Illegal broadcasting

Licensee faces £50k fine and prison sentence for further copyright theft

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Licensee faces £50k fine and prison sentence for further copyright theft

Related tags: Premier league

A licensee has been convicted for illegally playing sport in her pub, and warned that further offences will cost £50,000 in damages and a possible prison sentence.

Susan French, licensee at the New Inn, Birmingham, was taken to court by Sky for playing sport without a commercial contract with the broadcaster.

French has agreed she is liable to pay damages of £50,000 for the offence in the event of any future infringements.

A penal notice states that French will be in contempt of court, for which she could ultimately be imprisoned, were she to show unauthorised Sky Sports again.

In a separate case, Dunglen Ltd, the license holder of The Surrey Arms in Portsmouth, has paid £10,000 in settlement after playing SkySports illegally.

Similarly to the New Inn, Sky brought civil proceedings against the licensees for infringing its copyright.

Last month 12 pubs were named and shamed for similar offences. The pubs ordered to pay a total of £92,603 in costs to the Premier League for breach of copyright, including:

  • The Victoria, North Shields – ordered by the High Court to pay £9,165
  • The Wessington, Washington – ordered by the High Court to pay £8,901
  • Byker and Heaton Union, Newcastle – ordered by the High Court to pay £8,942
  • T Tonic, Chaplins, Café Purple, Arizona, The Point (five pubs under common ownership, Sunderland) – settlement with court order for £10,000 of costs
  • Gatsby, Sunderland – settlement with court order for pay £7,000 of costs
  • The Dog & Gun, Banbury – ordered by the High Court to pay £9,825
  • The Duke’s Head, Dartford – settlement with court order for £5,500 of costs
  • Railway Hotel, Manchester – settlement with court order for £10,000 of costs
  • Carsons Bar, Manchester – settlement with court order for £5,000 of costs
  • The Woodpecker, Manchester –  agreed to pay £6,000
  • The Roundabout, St Helens – settled with court order for £5,500 of costs
  • Virtuoso (formerly Ketts Tavern), Norwich – settled with court order for £6,770

Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in mainland UK via a commercial viewing agreement directly from Sky Business. Licensees that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk similar action.

Alison Dolan, deputy managing director at Sky Business, said: “Actions such as these highlight the consequences of copyright infringement. Licensees who choose to televise content illegally should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties.

“We will not hesitate to take legal action against those pubs who continue to screen SkySports programmes illegally, to help ensure that the thousands of law-abiding pubs and clubs who pay for legitimate commercial Sky subscriptions are not short changed.”

Sky said it is committed to protecting pubs who invest in legitimate Sky Sports subscriptions.

The broadcaster has made arrangements to visit more than 700 pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season.

Related topics: Sport

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