Two venues in Merseyside and one in Heywood, Rochdale, were fined a combined sum of more than £39,000 by judges after they were found to be broadcasting Sky Sports to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place.
Janet Ferguson, Lisa Kaye and Arnold Martin of The Mayflower in Bootle, Merseyside, were found guilty in their absence of six offences and were each fined £750 per offence and ordered to pay £170 victim surcharge and costs of £779.77, totalling £5,449.77 each (£16,349.31 in total).
In a second case brought by the Federation Against Copyright Theft, [FACT] Carl Furlong and Peter Scully of the Park Hotel, in Liverpool, Merseyside, were found guilty in their absence of four offences and ordered to pay a combined total of £14,810 in fines and costs.
Eric Hoyle of the Summit Pub, in Heywood, was also found guilty in his absence of three offences and was fined £2,000 per offence, ordered to pay £120 victim surcharge and costs of £2,116.80, totalling £8,236.80.
“These cases should send a clear warning to pub owners and licensees who show Sky broadcasts without a commercial subscription,” said FACT prosecuting manager Stephen Gerrard.
“If convicted, fines for this offence are unlimited and you may have to pay substantial legal costs, as well as putting yourself at risk of having your licence suspended or revoked.”
Sky head of commercial piracy George Lawso said: “These are the latest in a long line of criminal cases FACT has successfully prosecuted resulting in big fines, demonstrating the seriousness of fraudulently screening TV programmes. The law is clear – the only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in licensed premises in the UK is through a valid commercial viewing agreement with Sky.
“We remain committed to visiting thousands of pubs, as well as investigating suppliers, to protect our customers and ensure they are not left short-changed by illegal activity. If you choose to televise content illegally then you run the very real risk of being caught and having legal action taken against you – the risks are not worth running”.