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Overview of Defenses in J & J Sports Boxing Piracy Lawsuits

Posted by Steve Vondran | Apr 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

Cable TV and Satellite Piracy Lawsuit Defense Law Firm – [Federal Court Lawyer] – Overview of J&J Sports Production cases.  Applies as well to Joe Hand Promotions and G & G Closed Circuit Events cases.

Letter from jj sports boxing piracy 1024x682

Introduction

Seems things are heating up in the area of TV signal piracy cases.  These cases come as a shock to many small business owners who receive either a notice of federal law violation (often demanding $25,000 or more) or worse yet a direct call from a potentially aggressive Plaintiff lawyer representing the likes of Joe Hand Promotions, G&G Closed Circuit or more likely J&J sports.  Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed over the years alleging violation of federal law (see below).  Before you EVER talk to one of these lawyers, call us for a no cost initial consultation.  You have questions and concerns and we have answers for you.  If you want to call now dial (877) 276-5084.

Is this a scam?

I have talked to many business owners and individuals who literally were about to throw the letter away but decided to check first.  We have heard stories of people who have been called and bullied or harassed and asked for settlement money or “we will file suit” and hanging up the phone (an abusive tactic to be sure) and seeking to intimidate minorities and small business owners into paying a large settlement fee or face a publicly embarrassing lawsuit that will likely cost thousands of dollars to defend.  But is this a “scam” while some insist it is, I can tell you these letters and these lawyers in most cases are real, and again, if you are not sure call us to take advantage of our free initial discussion.

Watch Attorney Steve® explain PPV boxing piracy claims

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What types of businesses are being subject to these claims?

All kinds of commercial businesses are being approached.  Some common examples include:

  • Restaurants
  • Sports bars
  • Diners
  • Nightclubs
  • Taverns
  • Barber shops
  • Clubs
  • Tattoo parlors
  • Hooka lounge
  • Mexican food establishments

We have seen many small and minority owned businesses facing cable piracy charges, (which can also be a crime) so it is not clear if targeting is going on or not.

Is this collection practice ethical or is this extortion?

If an attorney threatens to report you to law enforcement, the FBI, local police, etc, this is considered unethical and please let us know when you call us. Otherwise, in most cases these tactics may be seen as legal and lawful.  There is such a thing as civil extortion, and I know some business owners have reported attorneys to state bar associations but I am not aware of whether or not there has been any success in this area.  Some people might recall the curious case of Trevor Law center in San Diego which ran into their own problems with seeking settlements from numerous Defendants over BP 17200 violations.  In most cases, you should proceed as if this is lawful, but bring any overly aggressive tactics or techniques to the attention of your intellectual property law counsel.

Under California Penal code section 528:

Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right.

Collecting on an unpaid boxing case may be legal (seeking penalties for infringement or unauthorized broadcasting) but if the tactics become bully like this should be explored in handing and defending a case.

What are the top Pay Per View boxing fights of all time?

These are some of the big fights that bar owners wanted to get their hands on and broadcast in their place of business.  Showing these fights can lead to increased business (ex. through facebook advertising of the fight), and increased sales through beer and food or other sales.

  • Floyd Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya (2007).  WBC Light Middleweight Title- 2.4 million estimated viewers.  At a minimum, you are talking over millions of dollars in licensing fees.  Not to mention over 19 million in attendance fees.
  • Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield II (1997) – “The Bite Fight”
  • Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis (2002)
  • Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield I (1996) – obviously the boxing world is missing Iron Mike at least as far as revenues are concerned.
  • Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley (1995) – 1.5 million viewers
  • Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III (2011)
  • Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley (2010) – Over 70 million in revenue claimed.
  • Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad (1999)
  • Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman  (1991) – estimated 1.4 million viewers.
  • Mike Tyson vs. Frank Bruno II (1996)
  • Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley (2011) – estimated 1.3 million viewers
  • Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz (2011) – estimated 1.25 million PPV buys.

“So in addition to the ticket receipts and the pay per view subscriptions (both residential and commercial), merchandising, and the “after market” for unauthorized broadcasts, boxing is indeed a “Knock Out” industry.”  – Attorney Steve®  –

PPV theft cases being filed across the United States (JJ Sports filings since January 1, 2018 to April 25th)

  • Washington D.C.
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • Louisiana
  • Utah
  • Ohio

Note: G&G closed circuit events has filed three lawsuits in 2018 (Arizona, Maryland, and Oklahoma).  Joe Hand promotions has filed 44 lawsuits up to the date of this blog.  Obviously these companies are not afraid to litigate so you have to take their infringement notices serious and hire an experienced defense lawyer.

Possible affirmative defenses and mitigating factors

These are some things to think about if you are being pursued by an aggressive law firm seeking to recover money from your business, and frankly, I don't believe they give two hoots whether or not you have to go out of business.  While these are not “bullet proof” defenses, when you are up against the wall you have to explore every possible option based on the facts of your case.

Attorney Steve® Top 10 defenses checklist!

  1.  DEFECTIVE BROADCAST – Cable, TV or satellite signal never came through (there was no broadcast or interception of a TV signal);
  2.  VALID LICENSE – Paid for commercial license or had some oral or written authority to show fight (estoppel)
  3.  FALSE STATEMENTS / FRAUD – Misrepresentation by third party – (Informed by reseller that establishment was okay to broadcast fight commercially for the fee paid) (boxing match was “authorized”)
  4.  NO COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY – Residential viewing only (no commercial gain).  For example, showing a fight after the bar closes
  5. IMPROPER SETUP – Commercial establishment setup with residential account (negligence of third party)
  6. CUSTOMER SERVICE MISINTERPRETATION (many call centers are located in India, China or in other offshore locations).  In many cases they can be hard to understand and English may not be their first language.  Moreover, it is unlikely they ask “is this fight for your home or for your business?”  This could be easily done, but then again that would kill the back end business of companies like J & J Sports, Joe Hand Promotions, G &G closed circuit and others.  This is literally such a profit center that it would not be surprising if broadcast rights holders literally asked their resellers NOT to ask whether it is commercial or residential, and perhaps even default to setting up people with a residential account.  I am not making this accusation, I am simply saying I would not be surprised.
  7. ILLEGAL TRESPASS / UNAUTHORIZED PHOTOS – Your business had a sign on the window prohibiting entering the establishment for any purpose other than being a customer (ex. private investigators invading the piracy of people in a bar – in some bars I would say people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, for example if a married woman is meeting a young man out for a drink).
  8. COPYRIGHT OR TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT – private detectives are taking photos of your copyrighted works in your bar, tavern, night club, disco, or sports bar.  This could be grounds for a countersuit.
  9. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS – California One year / Some other states (ex. New York) 3 years to be analagous to copyright SOL.
  10. THE INTERNET STREAMING DEFENSE – If Plaintiff fails to conduct discovery and show that you intercepted the boxing match and broadcasted the fight commercially via either satellite or cable then they may be subject to losing on motion for summary judgement.  See our blog on internet streaming boxing piracy.

This is not an exclusive list, call us to discuss the facts of your case.

NOTE: I DO NOT SEE OTHER TV SIGNAL PIRACY DEFENSE LAW FIRMS POSTING POTENTIAL DEFENSES, OR HELPFUL VIDEOS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THAT (ALONG WITH FEDERAL COURT EXPERIENCE AND CLIENT REVIEWS) BEFORE MAKING THE DECISION TO HIRE A LAWYER.  PRICE AND SERVICE IS OBVIOUSLY ALSO IMPORTANT AND WE BELIEVE WHEN EVERYTHING IS WEIGHED THERE IS NO BETTER DECISION THAN TO HIRE VONDRAN LEGAL”  Attorney Steve® 

Law Firms You Might Receive a Letter from

These are a few of the PPV Theft Plaintiff law firms (some may no longer be practicing in this area)

  1. Varin Wardwell (Idaho)
  2. Jordan Law Firm (Columbia South Carolina)
  3. Paul J. Hooten & Associates (New York)
  4. Law Offices of Thomas P. Riley, P.C. (Pasadena, California)
  5. Browner Law, PLLC (Chapel Hill North Carolina)
  6. Fletcher Law Firm LLC (Atlanta, Georgia)
  7. Ziegler Metzger LLP (Cleveland, Ohio)
  8. The Korn Diaz Firm (G&G Closed Circuit Events, LLC case)
  9. Korn Bowdich & Diaz LLP (Texas)
  10. Paul J. Hooten & Associates (New York)
  11. Zane D. Smith & Associates, Ltd (Chicago, Ill)

There may be others.

Can you afford to hire a lawyer?

In some cases we are able to structure a low flat rate legal fee that beats the competition.  Call for more details.  You can send us an email to the address on the right side of this page.

What are the typical costs of settlement?

There is no “typical” cost of settlement.  There are many factors that are considered in Copyright Infringement, and PPV unauthorized signal cases (types of cases our law firm handles).  Here is a video I did on torrent settlements, but generally applies to satellite piracy cases.

VIDEO:  Watch this video to get a better understanding of factors that may be considered.  Again, this is not an exclusive list.  Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to join 6,300 other people who love our legal information videos!

What are the federal laws at issue here?

Click on the video at the top of this post, or go here to learn more about the cable signal theft legal violations that are being alleged against your small business.  In general, you are looking at 47 U.S.C. 605 and 553.

Can I recover attorney fees if we fight and win?

Normally, Attorney Fees statutes (like section 605 and 553 at issue in these cases, which allow for Plaintiff to recover attorney fees) may be construed as “reciprocal” in the right case.  Check case law in your jurisdiction

Can I sue the Reseller?

There may be some cases where you need to consider suing a company that sold you the fight and misrepresented that it c0uld be viewed commercially, and said that your “business account” was sufficient or wired your business for residential (when it was clearly commercial).

Comcast?  Cox? Verizon?  Direct TV?  Optimum TV?  Dish Network?  Time Warner?  (any cable carrier or satellite provider that may have misrepresented or mis-installed).  We will be posting more on this in future blog posts.

Important things to ask before hiring legal counsel

See our quote in BLUE above.  These are the important things to ask for and consider.  You can check out our extensive Federal Court experience or view our past client reviews.

California cases – if your business is sued in California it is important to have local counsel.  We have offices serving San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Inland Empire and surrounding areas in SOCAL.  We also have an office in San Francisco serving Oakland, San Jose, and the Bay area.

Video Resources

Here is a 2017 Video resources to view:

  1.  J&J Sports filing lawsuits

Contact a TV signal piracy defense attorney

We hope this blog has been helpful.  For a free consultation to discuss your case call us at (877) 276-5084.  

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337

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