The entertainment industry has struggled to keep up with technology and the growth of internet sites which make copyrighted material available for public use without charge. The music industry won a round in this continuing struggle when a federal judge shut down the popular music swapping site Napster, noting that the site encourages “wholesale infringement” of music industry copyrights.
A Federal Court Judge in New York now has levied a significant monetary judgment against a person who viewed two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events on his home computer without paying the pay-per-view fee charged for the two events. In Zuffa LLC v. Pryce, the Court found that an individual watched the two UFC events on his home computer through the internet site Greenfeedz. Zuffa, the plaintiff and owner of the copyrights to UFC broadcasts, brought suit after it apparently obtained IP addresses of unauthorized viewers through subpoena in another federal court lawsuit. Zuffa then traced the use of Pryce’s home computer to his IP address at Time Warner.
The Court awarded $6,000 in damages and $5,948 in attorneys’ fees for the copyright violations. The per event pay-per-view fee was $45.