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Gloucestershire Business News

Cheltenham pub hit with £35,000 penalty for showing Sky Sports without a licence

A Cheltenham pub has been ordered to pay more than £35,000 in damages and legal costs after being sued for 'commercial piracy' by showing Sky Sports without permission.

Sky took legal action against the licensee of the Rotunda Tavern in Montpellier street, Cheltenham, for infringing copyright by broadcasting the sports channels without paying for a commercial licence to do so.

The licensee, Stephen Ashley, has been ordered to pay damages of £27,499.32 plus interest of £412.49 and costs of £7,867.50 - a grand total of £35,779.31.

George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky, said: "Orders like this demonstrate the seriousness of screening Sky Sports without the required commercial license.

"It is damaging to the industry, and those licensees who choose to show content in this way should be aware that they are at a high risk of being caught and facing substantial penalties.

"Our customers are very important to us and we will not hesitate in taking action against pubs who continue to screen Sky Sports fraudulently, ensuring that the thousands of the law-abiding pubs and clubs who pay for legitimate commercial Sky subscriptions are not short changed. "

A Sky spokesman added "This successful case come from Sky's instruction of Russell Cooke LLP 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 more than 700 pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season."

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