The IPKat's friends Alex Fenlon and Jim Davies both sent him this news from the BBC concerning the dispute between UK broadcaster BSkyB and publican Karen Murphy over the latter's right to show live UK football matches to her customers in the Red, White and Blue pub (right), Southsea, via Greek station Nova for just £800 a year, instead of paying £6,000 a year for a licence from BSkyB. What appears to be a two-man Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Pumfrey and Mr Justice Stanley Burnton) dismissed her appeal based on domestic law.
Giving judgment, Pumfrey LJ is quoted as saying that BSkyB had the exclusive right to screen or broadcast the matches in question in the UK and it was "apparent" Ms Murphy knew that was the case. However, the court had not heard arguments about whether European competition and free movement legislation might affect the case:
"So far as the competition law case is concerned, we do not at present follow how it is to be developed, and this appeal must therefore be restored for these points to be argued if that is what the appellant wants".The court granted Ms Murphy permission to reopen the appeal at a one-day hearing in January.
Several companies install foreign satellite equipment in pubs in the UK, including Digital Sales, run by Joe Ibrahim. He maintains that the ruling was unfair and inconsistent with copyright rules that covered other products:
"If what we're doing is illegal, then it will stop people bringing European cars into Britain and if you buy a DVD in Europe and have it shipped to you in Britain then that will be deemed illegal too".The IPKat looks forward to reading the transcript of this decision if it should appear on BAILII or elsewhere, since he is never at ease with media reportage of IP cases. He is also curious to see what form the questions referred to the European Court of Justice will take. Merpel says, more interesting than those questions is the lobbying that will be directed at the European Commission to open up the market for broadcasts in Europe.