Adding to this site’s archived case summaries of combat sports piracy judgements, reasons were released last week by the US District Court, S.D. Texas Houston Division, ordering a Defendant to pay $15,000 in damages for piracy of UFC 168.
In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Izalco Inc.) the Defendant broadcast UFC 168 in a bar without paying for the commercial sub licence rights to do so. The cost would have been $1,200. The Plaintiff obtained default judgement and the Court ordered that the Defendant pay a total of $15,000 in damages plus legal fees. In reaching this assessment District Judge Gray Miller provided the following reasons:
To compensate Joe Hand for the violation of § 605, the court finds that a statutory award of $5,000 is appropriate. Joe Hand produced evidence that it would have charged a Republica-sized establishment $1,200 to exhibit UFC 168. See Dkt. 21-5 (the capacity of the establishment is approximately 150 people); see also Dkt. 21-4 (advertising a charge of $1,200 for a venue seating 101-150 people). An additional $3,800 is reasonable for statutory damages to deter future violations. See Little Napoli, Inc., 2014 WL 3667903, at *3 (awarding $3,800 to deter future violations of § 605). Thus, the court GRANTS Joe Hand $5,000 in statutory damages.
This case warrants an award of additional damages because Defendants, in receiving the unauthorized satellite signal and displaying UFC 168, acted willfully and for the purposes of private financial gain. Dkt. 22-1 at 3-4, 8-9, 12-13. The court finds that an award of additional damages equivalent to double statutory damages is appropriate. See Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Chios, Inc., No. 4:11-CV-2411, 2012 WL 3069935, at *5 (S.D. Tex. July 27, 2012) (“Generally, it is reasonable to increase an actual or statutory damages award by a multiplier to penalize defendants for willful acts.”), aff’d, 544 F. App’x 444 (5th Cir. 2013) (per curiam). Therefore, the court GRANTS Joe hand $10,000 in additional damages.