A pub licensee from Huddersfield in the north of England has pleaded guilty to six offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission by showing Sky Sports football matches to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky.
Casa Events Ltd, premises licensee of The Casa, Huddersfield , was fined £2,500 (€2,800) on each offence, plus ordered to pay a £200 victim surcharge and costs of £9,131.21 making a total of £24,331.21.
UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) brought the criminal prosecution on January 10th 2018 at Kirklees Magistrates Court against Casa Events Ltd for showing Sky Sports to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place. Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business. Licensees that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk criminal prosecution.
“These cases should send a clear warning to pub owners and licensees who show Sky broadcasts without a commercial subscription,” declared Stephen Gerrard, Prosecuting Manager, FACT. “If convicted, fines for this offence are unlimited and you may have to pay substantial legal costs, as well as putting yourself at risk of having your licence suspended or revoked.”
“We take piracy very seriously and remain committed to protecting our legitimate Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity,” added George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky. “Those licensees who choose to televise content illegally should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties and a criminal conviction. The only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in licensed premises in the UK is via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky.”
This prosecution was brought by FACT. Working with FACT forms a key part of Sky’s commitment to protecting pubs and clubs 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 has made arrangements to visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK during 2018.