A well-known pub in Dublin 4, The Beach Tavern, has been breaching Sky Sports premium soccer copyright since late last year, the Circuit Civil Court heard yesterday.
Barrister EJ Walsh told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that Premier League fixtures had been shown without licence in the pub since September 2017 and Sky UK Limited was seeking judgment in default of appearance against the pub owner Raymond O'Keeffe.
Ms Walsh, who appeared with Rachel Solanki of Eugene F Collins Solicitors for the broadcaster, said the pub had been written to on several occasions and asked to give an undertaking that it would desist from breaching Sky's copyright or, alternatively, apply for a Pubs and Clubs Licence, which would allow it to legally avail of the service.
She told the court Mr O'Keeffe had failed to do so and Sky was now seeking judgment against him.
She said Mr O'Keeffe had accepted in correspondence that he was the licensee of the premises and although served with yesterday's proceedings, he had failed to attend court.
Ms Walsh said Sky claimed it was already owed in excess of €35,000, but a specific assessment could be determined at the full hearing.
She said The Beach Tavern, in Bath Street, Irishtown, Dublin 4, was still trading despite having been recently put on the market.
Ms Solanki, in an affidavit opened to the court, stated that an investigator who had attended at the pub on several occasions since September 2017 had noted main event programmes of matches between Chelsea v Arsenal, Manchester City v West Ham, Manchester United v Manchester City and Burnley v Man City had been shown without permission or licence in the pub.
The court heard that Mr O'Keeffe had been warned on a number of occasions that the penalty for infringement of copyright was a maximum fine of €127,000 or imprisonment for up to five years or both.
Judge Linnane entered judgment against Mr O'Keeffe on the basis that specific relief would be obtained at full hearing.
Sky is also seeking an injunction restraining Mr O'Keeffe from further breaching its copyright.