Sky sues 3 Cork publicans for €47K

Three Cork publicans have been ordered to pay damages and costs following successful legal action taken by Sky Business through Cork Circuit Court.

The licensee of The Avondhu Bar on Brian Boro Square, Fermoy, Cork has been ordered to pay €27,216 in damages for breaching copyright by showing Sky Sports to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky. Cork Circuit Court also awarded an injunction against the licensee prohibiting him or anyone acting on his behalf from showing Sky illegally in the premises.

In separate cases, the licensee of O’Cionaigh’s of 26 Church Street, Cork City, was also found to be breaching Sky’s copyright by showing unauthorised Sky Sports programming in the premises.

Cork Circuit Court ordered the licensee of O’Cionaigh’s to pay over €16,000 in damages and costs and awarded an injunction against the licensee.

An interim injunction was also obtained against the licensee of The River Lane pub in Blarney Street, Cork City, prohibiting him or anyone acting on his behalf from showing Sky illegally in the premises.  An award of costs – estimated at €4,000 – was also made against the licensee.

Sky brought these civil proceedings against the licensees for infringing its copyright by showing Sky Sports to customers without having valid commercial viewing agreements in place. Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in Ireland via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business or Virgin Media. Licensees that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk similar action or even a criminal prosecution.

“The substantial penalties in these latest cases demonstrate the seriousness of fraudulently screening TV programmes,” commented George Lawson, Head of Commercial Piracy at Sky, “If you choose to televise content illegally then you run the very real risk of being caught and having legal action taken against you – the risks are not worth running.

“We are committed to visiting thousands of pubs as well as investigating suppliers to protect our customers and ensure they’re not left short-changed by illegal activity,” he continued, “With a full schedule of live sport on Sky we’ll be continuing to work with investigators to visit pubs throughout the Summer to help protect those customers who legitimately invest in Sky Sports.”

The three cases are as a result of from Sky’s instruction of intellectual property experts Eugene F Collins and form a key part of Sky’s commitment to protecting pubs who invest in legitimate Sky Sports subscriptions. Sky is committed to visiting every licensed premises reported by other publicans and/or organisations for illegally showing Sky and has made arrangements to visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across Ireland this year.


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