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Licensee spends night in custody for breaching Sky copyright

By Georgina Townshend , 12-May-2017
Last updated on 15-May-2017 at 11:46 GMT2017-05-15T11:46:16Z

Real risk: licensee who show Sky Sports illegally risk imprisonment
Real risk: licensee who show Sky Sports illegally risk imprisonment

A licensee who showed Sky Sports illegally has spent the night in custody after failing to appear at court.

Sky has been awarded a permanent interdict - the Scottish equivalent of an injunction - after Craig Massey, the designated premises manager of the Punch Taverns owned Croftmalloch Inn, Bathgate, infringed its copyright by showing Sky Sports to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place.

According to Sky, the ruling follows a court order made in September 2016 where the company obtained an interim interdict against Massey for breaching Sky’s copyright by showing unauthorised Sky Sports programming at the premises.

Sky gathered evidence of further breaches of the interim interdict and Massey was subsequently ordered to appear at the Intellectual Property Court, Edinburgh on 20 March 2017.

Night in custody

A Sky spokesman said: “After failing to appear, a warrant was issued for his arrest and Massey was held in custody overnight at HMP Edinburgh and brought from custody, for a hearing the following day [21 March]. 

“Massey admitted to breaching the court order and has consented to a permanent interdict preventing him and anyone acting on his behalf from infringing Sky’s copyright by showing Sky programming without the correct commercial license.”

Substantial penalties

Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.

George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky, said: “Orders like this result from some licensees thinking they are above the law. The law is clear – if you choose to televise content illegally then you run the very real risk of being caught and facing substantial penalties or even imprisonment.” 

A spokesman for Punch said: "The Croftmalloch Inn, Bathgate, is operated under a tenancy agreement. Therefore, the publican operates the pub as his own business and as such all decisions are made by the publican. Punch issues clear guidelines across the pub estate regarding copyright laws and the need to respect these."

The Morning Advertiser made efforts to contact Massey but had not spoken to him before publication.

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