Pub landlady scores in legal battle with Premier League


4 October 2011

by Stephen Gregory

The European Court of Justice has ruled in favour of a landlady fighting for the right to show Premier League football matches using a foreign decoder.

Karen Murphy, from Portsmouth, took the case to court after she was fined in the region of £8,000 for screening games using a cheaper Greek decoder rather than paying for a Sky subscription.

The ECJ has said that laws forbidding the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards contravene the freedom to provide services.

It said in a statement: "A system of licences for the broadcasting of football matches which grants broadcasters territorial exclusivity on a member state basis and which prohibits television viewers from watching the broadcasts with a decoder card in other member states is contrary to EU law."

The ruling potentially has massive implications for how football is watched in this country, effectively allowing anybody to purchase a cheap decoder from abroad instead of subscribing to Sky or ESPN.

There are however copyright issues involved which may yet stop matches from being shown in pubs and other such venues.

Mrs Murphy said: "I'm relieved, very relieved.

“It has been a rollercoaster, highs and lows, nerves... It has been a strange time and I am glad it is coming to an end.

"I feel I have taken on the Premier League and Sky."

However, she said she would not be reinstating her device until she gets the green light from the High Court.

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