Reality TV News
Dallas jury orders ex-Cheaters host to pay damages for posting clips online
A U.S. district court jury in Dallas has ordered a former host of reality show Cheaters to fork over $390,000, after he posted clips of the show online without permission from the production company.
Bobby Goldstein Productions, Inc. (BGP), creators of Cheaters and Cheaters Uncensored, were awarded the settlement in a copyright infringement lawsuit against American Television Distribution (ATVD), a company owned by former Cheaters host Thomas Habeeb, AKA Tommy Grand.
According to a release, an agreement between Goldstein and Habeeb gave Habeeb the right to secure pay-per-view contracts for Cheaters Uncensored, while a separate agreement made Goldstein the sole owner of Cheaters copyrights.
But testimony in the trial revealed that, shortly after the agreement was reached, someone at ATVD created YouTube and Dailymotion accounts and began posting trailers of Cheaters episodes.
The jury determined that ATVD should have known that the episodes were copyrighted.
"The agreement allowed Mr. Habeeb to secure pay-per-view contracts for Cheaters Uncensored episodes. But his company was never granted permission to post those copyrighted materials on any online video-sharing platform," says attorney Jeff Bragalone of Bragalone Olejko Saad, PC.
Bragalone Oleko Saad represented BGP ins Bobby Goldstein Productions, Inc. v. Thomas L. Habeeb et al,case number 3:21-cv-01924-G, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and not uncoincidentally also sent out this release.
BGP sent a cease-and-desist letter to ATVD in April 2021 and the trailers were removed from all online platforms and the ATVD website by July 2021.
The jury ordered ATVD to pay $15,000 in statutory damages for each of the 26 episodes used in the trailers.
The greater crime is that the release makes no mention of Joey Greco, who was unquestionably Cheaters' best host ever.