Licensees fined for Sky Sport piracy
May 30, 2023
By Colin Mann
Barry Stapleton and Michaela Stapleton, the Licensees of the Devonport Arms in Paignton, Devon in the southwest of England, have been found guilty, in their absence, of three offences related to the dishonest broadcast of Sky televised programming.
UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT brought the criminal prosecution against the Licensees at Plymouth Magistrates Court, which established that the Licensees broadcast Sky football matches without a valid commercial viewing agreement with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable commercial subscription charge. Sky Sports content is only available to licensed premises through authorised commercial viewing agreements from Sky Business.
As a consequence of the verdict, Barry Stapleton has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £3,920 (€4,530), while Michaela Stapleton was ordered to pay fines and costs amounting to £4,900. Business premises that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk facing similar action or even civil legal action.
“This verdict further strengthens FACT’s commitment to protecting the rights of our broadcast partners,” declared Kieron Sharp, FACT CEO. “By pursuing those who engage in fraudulent practices and unlawfully showcase Sky content, FACT aims to create an effective deterrent to other licensees who may consider such actions.”
“Now, more than ever, it is important that we protect the investment of our customers,” asserted Sara Stewart, Head of Compliance 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.