Licensee of Wolverhampton pub handed almost £3k court bill for illegally screening Sky Sports

The licensee of a Wolverhampton pub has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds for illegally screening Sky Sports.

The Boat Inn, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View
The Boat Inn, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View

Patrick Hennessy, of the Boat Inn, Church Street, Wolverhampton, was found guilty of two offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission at Dudley Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The court heard that Hennessy televised Sky Sports football matches to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place and with the intent to avoid paying the subscription charge.

Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.

Hennessy, the designated premises supervisor of the Boat Inn, was ordered to pay total fines and costs of £2,867.20.

Licensees that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk similar action or even civil legal action.

Kieron Sharp, chief executive of FACT, which brought the prosecution, said “Our aim is to help create an effective deterrent to publicans who endeavour to fraudulently show Sky content on their premises and FACT will continue to protect the intellectual property rights of its clients by pursuing those who continue to break the law."

Sara Stewart, commercial compliance lead at Sky Business, added: “Now more than ever it’s important to protect the investment of our customers.

"Businesses that show Sky Sports illegally can leave our legitimate Sky subscribers feeling short-changed.

“We actively visit thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing and continue to support FACT’s work to protect hardworking Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity.

“Venues who continue to televise content in this way are breaking the law, and are at risk of being caught, which can result in licensees being fined and having to pay legal costs, and/or losing their personal licence.”

Any licensee affected by these issues can report suspected illegal broadcasting confidentially at pubpiracy.com

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