How Did they Find Me?

Posted on June 19, 2015 by Matthew Paré

A very common question that comes up in TV signal piracy cases is how did they find me?  The establishment may essentially be in the middle of nowhere, with only a handful of people there, and shocked when they receive a demand letter or lawsuit regarding the alleged unauthorized exhibition of TV programming.  This article explains how the system works and how the investigators found out.

For a typical boxing fight available on pay-per-view on TV the commercial distribution rights are purchased by a company such as J & J Sports Promotions, Inc.  That company then has the exclusive rights to sell businesses the license to display the program in commercial establishments.  For the average fight there are approximately 3,000 – 4,000 commercial establishments throughout the entire United States that have paid J & J Sports Promotions, Inc. the necessary license fee.  If a business, any business, is not on that customer list for a particular program and the business shows the fight they are likely to be caught.

The investigators hired by companies such as J & J Sports Productions, Inc. and their attorney are paid approximately $600.00 for every place that they catch.  This provides a big financial incentive for the investigators to be aggressive and thorough about catching every possible place, even if it is in a very rural location or a tiny hole in the wall type of establishment.  Often times before the event is on TV the investigators will call around to local business and ask if they will be showing the fight to narrow down the target list on fight night.  Looking on social media on the internet is also a common way to narrow down the target list for the investigators on fight night.  Lastly, even if they do not call ahead and there is no internet advertising, the investigators will canvass a certain area in their local town.  Because the legitimate customer list is known ahead of time and J & J Sports Productions, Inc. has the exclusive license, any establishment that is not on that list is fair game.

When the investigator goes out to the place of business they will make personal observations that will be documented in their affidavit, and typically record a short surveillance video.  Strangely, the plaintiffs in TV signal piracy cases do not typically disclose this evidence before a lawsuit is filed, but will be required to after a lawsuit has commenced.  The investigator’s affidavit is one of the most important pieces of evidence in the case, and although the surveillance video is often helpful it is not necessary for the plaintiff to have video surveillance evidence because testimony itself is a form of admissible evidence.

If you receive a demand letter from an attorney accusing you of showing an event on TV without authorization, the claimant and its attorney almost certainly have the evidence to back it up.  The investigators are highly motivated to document as many commercial establishments as possible that have shown the TV program without authorization.  No matter how small or remote your location is, there is a good chance you will be caught if showing a pay-per-view event in a commercial establishment without paying the correct commercial license fee.

If you find yourself in this situation, contact attorney Matthew Pare at 619-869-4999.  If you received a demand letter or TV signal piracy lawsuit you are facing a very difficult legal problem and will require the assistance of an experienced counsel who specializes in this area of the law.  Attorney Matthew Pare has defended more TV signal piracy cases than anyone in the country and is the best person to represent you in your case.

TV Signal Piracy

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