£8k+ fine for Sky Sports piracy
February 3, 2023
By Colin Mann
Clinton Hartland, licensee of The Watering Trough pub in Walsall, West Midlands has been found guilty in his absence of two offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission. In this case, Hartland televised Sky Sports football matches, with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable commercial subscription charge. Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.
Hartland was ordered to pay total fines and costs of £8,030.78 (€8,990).
UK intellectual property protection body Fact brought the criminal prosecution at Dudley Magistrates Court against the licensee, for showing Sky Sports to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place. Business premises that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk similar action, or even civil legal action.
“Our aim is to help create an effective deterrent to licensees who endeavour to fraudulently show Sky content in their premises, and FACT will continue to protect the intellectual property rights of its clients by pursuing those who continue to break the law,” affirmed Keiron Sharp, FACT CEO.
“Now, more than ever, it is important that we protect the investment of our customers,” declared Sara Stewart, Commercial Compliance Lead at Sky Business. “Businesses that choose to show Sky Sports illegally are directly impacting our legitimate customers’, who unfairly lose business to these venues.”
“We are committed to pursuing those televising content illegally, and actively visit thousands of pubs every season to monitor misuse. Those found in breach of Sky’s copyright will be held accountable – and may face substantial penalties, including losing their personal licence.”
Working with FACT is a key part of Sky’s commitment to protecting pubs and clubs that 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.