May 22, 2013

J & J Sports Sues Five Restaurants for Unauthorized Interception and Broadcast of Championship Fight

Indianapolis, Ind. -- Intellectual property lawyers for J & J Sports Productions, Inc. ("J&J Sports") of Campbell, Calif. have sued five Indianapolis restaurants and their owners in the Southern District of Indiana for illegally displaying the 2011 World Boxing Organization Welterweight J&JSportsLogo.JPGChampionship Fight.

J & J Sports was granted exclusive nationwide commercial rights to the closed-circuit distribution of the "Manny Pacquiao v. Shane Mosley, WBO World Welterweight Championship Fight" Program ("the Program"), which was telecast nationwide on Saturday, May 7, 2011. 

In five separate but similar complaints, J&J Sports has alleged such wrongful acts as interception, reception, publication, divulgence, display, exhibition, and tortious conversion of the Program.  The claims have been made both against the restaurants and as personal liability claims against the owners.  The five restaurants that have been sued are: Fandango's Night Club, La Favorita Mexican Restaurant, El Rey Del Taco Mexican Restaurant, Taqueria Night Club and Costa Brava Mexican Restaurant.  Of these, at least one, Fandango's Night Club, has been sued before under similar circumstances.

Each group of defendants has been accused of violating 47 U.S.C. § 605 and 47 U.S.C. § 553.  Each complaint also lists a count of conversion.  Among its assertions of wrongdoing, J&J Sports has alleged interception under 47 U.S.C. 605, which is a different cause of action from copyright infringement. The interception claim has a two-year statute of limitations, which explains why the complaints were filed on May 6, 2013.

The complaints seek statutory damages of $100,000 for each violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605; $10,000 for each violation of 47 U.S.C. § 553; $50,000 for each willful violation of 47 U.S.C. § 553; costs and attorney fees.

In 2011, J&J Sports filed 708 lawsuits.  We have blogged before about J&J Sports here, here and here.

Practice Tip: All of these lawsuits were filed on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the program that the defendants are alleged to have illegally broadcast.  When Congress passed the Cable Communication Act, a statute of limitations was not included.  Some federal courts have determined that a two-year statute of limitation is appropriate while other federal courts have used a three-year statute of limitations.

Overhauser Law Offices, the publisher of this website, has represented several hundred persons and businesses accused of infringing satellite signals.

Case number 1:13-cv-00736-SEB-TAB has been assigned to The Honorable Judge Sarah Evans Barker and Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker.

Case number 1:13-cv-00738-RLY-MJD has been assigned to The Honorable Chief Judge Richard L. Young and Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore.

Case number 1:13-cv-00741-SEB-DKL has been assigned to The Honorable Judge Sarah Evans Barker and Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue.

Case number 1:13-cv-00742-TWP-DML has been assigned to The Honorable Judge Tanya Walton Pratt and Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch.

Case number 1:13-cv-00743-SEB-DKL has been assigned to The Honorable Judge Sarah Evans Barker and Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue

J&J Sports v Aquilar - Complaint