Expensive fees have been said to cripple struggling boozers with the vicious circle of no sports TV, less trade.
Pub landlady Karen Murphy says her battle against Sky, ESPN and the Premier League is a moral victory. A victory which seen her win a landmark legal battle over the rights to show football matches in public places.
Murphy had been paying Sky Television £700 a month for the honour of screening football matches in her boozer, The Red, White and Blue Inn, and sought to find a cheaper way of providing the service to her customers. Via a foreign decoder Murphy bought Premier League football matches for £800 a YEAR through Greek satellite broadcaster Nova.
However the 47-year-old landlady soon found herself in court when Sky, ESPN and the Premier League declared she had breached copyright. The Premier League had sold UK match broadcast rights exclusively to ESPN and Sky for nearly two billion pounds.
In 2006 Portsmouth-based Murphy was found to have breached the copyright law and was fined £8,000.
However she disputed the ‘dishonest reception of a television reception’ ruling and took her battle to the High Court, which today over-turned her conviction.
“Brilliant, that’s how I feel. I was morally and legally right.” She told the press outside the courts, adding, “It’s a moral victory. This was big corporations thinking they are above the law.”
The victory for Murphy follows European legal debates by their Court of Justice who found that an exclusive system of allotting television broadcast rights was in contrary to EU Laws. They did however accept that the football leagues concerned do have copyright claims for ‘some parts’ of the broadcasts.
“It’s great news for pubs. I hope it changes the face of football.” A delighted Murphy said. She also when asked if she’d now show more games from Nova said “Watch this space.”
The ruling judge however has made it clear that there are still many other complex legalities concerning the screening of matches in such a way which will be looked into later.