Bar owner sued by UFC for PPV piracy

June 23, 2011

The Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star reports that a local bar owner is being sued by the UFC for allegedly pirating UFC 128 in March. The UFC is seeking damages of $260K plus attorney fees.

Via the Journal Star:

“It is logical to conclude that (the bar) either used an illegal satellite receiver, misrepresented their business establishment as a residence or removed an authorized receiver from one location to a different business location in order to intercept Plaintiff’s broadcast,” the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Lincoln says.

(H/t: MMA Mania)

Payout Perspective:

There is a reason the UFC puts up a blackscreen warning with a stern voice reading it before each PPV. The UFC has been agressively enforcing its rights against PPV pirates and this lawsuit is another example. While this may seem like a case of picking on a small business owner, the bar was making money from alcohol sales from patrons coming in to watch the fight. Thus, the UFC was indirectly (or directly) helping the bar owner make money. While there is the opposing argument that the UFC’s money could be better spent in other areas rather than go after every bar with an illegal feed, the lawsuit is protecting the UFC’s business and making a  statement to others out there thinking of stealing its PPV. This will serve as a deterrent to others thinking of hosting a UFC PPV without paying the fee.

7 Responses to “Bar owner sued by UFC for PPV piracy”

  1. Ghost Search (SteveW) on June 23rd, 2011 11:40 PM

    UFC is doing this to scare off other bars from stealing their events. The law is the law and the bar knew they were breaking the law by showing the event without the UFC’s consent.
    Wonder what kind of fine they will get in the end?

  2. Machiel Van on June 24th, 2011 10:53 AM

    Broadcasting UFC events at bars is absolutely making money directly from the UFC product. Zuffa will at the very least recoup most of their legal fees, depending on how much the bar is worth. They should just tell the owner to hand it over, and create the first UFC bar! 😛

    UFC Gym, UFC Sports Bar, and UFC Quick Mart stocked with Xyience, Bud Light, BSN supplements and plenty of UFC ads!

  3. dave on June 24th, 2011 1:56 PM

    Protecting your IP is one thing. Trying to destroy a small business and drive it into bankruptcy (during horrible economic times, no less) is another. UFC looks like a bully here. A few thousand would be a more reasonable, and survivable, amount.

    Many, if not most, bars are sole-proprietor business. Which means the owner’s personal assets are at stake. So it’s not just the bar being put out of business, but also the owners being driven into personal bankruptcy. A punishment that is wildly disproportionate to the alleged crime.

    How many people watched it at the bar? A couple dozen? 50? 100? How many millions of views have illegal UFC videos on YouTube gotten? Google has done a million times more to allow UFC piracy than one bar owner could ever do.

    UFC seems vindictive and cruel in this scenario.

  4. BrainSmasher on June 24th, 2011 7:37 PM

    Lets not forget the cover charge these bars get from the people who come to just see the fights. I own a gambling parlor that is officially classified as a bar. DTV charges you based on how many customers your establishment can hold. The price for me to order a UFC was about $1000 if i remember correctly.

    I never go to bars but have been a few times to watch a UFC. Before and after the fights the bar is empty, during it is standing room only. a couple hundred people at $5 a head pays for the PPV. Now you have those people all buying over priced drinks. UFC is big business. That is why places like Hooters are showing UFC PPVs. It gets people through the door.

  5. Melissa on October 27th, 2011 9:01 PM

    Why wouldn’t this be considered a Monopoly? One company holds the exclusive rights to broadcast; no entry. No competition, no substitute products, and price fixing.

  6. Jack Smith on November 27th, 2011 3:10 PM

    @Melissa: Because they are broadcasting THEIR OWN product. They don’t have exclusive rights for every broadcast to a bar (sports, boxing, etc). What you are saying is like saying Apple has a monopoly because its the only one who can make iPhones or use iOS in devices.

    There is certainly entry and competition – you have boxing, major league sports, WWE, and many other PPV competitors and substitutes. There is also no price fixing occuring as there is no one else that can broadcast UFC fights for them to have a price-fixing agreement with.

  7. ZomBilly on November 16th, 2012 1:05 PM

    I would be curious to see if the UFC makes any money on this if all the bars were to abide by this law because as I see it these people are just going to get together into with her friends and split the cost of a single pay-per-view admission fee because I know for instance me I’m not to go out and spend 60 bucks for me to watch it by myself. I’ve always got together with my friends and people Phichit as again you know you spend about 10 bucks and you get to watch the UFC fight. They are definitely not losing money by me going to a bar to watch UFC fights and paying the bar $10 to see them. And if I had my choice I would encourage my friends to go to the bar instead of meeting at a private residence that way it’s more like a stadium everyone’s cheering and having a good time

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