Thomas John Holland of the Goat Inn in Sheerness, Kent in the southeast of England has been convicted of three offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission, in this case, Sky televised football matches, with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge. Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.
Holland was ordered to pay full costs of £2,804.28 (€3,104.60) and £20 Victim Surcharge, totalling £2,824.28. In addition, the court imposed an 18-month Conditional Discharge.
UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) brought the criminal prosecution on Friday August 2nd at Maidstone Magistrates Court against the licensees for showing Sky Sports to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place. Licensees that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk similar action or even a criminal prosecution.
“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.”
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 visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK.