Is It Legal For A UK Pub To Access A Greek Satellite System To Get Cheaper Football Games On TV?
from the we'll-soon-find-out dept
cc alerts us to a very interesting legal case in Europe that’s now going before the European Court of Justice. It involves a UK pub, which thought the rates that satellite TV provider Sky Sports was offering for Premier League football were ridiculously high — and instead went and got a satellite card from a Greek satellite TV provider who offered Premier League matches for about 1/10th the cost. The Premier League, who is notorious for over-aggressively trying to limit people from watching the games except through (expensive) approved methods sued. The pub is arguing that this is a restraint on basic free trade principles:
“If I wanted to go and buy a car, I could go to any garage I like. Me, as a publican, if I want to show football, I can only go to the Sky garage, and have to pay ten times the price of anybody else [in Europe]. I don’t believe that’s fair.”
Murphy’s case rests on her freedom to trade, as she argues that restricting her choice of satellite TV provider to just Sky contravenes the principles of free movement of goods and services between countries in the EU.
This could be a huge deal if she wins. Currently, in Europe, each country has entirely different licensing schemes and systems for all sorts of content, creating something of a mess at times. There’s long been an effort underway to create pan-European licensing, and a ruling in favor of the pub owner here might take at least some aspects of the content market to a point where there’s now a de facto open market across borders. Copyright holders will scream bloody murder if this happens, but they also screamed bloody murder when the VCR was introduced, so sometimes it’s a bit difficult to take them seriously on such things.