United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
J & J Sports Productions, Inc., is a corporation that
distributes and licenses sporting events to commercial
locations. Plaintiff held the exclusive distribution rights
to the broadcast of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny
Pacquiao, a boxing match that took place on May 2, 2015.
Plaintiff has sued defendants-a bar/restaurant and its
owner-under 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605 for unlawfully
intercepting plaintiff's broadcast of the boxing match
and exhibiting it to customers of the bar/restaurant without
have entirely failed to plead or otherwise defend against
plaintiff's complaint, and their defaults were entered on
May 30, 2018. Doc. #12. Plaintiff has now moved for default
judgment and seeks statutory damages in the amount of $10,
000, enhanced statutory damages in the amount of $40, 000,
and an award of attorney's fees and costs. In support of
its motion, plaintiff has submitted affidavits, a licensing
agreement, advertisements, a report documenting
defendants' broadcast of the event, and a billing record
of attorney's fees and costs. After review of all
materials submitted by plaintiff, I conclude that default
judgment shall enter in the amount of $9, 350 with an
additional $5, 687.50 of attorney's fees and $615 of
is a California corporation specializing in licensing and
promoting closed-circuit sporting event broadcasts
(pay-per-view programming) to restaurants, bars, casinos, and
other such establishments. Plaintiff held the exclusive
distribution rights to the boxing match Floyd Mayweather,
Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao and all undercard bouts airing
May 2, 2015.
Peter Oddo, Sr. is the sole member and manager of defendant
Pistol Pete's Bar & Grill (Pistol Pete's).
Defendants did not contract with or pay plaintiff to license
the boxing match on May 2, 2015. Nevertheless, defendants
accessed the event, charged a $10 cover fee for patrons to
view it, and aired the match in their restaurant before
between 32 and 38 customers. The event was also advertised on
the restaurant's Facebook page.
became aware of defendants' actions through one of the
independent auditors it employs to investigate establishments
that intercept and exhibit plaintiff's programming
without authorization. According to plaintiff, it is not
possible to accidentally or mistakenly intercept
plaintiff's programming. “Signal pirates”
intentionally access the programming without contracting with
plaintiff, using methods like acquiring an illegal decryption
or descrambling device, splicing a cable signal from a
neighbor, or misrepresenting the commercial establishment as
a residence in order to pay the residential pay-per-view
filed this action on February 8, 2018, alleging violations of
the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 605, and the Cable
and Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act, 47
U.S.C. § 553. Plaintiff successfully served defendants
on March 12, 2018. Defendants, however, never answered or
otherwise appeared in the action, and on May 30, 2018, the
Court entered default against defendants. Plaintiff filed an
unopposed motion for default judgment on June 8, 2018.
Plaintiff moves for statutory damages in the amount of $10,
000, an additional $40, 000 in enhanced statutory damages,
and an award of attorney's fees and costs.
is an ancient common law axiom that a defendant who defaults
thereby admits all well-pleaded factual allegations contained
in the complaint.” City of New York v. Mickalis
Pawn Shop, LLC, 645 F.3d 114, 137 (2d Cir. 2011)
(internal quotations and citations omitted). Nevertheless, a
district court is “required to determine whether the
[plaintiff's] allegations establish [the defendants']
liability as a matter of law.” Ibid. Following
such a determination, the district court must also determine
the amount of damages to be awarded; to do so, it may conduct
a hearing or it may make such a finding on the basis of
documentary evidence if damages are ascertainable with
reasonable certainty. See Credit Lyonnais Sec. (USA),
Inc. v. Alcantara, 183 F.3d 151, 155 (2d Cir. 1999).
complaint alleges that defendants violated 47 U.S.C.
§§ 553 and 605. Both of these provisions prohibit
the unauthorized reception of cable programming. See
Int'l Cablevision, Inc. v. Sykes, 75 F.3d 123,
129-30 (2d Cir. 1996); Kingsvision Pay-Per-View Corp.,
Ltd. v. Keane, 2006 WL 1704474, at *2-*3 (E.D.N.Y.
2006). Section 553 applies only to cable transmissions, while
§ 605 applies to both cable and satellite transmissions.
Ibid. Because plaintiff has elected to pursue
damages under § 605 only, I will assess defendants'
liability under that section.
undisputed, unopposed allegations establish defendants'
liability for violating 47 U.S.C. § 605. Plaintiff had
exclusive distribution rights to the boxing match at issue.
Pistol Pete's was not authorized to show the match but
did so through one of a number of illicit means on the night
of May 2, 2015, airing the event before about 35 restaurant
patrons who paid a $10 cover fee. Plaintiff has adequately
demonstrated that Pistol Pete's violated 47 U.S.C. §
allegations are also sufficient to establish the individual
liability of defendant Peter Oddo, Sr. “Establishing
individual liability under Section 605(a) requires a showing
either of contributory infringement, which arises when the
individual authorize[d] the violations, or vicarious
liability, which arises when the individual had a right and
ability to supervise the infringing activities and had an
obvious and direct financial interest in the exploitation of
[the] copyrighted materials.” See J & J Sports
Prods., Inc. v. Tellez, 2011 WL 6371521, at *3 (E.D.N.Y.
2011). Plaintiff has alleged here that Oddo “was an
officer, director, shareholder, member and/or principal of
the entity owning and operating the Establishment;  had a
right and ability to supervise the activities of the
Establishment; and  had an obvious and direct financial
interest in the ...