Two licensees from Skelmersdale in the northwest of England have been found guilty of ten offices of dishonest reception of a television transmission by showing Sky Sports to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky.
Sara Jones and Karl Jones of the Old Toby Inn in Skelmersdale have been ordered to pay £10,908 (€12,156) after being convicted in their absences of the ten offences.
UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) brought the criminal prosecution on August 29th at Preston Magistrates Court against the licensees for showing Sky Sports to customers without having a valid commercial viewing agreement in place. Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.
“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.”
“These are the latest in a long line of criminal cases FACT has successfully prosecuted resulting in big fines, demonstrating the seriousness of fraudulently screening TV programmes,” stated George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky. “The law is clear – the only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in licensed premises in the UK is through a valid commercial viewing agreement with Sky.”
“We remain committed to visiting thousands of pubs, as well as investigating suppliers, to protect our customers and ensure they are not left short-changed by illegal activity. If you choose to televise content illegally then you run the very real risk of being caught and having legal action taken against you – the risks are not worth running.”
These successful cases were prosecuted 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 this year.