Licensee slapped with £74,000 fine for breaching Sky copyright

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Breach: pubs need an agreement to screen Sky
Breach: pubs need an agreement to screen Sky

Related tags Trademark

The licensee of a Birmingham pub has been ordered to pay more than £70,000 to Sky after she was found to be broadcasting sports from the TV giant illegally.

Susan French, the former designated premises supervisor at the New Inn, Harbourne, Birmingham, was ordered to pay £50,000 in damages and costs of £24,000 for breaching copyright by showing Sky Sports to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky.

The legal action was taken by Sky and the ruling was made following a court order in November last year when French admitted breaching copyright by showing Sky Sports in the pub.


Evidence of further breaches were collected, which resulted in the arrest of French last month (19 July) at the New Inn by High Court officers in London.

The hearing was brought before the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, which deals with cases including registered designs, patents, registered trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights, where the case was adjourned until 26 July.

French was found guilty and has 28 days to pay the damages or will incur interest charges for a late payment and has 14 days to pay the costs.

Illegal broadcasting

Deputy managing director at Sky Business Alison Dolan 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 arrest. The risks are not worth running.

“Illegal broadcasting without a valid subscription is damaging to the sector, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught.

"We’re committed to protecting Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity and this case is just the latest in our efforts to ensure they are not short-changed.”

In June, changes were made to the law on showing Premier League football in pubs. Find out more here​.

Related topics Licensing law

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