Hereford Licensee ordered to pay over £6,000 for illegally screening Sky Sports

On Tuesday 22nd March 2022, Mr. Michael Hudson of the Prince of Wales public house, Walford Road, Ross on Wye was convicted in his absence of two 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.

Mr. Hudson, the designated premises supervisor holder of the Prince of Wales, was fined £1,500 per offence and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £3,098.78 as well as a victim surcharge of £170, totalling £6,268.78.

FACT brought the criminal prosecution at Hereford 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.

Kieron Sharp, FACT Chief Executive, said “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”.

Sara Stewart, Compliance Manager at Sky, added: “Now more than ever it’s important to protect the investment of our customers. Businesses that show Sky Sports illegally can leave our legitimate Sky subscribers feeling short-changed. 

“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.

“Venues who continue to televise content in this way are breaking the law, and are at risk of being caught, which can result in licensees being fined and having to pay legal costs, and/or losing their personal licence.”

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.

Any licensee affected by these issues can report suspected illegal broadcasting confidentially at www.pubpiracy.com