On Monday 26th February 2018, Ms Geraldine Williams and Mr Anthony Williams, licensees of the Cleveland Inn, Middlesbrough, TS6 0LX, were found guilty after a trial of six offences each of dishonest reception of a television transmission by showing Sky Sports to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky.
They were each fined £1,000 per offence and were also ordered to pay £100 Victim Surcharge and £3,500 prosecution costs totalling £9,600 each and £19,200 overall.
FACT brought the criminal prosecution at Teesside Magistrates Court against the licensees for showing Sky Sports to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place. Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business. Licensees that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk similar action or even a criminal prosecution.
Stephen Gerrard, Prosecuting Manager, FACT said “These cases should send a clear warning to pub owners and licensees who show Sky broadcasts without a commercial subscription.
“If convicted, fines for this offence are unlimited and you may have to pay substantial legal costs, as well as putting yourself at risk of having your licence suspended or revoked.”
George Lawson, Head of Commercial Piracy at Sky, said: “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”.
This successful case comes from FACT’s instruction to Russell-Cooke LLP. 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 has made arrangements to visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this year.
Any licensee affected by these issues can report suspected illegal broadcasting in confidence at http://business.sky.com/fighting-fraud