The UFC successfully sues at least one man for watching stolen Pay-Per-View streams
According to a story done by Bloody Elbow’s Iain Kidd, the UFC has successfully sued a man for streaming live Pay-Per View events.
According to Kidd, the UFC is going to great lengths to stop online piracy and keep their PPV events as much under wraps as possible. As any fight fan knows, Zuffa has always kept a strong hold on their privately owned footage, and their team of interceptors have always been able to keep that footage out of the un-paying eye.
However, there are always way around things like that. Not to say that those actions don’t come without consequences. And though Mr. Kidd seemed to believe that the UFC might have had some challenges in suing someone for traditional copyright infringement like the Motion Picture Association would, it seems that the UFC still found a way.
It appears that the Zuffa attorneys used some tricky lawyering to dodge any dirty looks by suing for copyright infringement, and instead decided to sue the viewers under Title 47 of the United States Code, §§ 553 and 605 which state (553) that a person is prohibited from intercepting or receiving “any communications service offered over a cable system, unless specifically authorized to do so…” and (605) prescribes the unauthorized interception and publication of any “radio communication”.
Basically, Zuffa is suing not for copyright infringement, but instead for the accused stealing the UFC’s Pay-Per-View signal without authorization.
Zuffa was able to successfully sue at least one person, and as Kidd stated in his story, it’s no surprise that they attempted to sue hundreds more. According to Kidd, the accused chose not to be defiant and in his compliance the judge was lenient and rewarded him with a default judgement.
The plaintiff was forced to pay a hefty some of nearly $12,000. $1,000 for each event that was streamed in statutory damages, a light sentence considering it is the lowest amount allowed by law, $4,000 in enhanced damages and a large lump on attorney’s fees and court costs totaling to $5,948.70. So, for two Pay-Per-View events the plaintiff was forced to pay a grand total of $11,948.70.
Just goes to show, kids, that it doesn’t pay to steal and your best bet if you can’t afford to watch the event is to either chock it up as a loss or hit the local sports bar.
Huge thanks to Iain Kidd at Bloody Elbow for the scoop!
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