the illicit exhibition. This Court also awards enhanced damages of three times the amount Plaintiff would have made had the Broadcast been lawfully purchased by Defendant. Plaintiff has been made whole with the award of base damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs under Section 605. The award of enhanced damages under Section 605 further compensates Plaintiff for lost profits and serves as a deterrent. Because conversion claims are also compensatory, a damages award under the state law conversion claim would be duplicative of the Section 605 award. After a review of the relevant case law, the Court finds that allowing damages for conversion in the instant case would result in a double recovery. Thus, recovery is barred.