TV distributor sues Pizzeria for broadcasting unlicensed football match

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A complaint filed in the Central District of California claims that a Culver City restaurant illegally broadcast a soccer game between the Brazilian and Bolivian national teams on October 9, 2020. According to Tuesday complaint, the plaintiff, Innovative Sports Management Inc., carrying on business as Integrated Sports Media (ISM), obtained the only national commercial distribution of the game, including interviews and commentary.

The case names the restaurant and two controlling members / directors as defendants in the lawsuit. ISM, a commercial distributor and licensor of sporting events, alleges that after obtaining exclusive distribution, it entered into sublicense agreements with various commercial entities, including some in California, which would publicly feature the game in their respective business establishments.

The complaint explains that the game was created via a satellite uplink and then retransmitted to cable systems and satellite companies, and then to ISM sub-licensees. Bella Vista Brazilian Gourmet Pizza was not a bona fide sublicensee, however, and instead intercepted and displayed the game without permission.

The complaint sets out four requests for redress, including under 47 USC 605 of the Communications Act for “interception, reception, publication, display, disclosure, display and / or exhibition not authorized by each of the defendants … done deliberately and for the purpose of direct and / or indirect commercial advantage and / or gain private finance ”. The lawsuit also makes a claim under consumer protection and competition law for television and cable, one for conversion, and one for violation of California’s unfair competition law.

ISM seeks statutory damages for violation of the two federal laws in the amount of $ 160,000 per defendant, reimbursement of ill-gotten gains, punitive damages, an injunction and the award of its legal fees and costs. reasonable attorneys. ISM is represented by the Law Firms of Thomas P. Riley PC


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