Licensees in Stockport and Rutland have been convicted and fined for showing Sky Sports illegally in their premises following successful prosecutions by The Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’).
In the first of the cases, Mr Michael Anthony McNally of The Emigration was convicted after trial at Stockport Magistrates Court of five offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission (a Sky televised football match) at the above licensed premises with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge. This is contrary to Section 297 (1) of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988. In addition to receiving a criminal conviction, Mr. McNally was ordered to pay a total of £4,275 in fines and costs for using a Sky viewing card from the Republic of Ireland to show Sky Sports illegally in the premises.
In a separate case at Leicester Magistrates Court, Mr John Woods of Jinkys was found guilty after trial of four offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission (a Sky televised football match) at the above licensed premises without a commercial viewing agreement with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge, contrary to Section 297 (1) of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988. Mr Woods was ordered to pay £6,877 in fines and costs.
Stephen Gerrard, Prosecuting Manager, FACT said “This case clearly shows that if a licensee shows Sky broadcasts in their premises by any other means than a Sky commercial viewing agreement they will be prosecuted. If convicted they can receive an unlimited fine and should expect to pay substantial legal costs. Additionally they risk having their Personal Licence suspended or revoked.”
This conviction was carried out by FACT on behalf of its members and forms a key part of Sky’s commitment to protecting pubs 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 will visit more than 700 pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season.
Alison Dolan, Deputy Managing Director at Sky Business, said: “Illegal broadcasting is a serious issue that is very close to the hearts of our legitimate Sky pub customers. It creates an uneven playing field for their businesses, which is why we are committed to protecting the investment our customers make by continuing to support FACTs work against unauthorised venues as well as investigating suppliers”.
Any licensee affected by these issues can report suspected illegal broadcasting in confidence at https://business.sky.com/fighting-fraud/business.