Pub landlords in Britain face jail sentences and heavy fines for showing football matches illegally in a BSkyB crackdown to keep a grip on its exclusive monopoly of Premier League coverage.
BskyB is tightening the screws after its high court victory against pubs using foreign decoder cards to show football matches in public.
BskyB has published warning adverts in the drinks trade press saying it will hit back against pubs who infringe its copyright.
The warning follows a court win against an Essex landlady who was fined more than £19,000 for showing Premier League games without a commercial viewing agreement.
The Premier League, which took the legal action in partnership with BSkyB, posted a notice on its website saying it was "entitled to copyright protection of certain artistic works and graphics that formed part of the relevant broadcasts of football matches in these proceedings".
It warned: "There is now the prospect that companies providing a service that allows the 'communication to the public' of any such artistic works could cause their customers to be liable for copyright infringement."
Officers from the Federation Against Copyright Theft will be visiting pubs to check they comply with the licensing requirements for showing big matches.