TV Sport

Q&A: Staying legal when showing TV sport in your pub

By Premier League & Sky Sports

- Last updated on GMT

Premier League football copyright myth buster

Related tags: Premier league

In order to clear up confusion surrounding showing live football in pubs, the Morning Advertiser asked the Premier League and Sky to provide a myth-buster on the issue of copyright and compliance.

I heard the law has changed on broadcasting football. What does it mean for licensees?

On 15 June, a change to copyright law​ was made. Now, just the mere showing of an unauthorised Premier League match, in a pub, or any other commercial premises, may be a breach of copyright.

For licensees this means that it doesn’t matter if the logos are blocked, or the music isn’t played, if a pub shows a Premier League football match without authorisation, they will expose themselves to legal action.  
Premier League spokesperson

The pub down the road is using a foreign satellite system to show football. What should I do?

If you know or suspect a business showing Premier League matches via an unauthorised channel, you can report this directly to the Premier League’s appointed investigation agency, ID Inquiries on 0845 434 5055 or make an anonymous report via their website.
Premier League spokesperson

A foreign satellite supplier has said they will cover my legal costs if I get prosecuted. Should I believe them?

Suppliers may make promises to provide legal advice or to cover legal costs should action be taken against a pub for copyright infringement, but any promises about legalities made by unauthorised providers are simply not true. We have encountered many cases where such promises by the supplier have faded away once the costs were actually incurred.

Sky & BT are the only authorised broadcasters of Premier League football in the UK.

It is the licensee, staff or whoever was responsible for the unauthorised screenings of football matches who ultimately faces legal action. If you choose to televise content illegally then you run the very real risk of being caught and face substantial penalties. The risks are not worth running.
Premier League spokesperson

Why isn’t Sky prosecuting suppliers of illegal systems?

Sky investigates suppliers selling systems allowing illegal access to Sky Sports programming and passes details onto the police to consider criminal prosecution. We also share information with the Premier League when we find pubs or suppliers that we believe are infringing their copyright

On 10 August 2016, a City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) operation led to the arrest of three people​ who were suspected to have organised the distribution and transmission of thousands of illegally modified TV set-top boxes to people worldwide.
George Lawson, Head of Commercial Piracy, Sky

The system I use blocks logos and music on the broadcasts. Does that mean I’m legally OK?

The recent change to copyright law has made it clear to publicans that any unauthorised broadcast is a breach of copyright, whether logos are blocked, or the music isn’t played.

Despite this, both Sky and the Premier League have taken hundreds of legal actions against licensees that have used masking technology in the past and these publicans have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs.  

Licensees who choose to televise content illegally run the very real risk of being caught and facing substantial penalties or even a criminal conviction.
Premier League spokesperson

Karen Murphy​ won her case against Sky, so that means it’s OK to show football using a foreign satellite system, right?

Quite the opposite.

The case makes it clear that a pub in the UK that uses an unauthorised foreign system to show Sky Sports broadcasts or Premier League matches including the logos and graphics, will be infringing copyright.

Sky and the Premier League have taken successful legal action against hundreds of pubs on this basis and licensees have been ordered to pay significant penalties for copyright infringement.

Over February and March the Premier League received costs of almost £100,000 from 12 pubs that were found to be screening unauthorised broadcasts of Premier League matches.
Premier League spokesperson

How many pubs will Sky be visiting this season as part of its enforcement campaign?

Sky is committed to visiting every licensed premises reported by other publicans and/or organisations for illegally showing Sky and has made arrangements to visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season.
George Lawson, Head of Commercial Piracy, Sky

For more information visit the Sky Business website.

Related topics: Licensing law, Sport

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