Adding to this site’s archived case summaries of combat sports piracy judgements, reasons were released this week by the US District Court, M.D. Louisiana, ordering a Defendant to pay $30,000 for showing Mayweather v. Pacquiao without a licence.
In the recent case (J&J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Cheers Sports Bar and Grill, LLC) the Defendant displayed the boxing Pay Per View fight in their commercial establishment without paying the commercial sub licence fee allowing them to do so. The fee would have been, at most, $3,000. They were sued and in response took the ostrich approach to litigation and failed to respond. The Plaintiff successfully obtained default judgement in an amount 10x what the licence would have cost. In finding $6,000 in statutory damages and a further $24,000 in enhanced damages were warranted District Judge Brian A. Jackson provided the following reasons:
The Court finds that statutory damages in an amount twice what the sublicensing fee for lawful broadcast would have been is “just” under the circumstances in this case. See id. Here, Plaintiff has established that Defendant’s sublicensing fee would have been, at most, $3,000. The Program’s sub-license rate for an establishment with a capacity of sixty to one-hundred people was $3,000; Cheers could hold approximately seventy-five people. (Doc. 10-10 at p. 2, 6; Doc. 16-9 at p. 3; Doc. 16-1 at p. 3). Therefore, the Court awards Plaintiff statutory damages in the amount of $6,000….
Nonetheless, there is a sufficient showing that Defendant made substantial unlawful monetary gains by serving alcoholic beverages and food during the broadcast because the broadcast most likely led to an increased number of patrons, and thus to an increase in profits from food and beverages. (Docs. 16-7, 16-8). In addition, Plaintiffs investigator noted that after she entered Cheers, an employee was “at the door accepting money to get in the venue” (Doc. 16-8 at p. 1), and another investigator noted that she observed five televisions each and counted approximately seventy-five patrons. (Doc. 16-7 at p. 1). Plaintiff attests to investing considerable resources to combating piracy, but assigns a value only to the maximum $3,000 sublicensing fee it was denied due to Defendant’s unlawful behavior in actual damages. (Doc. 16-9 at p. 2-3).
Here, due to Defendant’s commercial advantage, the Court awards additional damages of $24,000, which reflects an award equal to four times the amount of the statutory damages awarded.