The licensees of the Red Bull public house in the Kentish village of Eccles, Jared Macdonnchadha, Richard Rodal and Karen Turner, have been convicted in their absence of three offences each 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.
Turner, the Premises Licence Holder and the Designated Premises Supervisor of the Red Bull was fined £2,500 (€2,822) on the first offence with no separate penalty on the other two offences. In addition, she was ordered to pay costs of £936.76 and a £170 Victim Surcharge, totalling £3,606.76.
Macdonnchadha, the personal and business partner of Turner was fined £2,500 on the first offence with no separate penalty on the other two offences. In addition, he was ordered to pay costs of £936.76 and a £170 Victim Surcharge, totalling £3,606.76.
Rodal, the manager of the Red Bull was fined £2,500 on the first offence with no separate penalty on the other two offences. In addition, he was ordered to pay costs of £936.76 and a £170 Victim Surcharge, totalling £3,606.76.
The grand total of fines and costs awarded in this case totals £10,820.28.
UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) brought the criminal prosecution on September 13th at Maidstone Magistrates Court against the licensee 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.
“Our aim is to help create an effective deterrent to publicans who endeavour to fraudulently show Sky content on their premises and FACT will continue to protect the intellectual property rights of its clients by pursuing those who continue to break the law,” advised Stephen Gerrard, FACT’s Prosecuting Manager.
“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.