$10,000 Damage Assessment following UFC 162 Piracy

In the latest UFC pay per view event piracy prosecution, reasons for judgement were released this week by the US District Court, E.D. California, recommending $10,000 in statutory damages following the commercial piracy of UFC 162.

In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions Inc. v. Forsberg) the Defendant displayed UFC 162, (Anderson Silva v Chris Weidman) at a pub without paying the commercial sub licencing fee which would have been $750.

Investigators noted that the Defendant charged patrons a $10 cover and that there were 56 patrons present which exceeded the establishments capacity.

The Plaintiff asked for maximum statutory damages of $110,000 but the Court noted this was excessive with an award of $10,000 reaching the appropriate balance of compensation and deterrence.  In reaching this figure District Judge Edmund Brennan noted as follows –

Here, plaintiff seeks a judgment in the amount of $110,750. ECF No. 20-2 at 2. Plaintiff’s application for default judgment and proposed order indicate that this sum consists of $110,000 for a violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(B)(iii) and (e)(3)(C)(ii), and $750 as compensatory damages arising from defendant’s alleged act of conversion. Id.

Plaintiff’s investigator’s affidavit provides the Rooster Juice Grill and Sports Bar’s capacity is approximately 50, and that there were around 56 patrons at the establishment on the night in question. ECF No. 20-3 at 2-3. The affidavit further states that the establishment was unlawfully broadcasting the Program on five televisions. Id. at 2. Although plaintiff’s investigator was charged a $10 fee to enter the establishment, there is no evidence that defendants prepared any special advertising for the broadcast of the Program, that the establishment had increased business as a result of the broadcast, or that defendants are repeat offender with respect to intercepting transmissions of the type at issue here. Balancing these facts with the widespread problem of piracy and the need for an award sufficient to deter future piracy, the court recommends an award of statutory damages in the amount of $10,000. On the record before the court, the court does not find that this case merits an award of enhanced damages.

 

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