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Bar Owner Get Sued Years After Illegally Airing Manny Pacquiao Boxing Fights

Posted on 05/21/2015

By Bryanna Fissori
Legal Analyst

Sometimes the past comes back to bite you. This old saying recently came to fruition for one Wisconsin bar that illegally commercially broadcast the 2012 WBO Welterweight Championship Fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.

Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

“The Old School Way” is a bar in Racine, Wisconsin. According to the suit, which is being brought by J&J Productions Inc., the bar allegedly aired the entire program including the undercard bouts. J&J Sports Productions is a California based company that handles a good majority of pay-per-view event distribution across the U.S., especially boxing. The lawsuit for the nearly three year old offense was filed last month in the United States District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin.

J&J Sports Productions is no stranger to litigation. Since January the company has already filed nearly 250 causes of action against different defendants. It can take months or obviously years for cases to be filed for PPV piracy. With this in mind it is likely that the company could be inundated over the next couple of years with case filings for violations stemming from the recent Pacquiao/Mayweather match up.

The most common causes of action deal with copyright infringement and include;
47 U.S.C. §605 (a) “prohibits the unauthorized reception and publication or use of communications such as the transmission for which plaintiff had the distribution rights thereto.”

47 U.S.C. §553 “prohibits the unauthorized reception, interception and exhibition of any communications service offered over a cable system such as the transmission for which plaintiff had the distribution rights thereto.”

17 U.S.C § 501 (a) “Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 122 or of the author as provided in section 106A(a), or who imports copies or phone records into the United States in violation of section 602, is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be. . .”

Under the Interception of Radio Communications Act and the Unauthorized Reception of Cable Service Act violators could face over $100,000 in damages if they are found to have willfully transmitted the boxing match without the proper commercial license. Federal statutes allow awards of up to $10,000 for each violation with a penalty as high as $100,000 if the business acted willfully and for commercial advantage or private financial gain. J&J Sports Productions is seeking damages up to $60,000 or even $110,000 depending on how the event stream was obtained.

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