Two bar licensees from Wembley in North London have been found guilty in their absence of a collective eleven offences each of dishonest reception of a television transmission by showing Sky Sports to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky.
Rakesh Patel (Manager of Diu Bar) and Mineshkumer Valgi (Designated Premises Supervisor) were each found guilty of four offences. Both were ordered to pay total fines and costs of £3,642 (€4,161). Priteche Velgi (Sole Director of Diu Bar) was found guilty of three offences and ordered to pay total fines and costs of £2,906. The grand total awarded in fines and costs is £10,190.
UK intellectual property protection body FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) brought the criminal prosecution March 2th 2018 at Willesden Magistrates Court against the licensees 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 similar action or even a criminal prosecution.
“These cases should send a clear warning to pub owners and licensees who show Sky broadcasts without a commercial subscription,” stated 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.”
“It’s important to us that businesses are aware of the consequences of showing Sky Sports illegally – it is a serious issue that is damaging to the pub industry, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties,” warned George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky.
“We actively visit thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing and continue to support FACT’s work to protect hardworking Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity”.
This successful case comes from FACT’s instruction to Russell-Cooke LLP. 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 this year.