UFC 133 Piracy Leads to $7,000 Damage Award

Adding to this site’s archived cases of UFC pay per view event piracy prosecutions, the latest reasons for judgement were released last month assessing damages for piracy of UFC 133.

In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc v. Thirsty Camel, Inc) the Defendant establishment displayed UFC 133 without paying sub-licencing fees to the Plaintiff.  The Plaintiff sued and obtained default judgement.

In finding total damages of $7,000 were appropriate District Judge Jane Boyle provided the following reasons:

Here, considering the need to deter future FCA violations, and the fact that Thirsty Camel would have faced a sublicensing fee of approximately $1,100 had it actually paid to lawfully broadcast the Event, the Court determines that $5,000 in statutory damages is reasonable. Doc. 10, Pl.’s Ex. A, Riley Aff., App. ¶ 7, App. 6; see Doc. 10-1, Ex. A-2, Aff. of Jared Morland (Morland Aff.), App. 30 (capacity of the establishment is approximately one hundred people); Doc. 10-1, Ex. A-3, Rate Card, App. 33 (rate for establishment with 51-100 capacity is $1,100); see, e.g., Al-Waha Enters., 219 F. Supp. 2d at 776 (“Merely requiring Al-Waha to pay the price it would have been charged to obtain legal authorization to display the event does nothing to accomplish this object [to deter future violations of the FCA].”). Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Joe Hand’s request for statutory damages and awards it $5,000…

Here, Joe Hand provided evidence of an auditing visit, where investigator Jared Morland observed Thirsty Camel violating the FCA. Doc. 10-1, Ex. A-2, Morland Aff. App. 30-31. Though the affidavit notes that Thirsty Camel’s establishment was equipped with two te levisions, one was not operating the evening of Morland’s visit. Id. at 30. Either way, there were only between eighteen and forty patrons in attendance during Morland’s visit, and nothing indicates Thirsty Camel charged them, or the investigator, a cover, or that he advertised his establishment as broadcasting the Event in order to attract a greater audience. Id.

Based on the damages awarded by other courts, the evidence currently before this Court— (which reveals between eighteen and twenty patrons present at Thirsty Camel’s establishment—and the need to deter future violations, the Court finds that an additional damages award of $2,000 is reasonable. Thus, the Court GRANTS Joe Hand’s request for additional damages and awards it $2,000.

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