J&J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Mandell Family Ventures L.L.C., et al., No. 13-10485 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
This case involved the rights to broadcast the Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Jr. v. Ricky Watton WBC Welterweight Championship Fight. On appeal, defendants challenged summary judgment in favor of J&J on its Federal Communication Act (FCA) claims pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 553 & 605. J&J alleged that defendants violated sections 553 and 605 by receiving and displaying the fight without first paying a licensing fee to J&J. The court concluded that J&J failed to meet its summary judgment burden under section 553 where there was at least a dispute of material fact as to whether defendants fell into the "safe harbor," that precluded the imposition of liability on the majority of cable recipients - customers of cable providers. This exclusion constrained the reach of the statute by exempting from liability those individuals who receive authorization from a cable operator. The court joined the majority of circuits in holding that section 605 does not encompass the conduct presented here: the receipt or interception of communications by wire from a cable system. The court concluded that the plain language of the statute compelled this interpretation. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded.