Update January 12, 2016 – this week Magistrate Judge Delaney vacated the below default judgement.
Reasons for judgement were recently published by the US District Court, ED California, suggesting damages of $20,000 following the commercial piracy of UFC 175.
In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions Inc. v. Toto) the Defendant operated a sports bar and displayed UFC 175 without paying the commercial sub licencing fee. During the event a private investigator attended the bar and counted between 38-41 patrons.
The Plaintiff sued and obtained default judgement. Magistrate Judge Delaney rejected the Plaintiff’s request for maximum statutory damages of $110,000 but did suggest to the assigned district judge that $20,000 in damages ought to be awarded. In reaching this conclusion Judge Delaney provided the following reasons:
After determining that entry of default judgment is warranted the court must next determine the terms of the judgment. By its motion for default judgment, plaintiff seeks a judgment in the total amount of $110,950.00. That sum consists of $110,000 for the violation of Title 47 and $950 for the tort of conversion. Upon consideration of all of plaintiff’s briefing, the undersigned will recommend that damages be awarded in the amount of $20,000.
The affidavit of the investigator, Jacobus Vanderwesthuizen, establishes that defendant broadcast the program to the patrons of the subject establishment, that there were two televisions in the establishment on which the Program was displayed, that the capacity of the bar was 100 people and that at the time of the broadcast, headcounts were taken three different times showing 24, 38, and 41 patrons. Under these circumstances, the court finds enhanced statutory damages should be awarded in the amount of $20,000.