Two Leeds pubs fined for showing football matches illegally

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Two more Leeds pubs have been slapped with fines for showing live football matches illegally to customers.

The Miners Arms in Morley and the Old Crooked Clock in Hunslet were both prosecuted for screening Sky Sports content without a commercial licence.

The convictions of their landlords comes just two months after the licensee of the Bay Horse in Holbeck was found guilty of the same offence.

Peter Pinder of the Miners Arms was convicted of two offences of dishonest reception of a TV transmission at Leeds Magistrates Court, and ordered to pay £7,875 in fines and costs. Sarah Harwood of the Old Crooked Clock was prosecuted separately.

Both landlords claimed they believed they had purchased legitimate business licences to show Sky Sports matches from a company called MV Rentals. However, valid commercial agreements for pubs can only be obtained directly from the broadcaster.

The cases were brought to court by the Federation Against Copyright Theft, who have so far secured 22 convictions across the country since the football season began.

Prosecuting manager Stephen Gerrard 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.

“Illegal broadcasts of sporting events, films and TV programmes are damaging to the creative industries and put businesses and people’s livelihoods at risk, so we work closely with our members to ensure their content is protected and that legitimate customers are not left short changed.”

The organisation carries out spot checks in pubs which have been reported by publicans or customers for suspected illegal broadcasts.

Sky’s head of commercial piracy George Lawson added:

“These sentences demonstrate how seriously the courts take piracy and should act as a wake-up call to those licensees who continue to listen to suppliers who tell them they can show Sky Sports via an alternative system and avoid prosecution. Sky Sports is only available to pubs and clubs in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky; no other method of showing Sky Sports in licensed premises is legal.”

Any licensee affected by these issues can report suspected illegal broadcasting in confidence at http://business.sky.com/fighting-fraud

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