Sky prosecutes nearly 50 licensees

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Related tags: Sky, Licensees, Jury, Lawyer, Criminal law

With only a month of the football season gone 46 licensees have already been hauled before the courts for showing soccer on Sky without the use of a...

With only a month of the football season gone 46 licensees have already been hauled before the courts for showing soccer on Sky without the use of a commercial agreement.

The latest is Charles Stevens of the Reindeer in Braintree, Essex, who was prosecuted for illegally showing of Sky in his premises.

On September 3, 2007, he was found guilty of three criminal convictions of dishonest reception of a television transmission. The court suspended his personal licence for one month and ordered him to pay £2,400 in fines and £600 for showing Sky in the premises on a domestic card, rather than with the Sky Business commercial viewing contract.

The Federation against Copyright Theft (FACT) conducted this prosecution as part of Sky's ongoing commitment to crack down on landlords who continue to show Sky in their pubs without the correct viewing contract.

There have been more than 700 similar prosecutions to date, with 60 further cases with court dates scheduled or pending. As well as facing hefty fines, five licensees have now forfeited their personal licences following successful prosecutions in recent weeks.

Stephen Gerrard, prosecuting manager, FACT, said: "We will continue to see publicans pay substantial fines and lose their licences if they persist in breaking the law in this way.

"Case after case demonstrates how we are successfully pursuing and prosecuting those licensees who are fraudulently showing Sky programmes in their premises."

A spokesperson for Sky said: "This case demonstrates how seriously the courts take this issue and the penalties for illegally showing Sky programming. We remain committed to working with FACT to prosecute licensees who break the law in order to protect the interests of our legitimate customers."

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