Unlawful broadcasting – Premier league and pubs

Written by Margaret Briffa | July 22, 2016


Premier League Pub Penalties – Broadcast Restrictions

The Football Association Premier League (FA) and Sky have pursued several pubs for illegally broadcasting Premier League matches to the public.

The FA and Sky, with the help of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), have taken both civil and criminal action against pubs and their entertainment suppliers for many years now. Pubs which have paid for the proper licences are quick to report on the ones that haven’t as it takes business from them. This has resulted in several hefty fines and, in a few cases, custodial sentences.

Section 72 of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) created an exception to copyright infringement in a broadcast where, if you did not charge an entry fee, public broadcasts could go ahead without obtaining the copyright owner’s permission. This meant the FA had to rely on the infringement of copyright and registered trade mark rights in the logos, graphics and anthems of a Premier League broadcast to stop illegal public broadcasts.

Now, the UK government have proposed a change to section 72 CDPA, which removes the “film” element from the section 72 exception. The change gives the FA an additional tool to pursue for illegal broadcasts and will make it easier for them to bring action. This applies to all public broadcasts so will help the copyright owners of motion pictures, TV shows, music videos and other sports matches as well.

So – if you do not have the proper licence from Sky to publically broadcast their programming they can pursue you for civil charges and can work with FACT to bring criminal charges.

If you show a broadcast of a Premier League match from another country the FA can pursue you for breach of copyright and can work with FACT to bring criminal charges. Sky and BT Sports are currently the only services permitted to broadcast premier league football in the UK.

Our advice – the FA, Sky and FACT are actively pursuing and investigating establishments who infringe their broadcast rights so play by rules and get the proper permissions.

For further information contact us.

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