Doncaster bar hit by record fine for showing Sky illegally

hogans bar

A bar in Doncaster has been given a record fine after it was caught showing Sky Sports illegally.

Simon Barnett and Anthony Ball of Hogan’s Bar and Doncaster Balls Limited were found guilty in their absence at Doncaster magistrates court and ordered to pay £22,600 in fines and costs – the highest figure to date for a criminal conviction for illegal Sky use in licensed premises.

The conviction on August 22 was for dishonest reception of a television transmission – a Sky televised football match – without a commercial viewing agreement with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge, contrary to Section 297 (1) of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988.

Instigated by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), it is one of more than 1,500 similar prosecutions to date, with hundreds of further cases in the pipeline.

Stephen Gerrard, prosecuting manager at FACT, said: “We sometimes hear from licensees that they are prepared to risk a fine of around £5,000 for showing Sky Sports illegally, but this case shows that both licensees, employees and associated companies can each face fines of up to £5,000 for every offence they commit, or each match that they show.

“On top of this, the court can order legal costs to be paid and there is a requirement to inform the local licensing authority of the criminal offence, which can impact their licenses – it simply isn’t worth the risk.”

These convictions were carried out by FACT on behalf of its members and form a key part of Sky’s commitment to protecting pubs and bars who honestly invest in legitimate Sky Sports subscriptions.

The company is committed to visiting every licensed premise reported by other publicans and/or organisations for illegally showing Sky. In total, Sky has made arrangements to visit more than 700 pubs and bars each week in towns and cities across the UK this season.

Alison Dolan, deputy managing director at Sky Business, said: “This issue is very close to the hearts of our legitimate Sky pub customers who are being left short-changed by licensees broadcasting Sky content illegally.

“It creates an uneven playing field for their businesses, which is why we are committed to visiting thousands of pubs this season, as well as investigating suppliers and continuing to support FACT’s work.”

Any licensee affected by these issues can report suspected illegal broadcasting in confidence at
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