The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas Griesa, Senior District Judge
This action is brought by plaintiff as broadcast licensee of the November 11, 2000 Lewis/Tua Boxing Match against numerous defendants. The lawsuit alleges that defendants infringed plaintiff's right to distribute the event, in violation of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, 47 U.S.C. § 553 and 605. These sections create a private right of action for the unauthorized interception of cable and radio communications.
Charles Colbert and his business, the Charles Colbert Barber Shop, are among the named defendants. Colbert appears pro se for both himself and his shop. Colbert has submitted various papers to the court, which will be construed as an answer and motion for summary judgment. [ Page 2]
The motion for summary judgment is denied.
Plaintiff is a Pennsylvania corporation engaged in the business of marketing and distributing broadcasts of subscription television events via a service known as "Pay-Per-View". Plaintiff contracted to purchase the right to sub-license the exhibition of the Lewis/Tua boxing match held on November 11, 2000 to commercial establishments in a certain geographic area. Colbert's business is located within that area.
Prior to the November 11 broadcast, plaintiff sold the right to exhibit the broadcast to various bars, restaurants and other commercial establishments. Plaintiff also hired "independent auditors" to frequent businesses in the area on November 11 to determine whether the boxing match was exhibited by businesses that had not purchased exhibition rights from plaintiff.
Plaintiff did not sell Colbert or his shop the right to exhibit the broadcast. Plaintiff alleges that defendant nevertheless exhibited the event either with the aid of an unauthorized device to decode the television signal or by improperly acquiring a residential account to receive the signal at a commercial establishment. Plaintiff provides an affidavit from Greg Purdie, an [ Page 3]
independent auditor, who states that he observed eight people watching the boxing match at Colbert's shop.
Colbert states in his "Answer/Motion of Dismissal" that he was not at the barber shop at the time stated in Purdie's affidavit. Colbert states that he "did not show or invite anyone to watch the fight" at his shop. He further states that he rents space in his shop to "independent contractors." Colbert states that he "did not authorize anyone to show the fight" and "did not promote or charge for the fight." Colbert has also submitted a sworn statement in which he states that when he left his shop on November 11, two men remained "looking at a [sic] old fight."
Plaintiff's investigator claims to have observed the Lewis/Tua boxing match being exhibited at Colbert's business. Colbert claims that a different boxing match was being shown, and that this was done by independent contractors renting his place of business while he was gone. Clearly there are material facts in dispute.
The motion of the Colbert defendants for summary judgment is denied. [ Page 4]
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