A GLASGOW pub has become the first in Scotland to be hit with a court penalty for showing top flight English football matches through unauthorised use of foreign broadcasts as Premier League administrators get tough on copyright breaches.

The Merchants Quay bar in Paisley Road faces having to pay Premier League administrators up to £6,000 for copyright infringement in costs awards, the Premier League say.

It follows an 18-month long crackdown in Scotland over the streaming of matches through foreign feeds in pubs to show customers matches from the top flight of English football.

The Herald:

Football administrators have pledged further strong action as it undertakes a programme to prevent the undermining of its deal with Sky Sports and BT Sport for coverage of Premier League matches live.

Individuals living in the UK are allowed to use European digiboxes to watch Premier League football.

But commercial premises need the permission of the copyright holders — the League and its member clubs.

A year ago, Premier League clubs were celebrating a huge windfall after competition between BT and Sky drove the overall value of the live TV rights to a record £5.14bn over three seasons from 2016-17.

The Herald: Sky and BT have agreed to pay a combined £5.136billion for a three-year package of Premier League matches to 2019

The figure represents a 70 per cent increase on Sky and BT's current £3bn deal meaning the broadcasters are due to pay an average of more than £10m per match.

The Premier League said that a judgement was made against the Merchants Quay through the Court of Session, having previously been issued with an interim interdict, to cease broadcasts, pending further proceedings.

The decree means the pub will have to pay up to £6,000 with the exact amount to be worked out in a further hearing.

A Premier League spokesman said: "The courts granted the judgment following failure by the defendants to engage in the case, despite several attempts to contact the publican."

The decree found the defenders identified as Merchants Quay 2012 Limited and bar manager Rose Hood, the company's sole director had infringed the Premier League copyright.

The Herald:

In the last 18 months the Premier League has sent 31 'letters before action' to pubs in Scotland.

In the majority of cases the pubs written to responded and agreed to cease broadcasts of matches which infringed copyright.

In five other cases in the last 11 months, the Premier League took legal action against pubs and interim interdicts were awarded, preventing unauthorised broadcasts.

The Premier League said that three pubs received interim interdicts in March, last year, The Drop in Waterloo Street, The Viceroy, in Paisley Road West and Monteith's in Gourock, Inverclyde.

In May there were further interim interdicts against the Horse Shoe Bar in Paisley and Bogarts in Kirkcaldy.

A Premier League spokesman said about the interim interdicts: "That means we are waiting for them to get to court and while we wait they are not allowed to make the broadcasts which we believe infringe our copyright."

He said of the latest case: "It's a further example for publicans that copyright infringement will not be tolerated by the Premier League or the Scottish Courts.

“We will continue to take action against suppliers of systems which allow pubs to breach our copyright, and pubs which do so like the Merchant’s Quay in Glasgow.

“This case follows action taken against several other Scottish pubs over the past two years and the Premier League will continue to take action against pubs north of the border if they make unauthorised foreign broadcasts of its matches.”

The Herald:

In November, it emerged Premier League executives were cracking down again on pubs south of the border who show games via foreign broadcasters.

A long-running court case with Portsmouth landlady Karen Murphy had forced the League to suspend a campaign of legal action against publicans who breach their copyright.

Merchants Quay did not respond to requests for a comment.