Midlothian pub slapped with £10k Sky TV fine

A PUB has been ordered to pay £10,000 after showing Sky Sports on TV illegally.

Wednesday, 23rd November 2016, 11:23 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:51 am
Salters Inn pub in Woodburn, Dalkeith where the landlord was fined £10,000 for showing sports using a domestic Sky box rather than a commercial one. Pic: Greg Macvean

The Salters Inn, on Salters Road in Dalkeith, was slapped with the hefty fine after Sky was awarded a permanent interdict in the Court of Session last week – preventing the pub from infringing its copyright by showing programmes without permission.

But bar manager Brian Riding told the Evening News he was not aware of the fine and had heard nothing from Sky about legal action.

He also argued that the broadcasting company’s prices were “far too high” for most pubs to pay – forcing many to simply show highlights instead.

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Sky wanted the Salters Inn to spend £700 a month to show football on the premises, Mr Riding said – but many bars are asked to pay even more.

He added: “Hardly anybody watches football in the pubs these days. They just watch it at home. It’s dying. I’ve never had any letter from Sky.

“For the amount of people that come to pubs now to watch football, they are asking for far too much [money]. Pubs are struggling as it is.

“I’m actually at the point of thinking, ‘Is it worth going on?’”

Two pubs in Dundee and Dumfriesshire were also ordered to pay £10,000 in the crackdown, Sky said.

It is understood the company sent a number of letters to Mr Riding’s Dalkeith pub but received no response before taking the matter to court.

All three pubs will also be forced to pay for adverts in local papers and trade publications revealing details of their fines.

The latest cases come after the broadcaster instructed intellectual property experts from Burness Paull LLP to argue their case. Sky said the crackdown formed a “key part” of its “commitment to protecting pubs who invest in legitimate Sky Sports subscriptions”.

And it insisted it was “committed to visiting every licensed premises reported by other publicans and/or organisations for illegally showing Sky” and had “made arrangements to visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season”. George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky Business, said: “We’re committed to protecting Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity and these cases are just the latest in our efforts to ensure they are not short-changed.

“Orders like these demonstrate the seriousness of fraudulently screening TV programmes through the large penalty applied, but also through the order to fund advertising, which we hope will help to highlight the consequences of televising Sky’s content illegally.”