TKO with Joe Hand Promotions!
Attorney Steve® Boxing Piracy Essentials - Joe Hand Promotions getting aggressive, threatening lawsuits in California.
Joe Hand Promotions seeks to hold restaurants, sports bars, tavern owners, barber shops, and other establishments that are commercially liable for broadcasting a boxing match in their establishment without the proper commercial license. The legal allegations may scan the spectrum of either illegal interception of a cable or satellite signal to unlawfully display a commercial fight to copyright infringement. Settlement demands can rise to $30,000 or more. If you end up going to court and "enhanced damages" can be shown, there is a potential for Plaintiff Joe Hand to reach $100,000 or more. Thus, these are IP infringement cases that need to be taken very seriously and handled by a law firm like ours, which has handled many versions of boxing piracy cases from G&G Closed Circuit Events, to J&J Sports Production, and of course, Joe Hand Promotions.
How Infringement can arise
Here are some typical ways people get caught in the Joe Hand piracy net:
- They call to see how much the fight costs, then, determining it is too expensive and won't ROI, they figure out another way to show it
- Paying for a personal (non-commercial license) and bringing a laptop into the establishment to show the fight
- Someone, a customer perhaps, uses a firestick or app to show the fight
- Someone mirrors the fight from their mobile phone to a smart TV
- A customer watches the fight them streams it live on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok
There are other ways, but these are some of the most common.
How the infringement investigation begins
Many times the first thing that happens is the owner of the bar, restaurant, or tavern will make the decision they will show the fight on one or more TVs (the more TV the more penalties the Plaintiff will try to seek, typically). Then, ads are often placed on the nightclub's social media (ex. Facebook - "we are showing the fight"). Drink premiums and cover charges may be imposed. Companies like J&J and Joe hand look for these ads online, likely with a hashtag search. When they learn you do not have a commercial license, they engage a paid investigator to go out to your establishment and take pictures and videos of the parking lot inside the restaurant (head counts, TV counts) and get the evidence that the fight is being shown). This report gets transmitted to one of their lawyers (some of the well-known lawyers in this "boxing piracy" or "TV Signal Piracy" fields are Julie Lonenstein Law Offices and Tom Riley Law Offices out of Pasadena. These are very skilled IP enforcement lawyers.
Then, typically, you may receive a demand letter threatening litigation if a certain settlement fee is not paid. This is where our California IP law office comes in. It is BEST not to talk to their lawyers, spill the beans, try to apologize, etc. This will not resolve your case and will not lead to a better deal. This is the time to "lawyer up" and get someone to represent your interests and seek to negotiate a private out-of-court settlement that resolves all claims. We offer a low flat rate (one-time predictable fees) to handle your matter. If the case goes to litigation - ex. You and your restaurant are being sued in federal district court in California (Northern Division, Eastern, Central District, Southern District); we have you covered. We have also been admitted to federal courts in Texas and New York.
Sample Allegations in a Joe Hand Promotions Lawsuit
Here are some sample allegations you might see in a
Plaintiff, JOE HAND PROMOTIONS, INC. is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Pennsylvania with its principal place of business located at 407 East Pennsylvania Blvd., Feasterville, Pennsylvania 19053. Plaintiff held the exclusive commercial distribution rights to the public exhibition of the audiovisual presentation of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor boxing match, including all undercard bouts and commentary, on Saturday, August 26, 2017 (the “Program”).
Plaintiff is a company that specializes in distributing and licensing premier sporting events to commercial, non-residential establishments including bars, restaurants, clubhouses, shops, and similar locations. By written agreement with the promoters of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor boxing event, Plaintiff was granted the exclusive commercial distribution rights to distribute the public exhibition of the audiovisual presentation of the Program.
In an effort to avoid paying the proper commercial license fees to Plaintiff, commercial locations, among other methods, obtained the Program through the illegal misuse of cable and satellite service by:
(1) intercepting and redirecting cable or satellite service from a nearby residence,
(2) registering their business location as a residence,
(3) physically moving a cable or satellite receiver from a residence to their business,
(4) obtaining the Program in violation of the terms of their television service provider agreement.
In addition to the above methods, commercial locations also exploited restricted online access to the Program in order to avoid paying the proper commercial license fees to Plaintiff. Consumers could stream the Program through a limited number of legitimate online distributors for a maximum retail price of $99.99, but only for non-commercial use. The website of each distributor carried clear language limiting use of an online stream to residential, personal, and/or non-commercial use only. Undeterred, commercial locations would purchase the Program for viewing on a personal device or in a residence, then proceed to link this device to the establishment's television screen(s) to unlawfully exhibit the Program commercially. 13. Upon information and belief, Defendants, themselves and/or through their agents, servants, and/or employees, willfully engaged in one or more of the above illegal acts to receive the Program for free or at a nominal cost while Plaintiff's legitimate customers paid several thousand dollars. Defendants knew, or should have known, their receipt and exhibition of the Program at their establishment was not authorized.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendants, jointly and severally, as follows:
a. for statutory damages, in the discretion of this Court, of up to the maximum amount of $110,000.00 for the willful violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605 committed for the purpose of commercial advantage or, alternatively, for statutory damages, in the discretion of this Court, of up to the maximum amount of $60,000.00 for the willful violation of 47 U.S.C. § 553 committed for the purpose of commercial advantage,
b. for Plaintiff's attorney's fees, interest, and costs of suit pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(B)(iii) or, alternatively, pursuant to § 553(c)(2)(C),
c. for statutory damages, in the discretion of this Court, of up to the maximum amount of $150,000.00 pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c) for the willful violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501,
d. for Plaintiff's attorney's fees, interest, and costs of suit pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505, and
Practice area(s): Copyright