A lawsuit has been filed due to a bootlegged airing of a recent Ultimate Fighting Championship. Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. purchased the exclusive rights to distribute the fight between the champion and the second-ranked fighter. This fight was viewed as one of the greatest in the history of martial arts. The fight took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with the reigning champion winning again.

The commercial litigation suit that Joe Hand Promotions filed against a bar alleges that the bar owner violated two federal laws. He illegally converted the cable signal to broadcast the suit to its patrons and attempted to have a “commercial advantage or private financial gain.” The bar owner is now facing federal criminal charges and a maximum fine of $150,000.

Commercial venues throughout the United States, such as racetracks, bars and casinos, all entered into sublicensing agreements with Joe Hand Promotions so the popular fight could be shown at their establishments. The official Joe Hand Promotions website listed the locations where the fight was authorized to be shown. The bar in question also could have signed a sublicensing agreement with Joe Hand Promotions. The approximate sublicensing fee was $900 to $1,500, which was based on the number of seats at his bar. It also would have been legal for the bar owner to charge his patrons a small fee to recoup his costs to air the prominent fight.

In this commercial litigation suit, it seems that willful violation of the law may be far more costly for the bar owner than the small fee involved to show the martial arts championship event legally at his establishment.

Source: The Register-Guard, “Bar owner sued for showing fight,” Karen McCowan, Aug. 18, 2012

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