On 20 January, Thomas Conneely of the Dick Whittington in Watford, Hertfordshire, was fined a total of £18,908.18 in his absence of three offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission – in this case, Sky televised football matches.
Prosecution authority FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) was able to prosecute the licensee at St Albans Magistrates’ Court as a result of Conneely broadcasting Sky Sports to customers without having the valid commercial viewing agreements in place.
Without employing the commercial viewing agreement, licensees risk similar action or even a criminal prosecution.
On account of this, Conneely was fined £3,000 per offence. In addition, he was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £9,787.18 and a victim surcharge of £120 totalling £18,907.18.
Face substantial penalties
Sky head of commercial piracy George Lawson said: “It’s important to us that businesses are aware of the consequences of showing Sky Sports illegally – it is a serious issue that is damaging to the pub industry, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties.
“We actively visit thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing and continue to support FACT’s work to protect hard-working Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity.”
FACT’s prosecuting manager Stephen Gerrard said: “Our aim is to help create an effective deterrent to publicans who endeavour to fraudulently show Sky content on their premises and FACT will continue to protect the intellectual property rights of its clients by pursuing those who continue to break the law.”