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Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Prevot

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

September 26, 2019

JOE HAND PROMOTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
DAVIDSON PREVOT, VIRGINIE SAINTIL, individually, and as officers, directors, shareholders, members and/or principals of Alez Caribbean Restaurant and Lounge LLC d/b/a Alez Caribbean Restaurant and Lounge, and ALEZ CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE LLC d/b/a Alez Caribbean Restaurantand Lounge, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Susan C. Bucklew United States District Judge.

         This cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Default Judgment. (Doc. No. 23). As explained below, the motion is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff alleges the following in its complaint (Doc. No. 1): Plaintiff Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. is a company that specializes in distributing and licensing sporting events to commercial establishments. The owner of the registered copyright of the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Conor McGregor boxing match granted Plaintiff the exclusive right to commercially distribute the audiovisual presentation of the boxing match, which aired on August 26, 2017. Plaintiff licensed the boxing match to more than 6, 000 establishments nationwide, authorizing them to exhibit the match to their guests and customers after payment of a commercial license fee to Plaintiff.

         Defendants Davidson Prevot and Virginie Saintil were the officers, directors, shareholders, or members of Defendants Alez Caribbean Restaurant and Lounge LLC on the date that the boxing match aired. Defendants did not pay Plaintiff a license fee to show the boxing match; instead, they unlawfully obtained the boxing match through an unauthorized cable signal, satellite signal, and/or internet stream. Defendants knew, or should have known, that their receipt and exhibition of the boxing match at their establishment was not authorized.

         Defendants willfully and intentionally pirated the boxing match for the sole purpose of their own economic gain. Defendants exhibited the boxing match for the commercial purpose of attracting paying customers, thereby wrongfully benefitting financially by infringing Plaintiff’s rights in the high-profile event. Defendants did not have license, authorization, permission, or consent from Plaintiff to exhibit the boxing match.

         On March 16, 2019, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants, asserting two claims. In Count I, Satellite and Cable Piracy, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated 47 U.S.C. § 605 and/or § 553 by intercepting the cable and/or satellite signal for the boxing match. In Count II, Copyright Infringement, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated 17 U.S.C. § 106 and § 501 by their unauthorized distribution and public performance of the boxing match at their establishment.

         Plaintiff served Defendants with the complaint, but they failed to file a response. (Doc. No. 13–15). As a result, the Clerk entered default against Defendants on July 10, 2019. (Doc. No. 18–20). Thereafter, Plaintiff filed the instant motion for default judgment.

         II. Motion for Default Judgment

         Plaintiff moves for default judgment on Count I only. In Count I, Satellite and Cable Piracy, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated 47 U.S.C. § 605 (satellite piracy) and/or § 553 (cable piracy) by intercepting the cable and/or satellite signal for the boxing match. Section 605(a) provides the following:

No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication and divulge or publish the . . . contents . . . 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 . . . knowing that such communication was intercepted, shall divulge or publish the . . . contents . . . for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto.

47 U.S.C. § 605(a). Likewise, § 553 provides the following: “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.” In order to establish a violation of § 605 or § 503, Plaintiff must prove three things: (1)

         Defendants intercepted the transmission of the boxing match; (2) Defendants did not pay for the right to receive the transmission; and (3) Defendants displayed the boxing match to the patrons of their commercial establishment. See Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Martinez, 2019 WL 3082582, at *3 (N.D. Ala. July 15, 2019). Plaintiff alleges in the complaint, and its allegations are deemed admitted by Defendants, that Defendants unlawfully obtained the boxing match without paying for it by intercepting the cable and/or satellite signal for the match. Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants pirated the boxing match willfully, intentionally, and for the sole purpose of their own economic gain by attracting customers to their restaurant. The allegations in the complaint establish that Plaintiff is entitled to judgment on Count I of the complaint.[1]

         When a defendant is liable under both § 605 and § 553, the plaintiff may recover damages under only one of those sections. See id. Plaintiff has elected to pursue damages under § 605. Pursuant to § 605(e)(3)(B), this Court may award Plaintiff damages, as well as costs and attorneys’ fees. Pursuant to § 605(e)(3)(C), Plaintiff may elect to pursue actual damages plus ...


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