By Pat Flynn
A pub landlord is threatening to take on media giant Sky in the courts after they claimed he showed one of their sports channels on his premises even though the pub was closed at the time.
It’s over 12 months since British Sky Broadcasting Ltd (Sky) first threatened Co Clare publican Tim Tierney with prosecution unless he paid them almost €9,000 after claiming he showed Sky Sports at his pub.
Sky claimed one of its agents called to the Crabtree Pub near Newmarket on Fergus in September last year and that she observed the Ryder Cup golf being shown on a television in the bar.
In a solicitor’s letter to Mr Tierney, Sky warned him that he could be fined €127,000 and/or jailed for up to five years for breaching their copyright.
The company had also threatened to seek a “permanent injunction” restraining further broadcasts while Mr Tierney was warned that Sky “reserves their right to publicise details of any infringement.”
The pub was however closed at the time while Mr Tierney was in another county attending an underage GAA game.
After Mr Tierney and his solicitor challenged the ‘false accusation’ for several months, Sky eventually withdrew it’s demand for the payment but has refused to apologise or acknowledge they made a mistake.
The broadcaster had sought €8064.00 claiming Mr Tierney beached their copyright and wanted a further €750.00 in costs.
Mr Tierney said: “I couldn’t believe it. I was absolutely outraged that Sky could make such a claim. No one from Sky came near us on the day. In fact, we weren’t even here ourselves. We don’t have Sky in the pub and we weren’t open at 2.05pm on that Saturday or any other Saturday.”
Sky’s solicitor has told Mr Tierney: “All of the information available to us is that Sky was being shown in your premises at the time alleged. However, Sky decided to take no further action on this matter unless further broadcasts of Sky Sports are detected. We trust this resolves matters for you.”
Mr Tierney has said however: “This doesn’t resolve the matter and Sky’s wall of silence is a disgrace. First they accuse me in the wrong and then they tell me they’ll keeping an eye on me. I want Sky to acknowledge they got it wrong and apologise.”
Sky continues to refuse to engage with Mr Tierney while the company’s media relations offices in Dublin and London have also declined to respond to inquiries.