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Wednesday, 04/25/2012, 05:55 am

Man Accused of UFC Piracy Skips Court Hearing


We have covered the UFC’s anti-piracy policy tirelessly here on BJPENN.COM. At this point we know that the UFC will prosecute anyone stealing their beloved product and/or PPV broadcasts.

Recently a man who was busted for stealing UFC pay-per-views for his bar patrons skipped his court appearance.

Aberdeennew.com has the scoop:

 

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The former owner of an Aberdeen bar accused of pirating an Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view event featuring Brock Lesnar is not putting up a defense.

Jason J. Miller, former owner of Jake’s Pub and Casino, has not filed a response to the accusation, according to paperwork filed in the lawsuit.

During a Monday hearing in federal court before Judge Charles Kornmann, no attorney appeared to represent Miller or Jake’s. So all that remains is for Kornmann to determine how much to award Nevada-based Zuffa LLC, the company that operates UFC, for damages.

By not filing a response to the lawsuit, Miller has essentially admitted wrongdoing, said Aberdeen attorney Zachary Peterson, who represents Zuffa. Although Miller previously lived in Aberdeen, his last known resident was in Rapid City, Peterson said during the hearing. The bar, on South Lincoln Street, has a new owner and name.

The allegations stem from the “UFC 121″ event broadcast via satellite on Oct. 23, 2010, when Lesnar, a Webster native who is now a professional wrestler, lost his heavyweight title to Cain Velasquez.

David Hoover testified Monday via telephone that he works for Zuffa looking for businesses that broadcast UFC pay-per-view events without paying the required fees. He said he entered multiple businesses that night to see whether they were improperly broadcasting the fights. He said Zuffa tracks businesses that pay for the events and provides him with a list so he can look for offenders.

Hoover said about two dozen people were watching “UFC 121″ at Jake’s the night of the Lesnar-Velasquez fight. Most were standing near one of four televisions on which the pay-per-view was shown, he said. Jake’s did not charge for people to get in, he said.

Peterson wasn’t sure what rate Zuffa would have charged Jake’s to broadcast the fights. But, he said, the bar benefitted financially by showing them because it attracted more customers than it otherwise would have.

Zuffa is seeking $10,000 in statutory damages because Jake’s improperly showed “UFC 121.” That’s the maximum allowed by federal law. It also requested $25,000 in enhanced damages for willfully broadcasting the event and benefitting commercially. The maximum allowed under federal law is $100,000. Peterson said Zuffa is also requesting $3,940 in attorney’s fees.

Zuffa also filed a lawsuit against Robert J. Kohl, owner of Main Street Bar and Casino in Sisseton, saying the bar also pirated the event. That case, though, was ultimately dismissed.

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