Intellectual Property | Copyright Infringement | Technology | Software

Boxing Piracy

Our intellectual property law firm helps companies being charged with boxing fight cable or satellite TV piracy.


boxing piracy defense law firm

Introduction

If you are running a bar, restaurant, tavern, nightclub or sports bar and you show the fight to your customers (which would be considered a “commercial” viewing requiring a commercial license) and yet you did not pay for the proper commercial license, you could find yourself on the receiving end of a knockout punch from a Plaintiff lawyer representing a company like Joe Hand Promotions or JJ Sports Production.

What is Pay-Per-View boxing piracy?

When you receive a notice of infringement (often times demanding amounts from $20,000 to $100,000) things can get stressful, but understanding your legal rights and potential defenses can be very important to avoiding bankruptcy and responding to the legal demand.  As noted above, claims are usually raised due to showing a fight to your customers without first obtaining the proper commercial license (which naturally costs more, and which many small operations cannot afford).

Many times my clients were found out due to posting an advertisement for their establishment on social media websites like facebook (ex. “come see the big fight on Friday at Joes Bar”).  The company that holds the broadcasting rights can look you up and see if you have secured the proper commercial license and if not, they can send an investigator out to shoot videos or take pictures to have as evidence of infringement or illegal broadcasting.  Once this evidence is in and processed, Plaintiff counsel may decide its time to send you a letter and seek to settle your case, often for a large sum of money.

Companies that may come after you

As noted above, you may receive a letter from the Law offices of Thomas P. Riley, P.C. (Pasadena law firm that has a lot of experience in these types of cases).  This firm can be difficult to deal with which makes it important to have legal counsel on your side.

Two federal code sections which may be cited in the demand letter

Aside from potentially seeing a claim for copyright infringement, here are the two federal laws that you may be accused of violating:

(i) The Communications Act of 1934 – [Title 47 U.S.C. 605]

(a) Practices prohibited
Except as authorized by chapter 119, Title 18, no person receiving, assisting in receiving, transmitting, or assisting in transmitting, any interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning thereof, except through authorized channels of transmission or reception,
(1) to any person other than the addressee, his agent, or attorney,
(2) to a person employed or authorized to forward such communication to its destination,
(3) to proper accounting or distributing officers of the various communicating centers over which the communication may be passed,
(4) to the master of a ship under whom he is serving,
(5) in response to a subpoena issued by a court of competent jurisdiction,
or
(6) on demand of other lawful authority.
No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person.
No person not being entitled thereto shall receive or assist in receiving any interstate or foreign communication by radio and use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. No person having received any intercepted radio communication or having become acquainted with the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) knowing that such communication was intercepted, shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) or use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. This section shall not apply to the receiving, divulging, publishing, or utilizing the contents of any radio communication which is transmitted by any station for the use of the general public, which relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, or which is transmitted by an amateur radio station operator or by a citizens band radio operator.

Definitions under 47 U.S.C. 605

(d) Definitions
For purposes of this section–
(1) the term “satellite cable programming” means video programming which is transmitted via satellite and which is primarily intended for the direct receipt by cable operators for their retransmission to cable subscribers;
(2) the term “agent”, with respect to any person, includes an employee of such person;
(3) the term “encrypt”, when used with respect to satellite cable programming, means to transmit such programming in a form whereby the aural and visual characteristics (or both) are modified or altered for the purpose of preventing the unauthorized receipt of such programming by persons without authorized equipment which is designed to eliminate the effects of such modification or alteration;
(4) the term “private viewing” means the viewing for private use in an individual’s dwelling unit by means of equipment, owned or operated by such individual, capable of receiving satellite cable programming directly from a satellite;
(5) the term “private financial gain” shall not include the gain resulting to any individual for the private use in such individual’s dwelling unit of any programming for which the individual has not obtained authorization for that use; and
(6) the term “any person aggrieved” shall include any person with proprietary rights in the intercepted communication by wire or radio, including wholesale or retail distributors of satellite cable programming, and, in the case of a violation of paragraph (4) of subsection (e) of this section, shall also include any person engaged in the lawful manufacture, distribution, or sale of equipment necessary to authorize or receive satellite cable programming.

Penalties for violation of 47 U.S.C. 605

(e) Penalties; civil actions; remedies; attorney’s fees and costs; computation of damages; regulation by State and local authorities
(1) Any person who willfully violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.
(2) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section willfully and for purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private financial gain shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both, for the first such conviction and shall be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for any subsequent conviction.
(3)(A) Any person aggrieved by any violation of subsection (a) of this section or paragraph (4) of this subsection may bring a civil action in a United States district court or in any other court of competent jurisdiction.
(B) The court–
(i) may grant temporary and final injunctions on such terms as it may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain violations of subsection (a) of this section;
(ii) may award damages as described in subparagraph (C); and
(iii) shall direct the recovery of full costs, including awarding reasonable attorneys’ fees to an aggrieved party who prevails.
(C)(i) Damages awarded by any court under this section shall be computed, at the election of the aggrieved party, in accordance with either of the following subclauses;
(I) the party aggrieved may recover the actual damages suffered by him as a result of the violation and any profits of the violator that are attributable to the violation which are not taken into account in computing the actual damages; in determining the violator’s profits, the party aggrieved shall be required to prove only the violator’s gross revenue, and the violator shall be required to prove his deductible expenses and the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the violation; or
(II) the party aggrieved may recover an award of statutory damages for each violation of subsection (a) of this section involved in the action in a sum of not less than $1,000 or more than $10,000, as the court considers just, and for each violation of paragraph (4) of this subsection involved in the action an aggrieved party may recover statutory damages in a sum not less than $10,000, or more than $100,000, as the court considers just.
(ii) In any case in which the court finds that the violation was committed willfully and for purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private financial gain, the court in its discretion may increase the award of damages, whether actual or statutory, by an amount of not more than $100,000 for each violation of subsection (a) of this section.
(iii) In any case where the court finds that the violator was not aware and had no reason to believe that his acts constituted a violation of this section, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of damages to a sum of not less than $250.

(ii) The Cable & Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, – [Title 47 U.S.C. section 553]

(a) Unauthorized interception or receipt or assistance in intercepting or receiving service; “assist in intercepting or receiving” defined
(1) No person shall intercept or receive or assist in intercepting or receiving any communications service offered over a cable system, unless specifically authorized to do so by a cable operator or as may otherwise be specifically authorized by law.
(2) For the purpose of this section, the term “assist in intercepting or receiving” shall include the manufacture or distribution of equipment intended by the manufacturer or distributor (as the case may be) for unauthorized reception of any communications service offered over a cable system in violation of subparagraph (1).
(b) Penalties for willful violation
(1) Any person who willfully violates subsection (a)(1) of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.
(2) Any person who violates subsection (a)(1) of this section willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both, for the first such offense and shall be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for any subsequent offense.
(3) For purposes of all penalties and remedies established for violations of subsection (a)(1) of this section, the prohibited activity established herein as it applies to each such device shall be deemed a separate violation.
(c) Civil action in district court; injunctions; damages; attorney’s fees and costs; regulation by States or franchising authorities
(1) Any person aggrieved by any violation of subsection (a)(1) of this section may bring a civil action in a United States district court or in any other court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) The court may–
(A) grant temporary and final injunctions on such terms as it may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain violations of subsection (a)(1) of this section;
(B) award damages as described in paragraph (3); and
(C) direct the recovery of full costs, including awarding reasonable attorneys’ fees to an aggrieved party who prevails.
(3)(A) Damages awarded by any court under this section shall be computed in accordance with either of the following clauses:
(i) the party aggrieved may recover the actual damages suffered by him as a result of the violation and any profits of the violator that are attributable to the violation which are not taken into account in computing the actual damages; in determining the violator’s profits, the party aggrieved shall be required to prove only the violator’s gross revenue, and the violator shall be required to prove his deductible expenses and the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the violation; or
(ii) the party aggrieved may recover an award of statutory damages for all violations involved in the action, in a sum of not less than $250 or more than $10,000 as the court considers just.
(B) 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.
(C) In any case where the court finds that the violator was not aware and had no reason to believe that his acts constituted a violation of this section, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of damages to a sum of not less than $100.
(D) Nothing in this subchapter shall prevent any State or franchising authority from enacting or enforcing laws, consistent with this section, regarding the unauthorized interception or reception of any cable service or other communications service.

Can these cases be settled without a federal lawsuit being filed?

Yes.  Many cases are settled before any costly litigation has to ensue.  Of course, you want to make sure you have an excellent IP firm fighting for you getting you the best possible settlement terms.

Boxing Piracy Blogs by Vondran Legal

  1. http://vondranlegal.com/are-the-boxing-match-piracy-investigators-runners-for-the-law-firm/
  2. http://vondranlegal.com/jj-sports-v-mandell-family-ventures-llc-case-brief/
  3. http://vondranlegal.com/pay-per-view-piracy-defense-attorneys/
  4. Overview of boxing piracy defense

Call us to discuss your case with a Boxing Piracy Defense Law Firm

Our boutique intellectual property law firm can help your company if you are accused of illegally broadcasting copyrighted boxing matches.  We can be reached at (877) 276-5084.  In most cases we are able to structure a low flat rate legal fee.  Call us for a free initial consultation.