Licensee ordered to pay over £6,500 for illegally screening Sky Sports

On Monday 2nd September, Mr Phillip Bailey of the Alma in Deal, Kent[1] was convicted in his absence of four 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 Bailey was fined £1,000 per offence and was also ordered to pay full costs of £2,710.78 and a £100 Victim Surcharge, totalling £6,810.78.

FACT brought the criminal prosecution on Monday 2nd September at Folkestone 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.

Stephen Gerrard, FACT’s Prosecuting Manager said “Despite continual warnings we are still finding a small number of licensees who persist in illegally showing Sky broadcasts in their premises. FACT’s message to these individuals is, you will be caught and prosecuted. As numerous cases have shown, we successfully pursue and prosecute dishonest licenses who are then faced with substantial fines, costs and a criminal record.”

George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky, added: “It’s important to us that businesses are aware of the consequences of showing Sky Sports illegally – it is a serious issue that is damaging to the pub industry, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties.

“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”.

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

[1] 126 West Street, Deal CT14 6EB

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