EU: Premier League games can be shown via foreign decoders

04 Oct 2011  |  Liz Jaques 

A pub landlady has won the latest stage of her fight to air Premier League games using a foreign TV decoder.

The European Union has ruled that it is not illegal for individuals to buy set-top box decoder cards from foreign broadcasters, allowing viewers to seek better sport subscription deals outside of the UK.

The ECJ said attempting to prohibit the "import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards is contrary to the freedom to provide services and cannot be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend football stadiums".

However, the court ruled against a bid by Karen Murphy to be allowed to use the Greek decoder to show live football matches in her pub at much cheaper rates than BSkyB charges commercial premises in the UK. BSkyB paid more than £1 billion for the UK broadcast rights for Premier League games.

The court said the transmission in a pub is a "communication to the public", which means that without the permission of the FA Premier League, Murphy is in breach of the copyright directive.

The ruling could have a huge impact on the way BSkyB and other UK and European broadcasters buy rights to sport, films and foreign TV shows. Sky, which makes around £200 million a year in revenue from selling commercial subscriptions, saw its share price fall by by just over 3% to 635.50p on Tuesday, as the city reacted to the European ruling.

Read more via the BBC and the Guardian.

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