A pub owner in south of England has won a ruling by the European Court of Justice to use a foreign decoder to show live Premier League football games in her venue.
Karen Murphy used a Greek decoder to show football in her Portsmouth pub in order to save more than £350 per month in comparison to what she used to pay to the national rights-owner Sky.
Ms. Murphy was taken to court by Sky six years ago and had to pay costs and a fine of about £8,000. But after she took her case to the ECJ, Europe’s highest court has ruled that freedom to provide services has been infringed, as national laws have imposed limits on import, sale or use of decoders from outside the UK.
Broadcasters have to pay the Football Association’s Premier League for rights. They then transmit the games via satellite, in the form of encrypted signal that could be accessed by subscribers using a card.
BSkyB, partly owned by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, has paid more than £1billon for the right to broadcast the games in the UK. The ruling means that individuals will have the freedom to look for better deals beyond their own borders.
When shown in public spaces like pubs, the ruling only covers the live matches. Other material, such as opening videos that have the Premier League branding are protected by copyright and Murphy needs to get permission of the FA to show them. This could lead to FA and Sky devising a strategy to have as much copyright-filled material in the games as possible in order to stop pubs from using foreign providers.
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