The operators of a bar in Doncaster in South Yorkshire have been convicted and fined for showing Sky Sports illegally in their premises.
Four Ball Promotions entered a plea of guilty to four offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission at Ballers Sports Bar without a commercial viewing agreement with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge.
On August 11, Doncaster Magistrates Court ruled that the bar’s broadcasting of the Sky-televised football match was contrary to Section 297 (1) of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988. The company was ordered to pay £3,755 in fines and costs.
The prosecution was instigated by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). Its prosecuting manager Stephen Gerrard said: “Our aim is to help create an effective deterrent to publicans who endeavour to fraudulently show Sky content in their premises.
“People found to be showing Sky in commercial premises without having entered into the correct commercial subscription agreement with Sky face criminal prosecution, costs and potential loss of their licence.”
Alison Dolan, deputy managing director at Sky Business, said: “There are still a small number of licensees who believe they are entitled to screen Sky Sports in pubs and clubs without the correct viewing agreement in place.
“The only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in mainland UK is through a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business – no other way is legal.
“Sky will continue to support FACT in prosecuting those licensees who choose to break the law because we are committed to protecting the thousands of law-abiding pubs who pay for legitimate commercial Sky subscriptions.”
There have been more than 1,500 similar prosecutions to date and hundreds of further cases are in the pipeline.