Football: European Court okays British pub's EPL screenings

4th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The European Court of Justice on Tuesday handed down a ruling in favour of a British pub landlady fined for televising Premier League football using a foreign satellite TV provider.

"National legislation which prohibits the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards is contrary to the freedom to provide services," the court said in a judgement.

It "cannot be justified either in the light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend football stadiums," it added.

The ruling by the Luxembourg-based court threatens a massive shake-up in the sale by owners and marketing by broadcasters of sports programming.

It follows a case involving Karen Murphy, who runs The Red White & Blue pub in the Southsea area of Portsmouth on the southern English coast, and the English Premier League (EPL) over the broadcasting monopoly on live matches.

When Murphy took over the pub in 2004 she cancelled the license to show live EPL matches with British satellite broadcaster BSkyB and signed up with the Greek service Nova instead.

Britain's Football Association Premier League (FAPL) "cannot claim copyright in the Premier League matches themselves, as those sporting events cannot be considered to be an author's own intellectual creation and, therefore, to be 'works' for the purposes of copyright in the European Union," the court said.

© 2011 AFP

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