Licensee hit with injunction over illegal Sky Sports screenings

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

High risk: Sky states those breaching copyright over illegal screenings will face substantial penalties
High risk: Sky states those breaching copyright over illegal screenings will face substantial penalties

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A licensee has been made the subject of an injunction – the first of its kind – prohibiting her from screening Sky Sports at any pub unless she enters the correct commercial contracts with Sky.

Despite numerous warnings, Nancy Maxwell, the premises licence holder of the Railway Tavern, Edmonton Green, north London, continued to show Sky Sports broadcasts without a valid subscription.

However, an injunction made by the Intellectual Property & Enterprise Court of the High Court in England, has stopped her from broadcasting any further Sky Sports screenings, which is the first to be issued in England.

Potential custodial sentence

If the injunction is breached, Maxwell could be found to be in contempt of court and face a potential custodial sentence. The injunction also states that if the court finds that any other person assists Nancy Maxwell in showing Sky programming, when aware of the terms of the injunction, they could also be held to be in contempt of court.

Sky Business commercial compliance lead Sara Stewart 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 they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties.

“We take breaches of Sky’s copyright very seriously and remain committed to protecting our legitimate Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity.”

Flagrant breaches

Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK through a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business, and anyone who breaches this can face legal action. In the instance of Maxwell, Sky made an application for an injunction to stop the flagrant breaches of their copyright and intellectual property rights.

The injunction is set to remain in place until a full hearing into the breaches of Sky’s copyright are heard later this year.

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