The only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in pubs and clubs in mainland UK is through a commercial viewing agreement from Sky
Following a successful prosecution by The Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’), The Premises License Holder of Cheers in Leigh, Lancashire has been convicted and ordered to pay more than £14,500 in fines and costs for using a Sky system from the Republic of Ireland to show Sky Sports illegally in the premises.
On 19th May 2015 at Wigan & Leigh Magistrates Court, a representative of Future Thinking Leisure Ltd, the Premises Licence Holder of Cheers, admitted to using a Sky system from the Republic of Ireland and entered a plea of guilty to four 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, the company was ordered to pay a total of £14,707 in fines and costs.
Stephen Gerrard, FACT Prosecuting Manager, said “We continue to find licensees who choose to ignore all advice and warnings, leaving us with no option but to prosecute. FACT’s message to licensees is clear. Regardless of how and where it was obtained, if they are showing Sky content without a commercial viewing agreement obtained directly from Sky, they are showing the content illegally and they will be caught and prosecuted. If anyone has any doubts about the system in use at their premises then they should seek independent advice”.
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 premise reported by other publicans and/or organisations for illegally showing Sky and is visiting more than 700 pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season.
Alison Dolan, Deputy Managing Director, Sky Business, said: “There are still a small number of licensees who believe they are entitled to screen Sky Sports content in UK pubs and clubs without a commercial viewing agreement in place from Sky Business. This case demonstrates that the source of Sky Sports has no impact on the court’s rulings as they continue to deliver penalties to licensees who televise Sky content illegally. We will continue to support FACT’s work to protect our legitimate Sky customers to ensure they are not left short-changed by illegal activity.”