UK: Fines approach £9k for pub licensees showing Sky Sports without agreement

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The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) brought charges against the licensees of the Devonport Arms in Paignton, Devon, for three offenses of broadcasting Sky football matches without a valid commercial viewing agreement with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable commercial subscription charge.

As a consequence, Barry Stapleton was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £3,920, while Michaela Stapleton was ordered to pay fines and costs amounting to £4,900.

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Sky Sports content is only available to licensed premises through authorized commercial viewing agreements from Sky Business.

FACT has successfully prosecuted more than 1,500 publicans for the breaches of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.  Under Section 297(1) of that Act, offenders are subject to unlimited fines.

Further reading

Devonport Arms in Paignton pay substantial fines for illegally screening Sky Sports.  Press release. May 22, 2023. Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT)

Why it matters

“This verdict further strengthens FACT’s commitment to protecting the rights of our broadcast partners,” said Kieron Sharp, FACT CEO. “By pursuing those who engage in fraudulent practices and unlawfully showcase Sky content, FACT aims to create an effective deterrent to other licensees who may consider such actions,” he said.

Sara Stewart, Head of Compliance at Sky Business, added: “Now, more than ever, it is important that we protect the investment of our customers. Businesses that choose to show Sky Sports illegally are directly impacting our legitimate customers’, who unfairly lose business to these venues.”

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