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Pub fined £50k for illegal Sky Sports football

A pub landlady in the UK Midlands city of Birmingham has been fined £50,000 (€58,940) after being caught illegally showing football on Sky Sports, having earlier received a final warning for committing an identical offence. She was also told to pay £24,000 costs for breaching copyright by showing the Premier League games.

Sky Sports brought civil proceedings against Susan French, manager of The New Inn, Coventry Road, Yardley, for infringing its copyright by showing football games to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place.

The ruling follows a court hearing in November 2015 where French admitted the same offence of broadcasting unauthorised Sky Sports programming in the premises. She was warned at the time that she would be fined £50,000 if she repeated the Sky Sports broadcasts.

Nevertheless, she committed further breaches on July 19 this year and was arrested at her pub and was taken to the High Court in London for a hearing before the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court the following day.

The case was adjourned until July 26 where she was found to have again breached Sky’s copyright and was ordered to pay damages of £50,000 and £24,000 in costs. French has 28 days to pay the damages or incur interest charges for late payment. She also has 14 days to pay the costs.

“Orders like this result from some licensees thinking they are above the law,” declared Alison Dolan, deputy managing director at Sky Business. “The law is clear – if you choose to televise content illegally then you run the very real risk of being caught and facing substantial penalties or even arrest. The risks are not worth running.”

“Illegal broadcasting without a valid subscription is damaging to the sector, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught.”

“We’re committed to protecting Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity and this case is just the latest in our efforts to ensure they are not short changed.”

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