Illegal Sky Sports streaming results in “record” fine topping £300,000

A “record” fine totalling more than £300,000 has been dished out to three pubs that were found to be televising Sky Sports illegally.

Four individuals that ran the Prince of Wales in Stafford, the Beaufort Arms in Birmingham and the Pheasant Inn in Wolverhampton have been ordered to pay a combined total of £327,405 in fines and costs, after being found guilty of copyright infringement.

It isn’t clear how exactly the pubs were accessing Sky Sports illegally, but the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) told Trusted Reviews that it was “able to prove that these were not legitimate feeds”.

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Carol Keenan from the Beaufort Arms, and Jonathan Hunt, Robert Stevens and Mark Jones, who were directors Monk Moor Pubs Ltd − the lessees for all three pubs − were convicted in a combined case at Birmingham Magistrates Court on March 21.

Hunt, Stevens and Jones were found guilty of 19 offences, while Keenan pleaded guilty to seven.

“The licensees and company involved in this case have consistently refused to engage with us and ignored numerous warnings and offers of advice sent to them,” said Stephen Gerrard, FACT’s prosecuting manager.

“This clearly demonstrates their conscious decision to offend, over a significant period of time. We were left with no option but to prosecute these individuals and we will continue to prosecute publicans who are fraudulently showing Sky programmes in their premises.”

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Sky’s head of commercial piracy, George Lawson, added: “We take illegal use of our programming very seriously and we remain committed to protecting our legitimate Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity.”

“Those licensees who choose to televise content illegally should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties and a criminal conviction. The only legal way to Sky Sports programming in licensed premises in the UK is via a Commercial viewing agreement from Sky.”

Earlier this week, a Kodi box seller was jailed for more than five years. He’d made over £750,000 flogging thousands of devices that had been pre-loaded with pirate addons.

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