Adding to this site’s archived case summaries of UFC Pay Per View piracy prosecutions, reasons for judgement were released recently by the US District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division granting default judgement and assessing damages following the commercial piracy of UFC 155.
In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Menendez) the Defendant displayed UFC 155 in a bar without paying the commercial sub licensing fees to the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff sued and sought $60,000 in damages. The Court found this excessive but did assess damages at $4,300 plus costs and lawyers fees. In reaching this assessment Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith provided the following reasons:
Joe Hand seeks an injunction, statutory damages in the amount of $60,000, attorneys’ fees in the amount of 1/3 of the total recovery, plus fees for post-judgment or appellate services, costs, and post-judgment interest.
Joe Hand has shown that it is an aggrieved party under the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. §§ 553, 605. Joe Hand has presented evidence that on December 29, 2012 defendants’ establishment exhibited without authorization the event “UFC 155: Dos Santos v. Velasquez II.” The event was shown on 10 televisions, including a large screen projector and high definition televisions. Approximately 150 persons were in attendance. The bar has an estimated seating capacity of 200. The commercial sublicense fee for an establishment seating up to 200 patrons was $1,300 for this event. An attorney fee of $250 per hour for 9.5 hours of work is reasonable for an anti-piracy case such as this.
Based on the evidence of record, the court recommends that default judgment be entered in favor of Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. in the amount of $4,300 statutory damages under 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(i) and (ii); $2,375 for attorneys’ fees; $675.00 in costs, and post-judgment interest at the effective rate on date of entry of judgment.