Pub pair pay the penalty for screening Sky Sports without a commercial contract
TWO pub licensees in Skelmersdale have hit with fines totalling nearly £11,000 after being found guilty of 10 offices of dishonest reception of a television transmission by showing Sky Sports to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky.
Sara and Karl Jones formerly of the Old Toby Inn in Ashurst have been ordered to pay £10,908 after being convicted in their absences.
FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) which tackles intellectual property crime brought the criminal prosecution at Preston Magistrates Court against the licensees for showing Sky Sports to customers without having a valid commercial viewing agreement in place.
The offences happened in April of this year and the premises are now under new management.
Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.
Stephen Gerrard, prosecuting manager at 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.”
And George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky, added: “These are the latest in a long line of criminal cases FACT has successfully prosecuted resulting in big fines, demonstrating the seriousness of fraudulently screening TV programmes.
“The law is clear - the only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in licensed premises in the UK is through a valid commercial viewing agreement with Sky.
“We remain committed to visiting thousands of pubs, as well as investigating suppliers, to protect our customers and ensure they are not left short-changed by illegal activity.
“If you choose to televise content illegally then you run the very real risk of being caught and having legal action taken against you – the risks are not worth running.”