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£10K fine for Sky Sports pub screening

Two licensees have been found guilty of screening Sky Sports at their pub without a commercial agreement.

Sara Jones and Karl Jones of the Old Toby Inn in Skelmersdale have been ordered to pay £10,908 after being convicted in their absences of the ten offences - effectively being charged over £1,000 for each offence.

Copyright protection organisation FACT brought the criminal prosecution on 29th August at Preston Magistrates Court against the licensees for showing Sky Sports to customers without having a valid commercial viewing agreement in place. Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business - viewers and inspectors know if they're watching a commercial broadcast for pubs thanks to a pint glass symbol on-screen.

Stephen Gerrard, Prosecuting Manager, FACT said
“These cases should send a clear warning to pub owners and licensees who show Sky broadcasts without a commercial subscription. If convicted, fines for this offence are unlimited and you may have to pay substantial legal costs, as well as putting yourself at risk of having your licence suspended or revoked.”

George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky, said: 
“These are the latest in a long line of criminal cases FACT has successfully prosecuted resulting in big fines, demonstrating the seriousness of fraudulently screening TV programmes. The law is clear – the only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in licensed premises in the UK is through a valid commercial viewing agreement with Sky.”