$18,000 in Damages Ordered For Piracy of Pacquiao v. Bradley

In the latest piracy prosecution for a combat sports Pay Per View event, reasons for judgement were released last week ordering $18,000 in damages for the piracy of Pacquiao v. Bradley.

In the recent case (J&J Sports Productions , Inc. v. Catsup Burger Bar) the Defendants displayed the PPV bout without paying the commercial sub-licensing fees to the Plaintiff.  The fees would have been $2,200 based on an establishment of the Defendants capacity.  The Plaintiff obtained default judgement and the court found damages of $6,000 were warranted for displaying the program without paying the licensing fees.  The Court found a further $12,000 in damages were warranted as the piracy was intentional.  In ordering a total of $18,000 in damages District Judge Jayne Boyle of the US District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division, provided the following reasons:

Courts determine the reasonable amount of statutory damages by adding what the establishment would have paid in sub-licensing fees and an amount that the Court, in its discretion, deems reasonable to deter future violation. See Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Alima, No. 13-cv-0889-B, 2014 WL 1632158, at *4 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 22, 2014) (awarding $5000 based on sub-licensing fees of $1100-1200 and the need to deter future violations); J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Beck, No. L-13-57, 2013 WL 5592333, at *2 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 9, 2013) (same); Al-Waha Enters., 219 F. Supp. 2d at 776 (awarding $5000 based on sub-licensing fees of $1500 and the need to deter future violations).

The amount an establishment pays in sub-licensing fees for any event is based on the capacity of the establishment. Catsup’s estimated capacity is between fifty-five and seventy-eight people. Doc. 37-1, Pl.’s Ex. A-2, Hutsell Aff; id., Thomas Aff. Based on a capacity of fewer than one hundred patrons, Catsup would have paid $2200 in sub-licensing fees for this Event. See Doc 37-1, Pl.’s Ex. A-3, Rate Card. Based on the amounts awarded by previous courts, this Court finds that an additional $3800 is appropriate to deter future violations. Thus, Catsup owes $6000 in base statutory damages.

Because the Court determines that Catsup broadcast the Event willfully and for commercial gain, it must now decide by how much to increase the base amount of statutory damages. 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(ii). Courts have awarded three to eight times the base statutory damages as additional damages. Q Café, Inc., 2012 WL 215282 at *5. To determine by how much to multiply the base statutory damages, courts consider a multitude of factors, including: (1) whether the establishment charged a cover to view the event, (2) the number of televisions on which the establishment showed the event, (3) whether the establishment advertised the event, (4) how many people were in attendance, (5) whether the establishment was a repeat offender, and (6) whether the establishment was in an urban area. See, e.g., Alima, 2014 WL 1632158, at *5 (awarding four times the statutory base award as additional damages where defendant charged a cover and showed the event on nine screens to approximately 85 to 125 patrons); Beck,2013 WL 5592333, at *3 (awarding three times the base because defendant did not charge a cover, only thirty patrons viewed the event, and defendant was not a repeat offender); Q Café Inc., 2012 WL 215282 at *5 (awarding five times the base statutory amount in part because the establishment was in an urban area); J&J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Garcia, Civil Action No. H-08-1675, 2009 WL 2567891, at *4 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 14, 2009)(awarding four times the statutory damages because the defendant openly advertised the event outside the establishment).

Here, Catsup did not charge a cover, and displayed the event on only six screens to approximately fifteen to eighteen people. Doc. 37-1, Ex. A-2, Hutsell Aff; id.Thomas Aff. There is no evidence that Catsup advertised the event or that it is a repeat offender. But Catsup is located in an urban area. Therefore, Court finds that an additional damages award of three times the base amount is reasonable. Thus, the Court awards $18,000 in total statutory damages.

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