Karen Murphy was cleared of her convictions at the High Court last week in the long running battle between her and Sky / FA Premier League on the use of a Greek decoder box to watch Premier League football in the Red, White and Blue pub. Initially the decision for her was an annual cost of about £800 for the Greek decoder against a monthly cost of about £700 for a Sky pub subscription.
Over the past 5 years, primarily due to the legal fees and costs involved this became an issue of Principle for Karen Murphy and her house and Pub were on the line if she had lost. Last year the European Court of Justice ruled that Sky / FAPL activities in carving up rights on a territory by territory basis were inconsistent with the single market and that the substance of the broadcast was not protected by copyright. Specific items such a title credits, music and trademarks could be protected however.
The High Court pretty much followed this line which suggests a couple of things;
1. Primary rights will now be sold on a pan European basis which will probably reduce competition and lower rights fees.
2. Enforcement of copyright / IP rights in sports rights will have to be much more detail driven rather than the sledgehammer that Sky and the FAPL were looking for. "Pirate" webcasts and transmissions will need to be analysed for specific examples of infringement as opposed to a broad presumption being in place across the body of the broadcast.
When asked about her motives for this high risk litigation she maintained it was an issue of principle and that she did not like being bullied............I guess both Sky and the FAPL picked the wrong person to go after here.