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Bar licensee fined for illegal Sky use

September 1, 2015

By Colin Mann

Following a successful prosecution by The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the Premises Licence Holder and Designated Premises Supervisor of sports bar LJ’s in the UK town of Aylesbury has been convicted and ordered to pay more than £6,000 (€8,185) in fines and costs for showing Sky Sports illegally in his premises.

On August 20th 2015 at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court, Ebrahim Rostami of LJ’s was found guilty of five offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission (a Sky televised football match) at the premises with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge. This is contrary to Section 297 (1) of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988. In addition to receiving a criminal conviction, Rostami was ordered to pay a total of £6,072 in fines and costs.

Stephen Gerrard, Prosecuting Manager, FACT, said the case clearly demonstrated that if a licensee shows Sky broadcasts in their premises by any other means than a Sky commercial viewing agreement they will be prosecuted. “If convicted they will receive an unlimited fine and can expect to pay substantial legal costs. Additionally they risk having their Personal Licence suspended or revoke,” he warned.

The conviction was carried out by FACT on behalf of its members and forms a key part of Sky’s commitment to protecting pubs who invest in legitimate Sky Sports subscriptions. Sky is committed to visiting every licensed premises reported by other publicans and/or organisations for illegally showing Sky and will visit more than 700 pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season.

Alison Dolan, Deputy Managing Director at Sky Business, said: “We have had numerous cases in the past year of landlords being fined for this type of fraudulent activity and now, once again this case sends a clear message to publicans – Sky Sports is only available to pubs and clubs in mainland UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky; no other method of showing Sky Sports in licensed premises is legal. We are committed to visiting thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing, as well as investigating suppliers and continuing to support FACT’s work to protect Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity,” she confirmed.

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