Licensees of pub in Bolton ordered to pay over £6,500 for illegal Sky use

Following a successful prosecution by The Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’), Janet and Eric Ashton of the Rose & Crown  in Westhoughton have been convicted and ordered to pay more than £6,500 in fines and costs for showing Sky Sports illegally in the premises.

On 19th October 2015 at Bolton Magistrates Court, Mr and Mrs Ashton of the Rose & Crown were each convicted in absence 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. Ashton and Ms. Ashton were ordered to pay a combined total of £6,772 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: “There have already been numerous cases this football season of landlords being fined for this type of fraudulent activity and now, once again this case sends a clear message to publicans – Sky Sports is only available to pubs and clubs in mainland UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky; no other method of showing Sky Sports in licensed premises is legal.”

“We are committed to visiting thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing, as well as investigating suppliers and continuing to support FACT’s work to protect Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity.”

Any licensee affected by these issues can report suspected illegal broadcasting in confidence at https://business.sky.com/fighting-fraud/business.

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