Sunday, November 10, 2013

NFL v. McBee & Bruno’s, Inc. case brief

NFL v. McBee & Bruno’s, Inc. case brief summary
792 F.2d 726 (1986)

Defendants challenged a ruling by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri that entered a permanent injunction against them for violations of the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C.S. § 101 et seq. and the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C.S. § 705.

Plaintiffs, the National Football League and one of its teams, alleged that defendants, restaurant owners, violated plaintiffs' copyright and violated federal communications law by broadcasting games via satellite in blacked out areas.


  • The court rejected all of defendants' defenses, and affirmed the lower court's injunction enjoining them from showing future games. 
  • The court held the injunction was supported by a showing of irreparable harm since harm was presumed when a holder's rights were infringed. 
  • The court also held that defendants' display of the games did not fall under an exception regarding common use since satellite dishes were not commonly found in private homes and that they infringed despite their use of the "clean feed" to the satellite. 
  • Finally, the court held that an injunction could issue against broadcasting future games since defendants were on notice of the dates of the games and their blacked-out status in surrounding areas.

The injunction was upheld since irreparable harm was shown to plaintiffs, no copyright exception applied, and defendants were on notice of the dates of future games and their blacked-out status.

Suggested Study Aid For Sports Law

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