Piracy of Mayweather vs. Pacquaio Leads to $13,000 Damage Award

Reasons for judgement were recently released by the US District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division, assessing damages of $13,000 for the commercial piracy of the Mayweather vs. Pacquaio bout.

In the recent case (J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Silva) the Defendants displayed the boxing pay per view program in a commercial establishment without paying the commercial sub licensing fees.

The Plaintiff sought a total of $49,000 in damages though the Court assessed damages at a more modest range of $13,000.  In arriving at this figure Chief District Judge Michael Mosman provided the following reasons:

… the rate card states that “pricing for this event is based on Fire Code Occupancy,” not on actual number of patrons. [13-2]. The investigators gave ranges of capacity from 90-150 people, though their estimates of number of patrons were higher. [13-1]. Given this uncertainty about capacity and fire code occupancy, $3,000 is more appropriate as the sublicense fee corresponding to a site with a capacity of 1-100. See Motion [13-2]. I award $3,000 in statutory damages.

In terms of enhanced damages, the court may increase the award in certain circumstances:

In any case in which the court finds that the violation was committed willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, the court in its discretion may increase the award of damages, whether actual or statutory under subparagraph (A), by an amount of not more than $50,000.

,,,. In assessing willfulness, “[c]ourts generally consider factors such as repeat violations, substantial unlawful monetary gains, significant actual damages to plaintiff, advertising, cover charges, or charging premium menu and drink prices.”…

Here, there is some evidence that “the violation was committed willfully and for purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private financial gain.” See§ 553(c)(3)(B). Republica charged a $10-$15 cover charge, and an employee told one of the investigators “the fight was on, and the cover charge was $10.” [13-1] at 11; see Miramontes, 2011 WL 892350, at *2 (granting $10,000 in enhanced damages where the only “aggravating factor” was a sign posted advertising the fight); but see J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Juanillo, No. C 10-01801 WHA, 2010 WL 5059539, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 6, 2010) (assessing $500 in statutory damages and no enhanced damages for first-time offender establishment with 150-person capacity, where no cover charge was required). But there is no evidence of any other “aggravating factors.” I grant $10,000 in enhanced damages.

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