14 more interdicts granted against licensees preventing illegal screening of Sky and SPFL content

By Sky Business

- Last updated on GMT

Caught offside: Sky successfully pursued 14 interdicts in one day
Caught offside: Sky successfully pursued 14 interdicts in one day

Related tags: Finance, Legislation, Licensing, Sport, Technology

Licensees are being warned against the temptation to illegally screen Sky and SPFL matches in their venues or risk being left out in the cold this winter.

Legal implications

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Sky takes illegal screenings of sports broadcasts very seriously because it is important to ensure legitimate Sky subscribers are not left short-changed.

The only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in licensed premises in the UK is through a valid commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.

Legitimate Sky Business commercial subscribers will see a pint glass icon appear on  their TV screen from time to time. The lack of this icon can reveal who is showing Sky illegally.

Licensees who screen Premier League, SPFL or EFL matches via unauthorised foreign channels to the public risk having legal action taken against them by the leagues for infringing their copyright.

Sky have established field teams to actively detect unauthorised showing of Sky Sports. This illegal activity can result in licensees being fined and having to pay legal costs and/or losing their personal licence.

If you know of a venue screening Sky Sports illegally, visit www.pubpiracy.com

All year round, Sky is committed to protecting the investment of legitimate Sky customers and its intellectual property rights through its commercial piracy programme, and even at Christmas time – when festive sport is in full-swing – it continues its dedicated anti-piracy work.

An integral part of Sky’s commercial piracy programme is the detection of unauthorised broadcasts being shown in commercial premises and, where appropriate, taking legal action against the owners and operators of those premises. On 18 November 2021, 14 interim interdicts (temporary injunctions) were granted in a single day against the licensees of licensed premises found to be showing Sky or SPFL content without the appropriate licence. The interim interdicts prohibit the licensees from showing unauthorised Sky or SPFL programming while the court actions progress.

Since the start of the 2021-22 season, Sky has raised 12 actions in the Court of Session, Edinburgh, against the owners and operators of licensed premises across Scotland who have been found to be showing Sky Sports broadcasts without a commercial agreement with Sky. The SPFL has also raised nine actions against the licensees of premises found to be streaming its content illegally.

Warning to licensees

At the conclusion of these actions, the court may grant permanent interdicts (injunctions) preventing the licensees from screening Sky at their premises without the correct commercial licence and award substantial legal costs in Sky’s favour. 

George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky, said: “We want to protect our customers investment in our products, which is why seek legal action. We hope the interdicts granted in November act as a warning to those who might be tempted to seek a cheaper, but illegal, alternative to Sky and SPFL’s broadcasting and prevent more actions being raised in the future.”

Sky continues to monitor compliance with the interdicts (injunctions) awarded and further infringement of Sky’s copyright may constitute contempt of court, and further action may be taken.

The only legitimate way for Sky Sports or live SPFL matches to be shown in commercial premises in the UK is if a valid commercial agreement with Sky is in place. Through its commercial piracy programme, Sky is committed to protecting both the investment of its valued customers and its intellectual property rights. Anti-piracy work is business-critical for Sky and its commercial piracy programme will be ongoing throughout the 2021-22 season. 

Related topics: Legislation

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