Feeds

Brussels to rule on cheap pub football sat decoders

UEFA claims copyright infringement

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been asked whether football rights holders can stop a company importing cheap satellite television decoder cards to allow games to be shown in pubs.

Football's European governing body UEFA has sued Euroview, which imports decoder cards from elsewhere in the EU allowing pubs access to matches from foreign television feeds at a fraction of the cost of paying for rights from UK broadcasters.

The High Court has said that the CJEU can resolve aspects of the dispute, in which UEFA claims its copyrights are being infringed.

It is the second such case to be referred to the CJEU from the High Court. The English Football Association Premier League (FAPL) and QC Leisure and AV Station are still waiting for answers to the questions referred to the CJEU in a similar case in 2008.

The European Union is founded on the principle that cross border trade should be free and unfettered, but the football rights market is based on the ability of sporting bodies to sell rights to broadcasters in each country for very different prices.

Because interest in English football is far greater in the UK than other EU countries it can demand a much higher fee from broadcasters here. Those broadcasters then charge householders and pubs fees to view games.

In the FAPL case it was estimated that pubs would have to pay £6,000 a year to Sky Sports for matches they could show via foreign-bought decoders for £800.

UEFA claims that its copyright is infringed when foreign decoding systems are used to show football matches in UK pubs without a licence from it. It said that if Euroview's practice was allowed to continue then whichever country had the cheapest access to a particular event would become the de-facto EU-wide broadcaster for it.

Euroview claimed that it was protected by Section 28A of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act, a section which implements EU law on satellite re-broadcasting. This section gives a broadcaster immunity from copyright infringements that are temporary and essential to the operation of a broadcasting system.

QC Leisure and AV Station relied on the same argument in their case and the High Court said that because that case involved a clash of EU copyright and trade laws, the CJEU should be asked to interpret the laws.

Euroview asked the High Court to put its case on hold until the CJEU had ruled in the FAPL case because the questions to be asked would be very similar, but Mr Justice Kitchin, who had presided over both cases, said that questions should be referred in this case as well.

The Court said that if it refused to make a reference now it would be denying UEFA the chance to argue in front of the CJEU that the importing of decoding systems was against the law, and so ordered that the case be referred to the CJEU.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.