Monday, February 06, 2012

Pub trouble for FAPL

The reporting of the recent High Court judgement by Lord Justice Kitchen in FAPL v QC Leisure suggests that  the outcome was a partial victory for both sides. It might be that I should have gone to SpecSavers but from the transcript of the judgement it looks like the FAPL did not secure much.

To quote LJ Kitchen "I my judgement S.72(1)(c) means what it says (the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988).   The showing or playing of a broadcast in a public house to members of the public who have not paid for admission does not infringe any copyright in any film included in the broadcast". This covered, for those not familiar with the case, the showing of FAPL matches in pubs using foreign decoder cards.

He went on to refuse to grant relevant injunctions and refer matters of detail to the Patent County Court.

It is difficult to see how these two outcomes were what the FAPL were after (maybe like the grim smile when another reindeer jumper comes your way at Xmas) .

There is doubtless an opportunity to take a different approach based on unauthorised use of trademarks and focus on the IP specifically owned by the FAPL but this was not really the basis of the action initially

Common sense requires that the law is changed here as clearly while this is legally correct it does not help protect IP owners and creators which has been a major thread in all the recent European Legislation. If the Digital Economy Act ever emerges properly this would be another area (on the long list) that needs careful consideration.