Not really a smartphone story but with all the talk on iPhones etc… I thought we’d inject something a little different.

 

A landlady in Portsmouth England who was was taken to court after using a Greek satellite service to broadcast football matches in her pub and took her case to the European court of Justice (ECJ) has won. Karen Murphy subscribed to the Greek service for 118 pound sterling a month instead of the Sky fees of 400 sterling per month. She used imported decoder cards to unscramble the signal. She was initially fined 8000 pounds but following a court decision yesterday she has won her case. The ECJ stated that national laws that prohibit the sale or use of foreign decoders are contrary to the freedom the EU offers for sale of goods and services and cannot be justified.

The full ruling is here:

http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2011-10/cp110102en.pdf

 

While the ruling is great for people who are at home using their own foreign bought decoders the court also stated their concerns for copyright law in relation to broadcasting these decoded signals in public areas, such as public houses.

 

The ruling has really caused a major upset for the Premier league, who make substantial money from selling the tv rights to media corporations such as Sky. The ECJ did state that matches cannot be copyrighted since the Premier league don’t own them but anything prior to the match such as a film would be copyrighted and not viewable in a public house without a special license. It may be possible for the pubs to show the match from kick off only.

 

The ruling may have other impacts to cross border pricing within the EU (thinking here of iTunes). Watch this space.