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Irish licensees fined for Sky Sports infringements  

June 21, 2018

By Colin Mann

Following successful legal action taken by Sky, three licensees in the Republic of Ireland have been found guilty for infringing Sky’s copyright by showing Sky Sports programming in their premises without a commercial contract with Sky.

  • Aaron Sharkey, licensee of The Moylurg Inn, Bridge Street in Boyle.
  • Eamon Cliffe, licensee of The Railway Bar, Mill Street, Cappoquin in County Waterford
  • Michael Foley, licensee of Talk of the Town, Main Street, Kiltegan in County Wicklow

As a result of these civil proceedings against the licensees, Sharkey has been ordered to pay damages and costs in the region of €20,000. Cliffe has been ordered to pay damages and costs in the region of €16,500 and Foley, licensee has been ordered to pay damages and costs in the region of €17,000.

A permanent court injunction prohibiting Sharkey and Cliffe from showing Sky programming in the premises without the correct commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business has also been awarded, along with an order to give up any devices on which Sky’s copyright could be further breeched.

A permanent court injunction preventing Foley from infringing Sky’s copyright was also granted for the Talk of the Town and all other licensed premises where he holds a liquor licence.

Sky brought these proceedings against the licensees for infringing its copyright by showing Sky Sports to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place. Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in Ireland via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business or Virgin Media. Licensees that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk similar action or even a criminal prosecution.

“These rulings demonstrate the seriousness of the issue of showing Sky without a commercial agreement and highlight the consequences of televising Sky’s content illegally,” noted George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky.“Illegal broadcasting is a serious issue that is damaging to the pub industry, which is why we’re committed to protecting Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity. These cases are just the latest in our efforts to ensure they are not left short changed.”

These successful cases come from Sky’s instruction of intellectual property experts Eugene F Collins and form 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 has made arrangements to visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across Ireland during 2018.


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