14 February 2018

On Monday 12th February 2018, Mr Carl Furlong, of the Park Hotel, Liverpool was found guilty in his absence of four offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission by showing Sky Sports to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky.

Carl Furlong and Peter Scully of the Park Hotel in Liverpool, Merseyside, were originally found guilty in their absence of four offences and were ordered to pay a combined total of £14,810 in fines and costs on 5th October 2017.

Mr Furlong made a statutory declaration in November 2017 and the case was reopened, he entered a plea of Not Guilty to all offences but failed to appear at court. The court decided to prove the matter in his absence instead of further adjourning the case and he was fined a total of £18,425.

The conviction against Mr Scully obtained in October 2017 still stands which makes the grand total fines and costs for this case £19,671. FACT brought the criminal prosecution on Monday 12th February 2017 at Liverpool 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 hose 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

  • 1 Park Hotel, 495 West Derby Road, Liverpool, Merseyside, L6 4BW

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