Licensees face £15,000 fines as Sky gets tough

Related tags Copyright Copyright infringement

Sky is to up its efforts to crack down on pubs knowingly using illegal decoders to televise live football.The broadcaster is bolstering its campaign...

Sky is to up its efforts to crack down on pubs knowingly using illegal decoders to televise live football.

The broadcaster is bolstering its campaign to prosecute anyone infringing copyright laws by using the decoders. It is adding to the list of 800 perpetrators it has already taken to court, many of whom have been fined up to £15,000.

UK Sky field forces are out detecting pubs showing matches illegally, and are warning publicans of the consequences.

Although licensees have balked at the new subscription costs for Sky, those who are already forking out welcome the prosecutions.

Tim Cole, licensee at the Cheshire Cat in Manchester, Lancashire, said: "We get a lot of people in here asking about the foreign channels and they don't care two hoots about the law. If it's not on here they'll always find somewhere else.

"I don't have any sympathy for people who get caught."

Dylan Ruurds, manager at the Hillgate in Notting Hill, London, said: "To hear Sky is prosecuting is very good news. There's little point in us paying the fees if someone else is getting away with it."

Steve Willans, licensee at the Southbank in Nottingham, added: "It's just cheating so it's right for people to be punished. There's no doubt these things take trade away from me."

Sky has been prosecuting those using the decoders on the grounds that it infringes copyright law. The broadcaster is the only company to have paid for rights to transmit live Premier League matches in this country and the decoders allow licensees to receive transmissions illegally from other countries.

Kate Oppenheim, head of communications at Sky, said: "We are not in the business of trying to prosecute people, but want to create a level playing field. We shall continue to act against people breaking the law."

Meanwhile, investigations by the Federation Against Copy-right Theft (FACT) have led to a raft of prosecutions, due to go to court soon.

FACT is prosecuting on behalf of the Premier League, targeting anyone showing the games during the closed period of 2.45-5.15pm on a match day with a full fixture list.

Sky-high fine

Licensees Bernadette and Ahmed Mossahebi, of Maxims in Eastbourne, were ordered to pay Sky a total £9,450 in fines and costs in February this year.

Eastbourne Magistrates Court imposed the penalty after thecouple were found showing Sky on their premises using a domestic card, rather than the correct commercial viewing contract.

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