The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Gorman United States Magistrate Judge
The Order that was entered in this case on March 12, 2009 (Doc. #14) is hereby WITHDRAWN and replaced by this amended Order. The parties have consented to have this case heard to judgment by a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and the District Judge has referred the case to me. Now before the Court is the Plaintiff's motion for default judgment (#12). The motion is granted to the extent stated herein.
The complaint in this case alleges causes of action arising under 47 U.S.C. § § 553 and 605. This Court therefore has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this dispute pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Venue is proper in this court because the Defendant is a business located in Atkinson, IL, which is in Henry County, a county within the Central District of Illinois, Rock Island Division. All alleged statutory violations occurred at that business location.
Plaintiff Joe Hand Productions, Inc. (hereinafter "Joe Hand") purchased and is the owner of certain rights allowing it to distribute to commercial establishments the closed-circuit broadcast of "the Ultimate Fighting Championship" that was to air on June 7, 2008. Joe Hand then marketed the sub-licensing of the broadcast in the State of Illinois, charging a fee for that sub-license. Persons paying the fee obtained the right to broadcast the program, either by closed circuit television or by encrypted satellite signal. The fee starts at $750 and ranges upward from there, depending on the number of viewers and, in some cases, the type of establishment. A $750 fee covers up to 50 viewers.
Based on past experience, Joe Hand was aware than many of its licensed broadcasts were "pirated" and then shown by unlicensed establishments. There are several ways to pirate a closed-circuit broadcast. First, a "blackbox" can be purchased and installed on a cable TV line; this blackbox unscrambles the reception. Second, if a commercial establishment misrepresents itself as a residential property, the "pay per view" can be purchased for $25-50, much less than a sub-license. Third, an illegal cable drop or splice can be made from premises adjacent to the establishment, which would divert the signal to the commercial establishment. Finally, these same or similar actions can be used with respect to a satellite system.
In order to locate and prosecute the unlicensed broadcasts, Joe Hand hired Signal Auditing Inc., which used independent auditors in an effort to identify unlicensed establishments airing this (and other) broadcasts. The auditors were provided with a list of establishments that had paid the fee and were thus authorized to broadcast the program.
Cat's Bar did not purchase a sub-license from Joe Hand. One of Signal Auditing's auditors, whose affidavit has been submitted, visited Cat's Bar on June 7 at about 8:30 p.m. The auditor was not charged a cover charge to enter the bar. He observed 3 television sets showing a "clips/ highlights between fights" to 8 bar patrons. The auditor was not able to determine whether the broadcast was made possible by a cable interception device or via a satellite interception device. An affidavit from the auditor has been submitted.
Joe Hand brought this action against Cat's Bar, alleging violation of the Communications Act of 1934 as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605. Defendant was served with process but has failed to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint. Defendant was found in default on February 11, 2009. Plaintiff seeks damages as follows:
1. under 47 U.S.C. 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II), up to $10,000
2. under 47 U.S.C. 605(e)(3)(C)(ii), up to $100,000 for enhanced damages for willful ...