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Sports Promoters Unleash Piracy Lawsuits Against Bay Area Businesses

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Sports Promoters Unleash Piracy Lawsuits Against Bay Area Businesses

Postby sunnyd » Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:52 pm

Story :

Inside the rustic Seabreeze Tavern along the beach in Aptos, the remote controls for three TVs rest on the bar. Owner and manager Rich McInnis leaves them there for the "regulars," who have carte blanche to choose what they want to watch as long as they keep drinking beer.

One night in April 2009, a click from one of those remotes landed McInnis in a legal quagmire over piracy accusations that is repeating itself in federal courts across the country.

A tavern regular decided to order a United Fighting Championship bout, without the Seabreeze paying the commercial fee for a pay-per-view event. McInnis wound up months later staring at a lawsuit that asked him to fork over $160,000 in damages for an event that ordinarily would cost about $800.

From bakeries and taquerias to corner bars and mom-and-pop restaurants, sports promoters of pay-per-view events have unleashed an avalanche of such lawsuits from San Francisco to Arkansas. They argue that business owners are sapping their profits by stealing the televised signals outright or failing to pay the commercial fee to show an event that's typically 20 times the amount to order at home.

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