Joe Hand Promotions Sues Lawrenceburg, Indiana Bar for Showing UFC Fight Without Authorization

Indianapolis – Last week, copyright attorneys for Joe Hand Promotions, a Pennsylvania corporation, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the owners of an Indiana bar who alleged displayed an Ultimate Fight Championship fight without authorization.

Ursula and Guenter Grote operate the Grote Trading Post and Gus’s Sports Bar in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Joe Hand Promotions owns exclusive rights to distribute the Ultimate Fight Championship television broadcast on March 3, 2009, UFC broadcast #96. The complaint, filed in the Southern District of Indiana, alleges that the Grotes displayed the fight in their bar without authorization from Joe Hand Promotions. According to the complaint, Joe Hand’s copyright attorneys are unsure whether the Grote’s used satellite or cable television network to show the fight. The copyright attorneys therefore allege that the Grotes violated either 47 U.S.C. § 605(a) or 47 U.S.C. § 553. Joe Hand is seeking damages of up to $110,000, costs and attorneys’ fees.

Practice Tip: Most Satellite signal providers employ encryption to limit reception to certain groups, such as paying subscribers. If an individual has a “residential” agreement with a satellite provider, this does not give them the right to display the performance in a public setting like a bar or restaurant. This is the third copyright infringement lawsuit making similar claims that Joe Hand Promotions has filed in the Southern District of Indiana since 2010.

The case has been assigned to Chief Judge Richard L. Young and Magistrate William G. Hussmann. The docket number is 4:11-CV-016-RLY-WGH.

Complaint-Joe Hand v. Grote

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