On 4 October 2011 the Court of Justice (the "CoJ") handed down its much awaited judgment on questions referred to it from the English High Court. The questions related to two joined cases, including Ms. Murphy's well publicised challenge to UK national laws that prohibit her from using a foreign TV decoder card to show Premiership football matches in her pub.
The Football Association Premier League (FAPL) grants broadcasting licences for the live transmission of Premier League games. These licences are granted on a territorial basis for three year terms, and oblige broadcasters to prevent the public from receiving the broadcasts outside the territory covered by the licence. Broadcasters must therefore ensure that the broadcasts are securely encrypted and that decoding devices are not supplied to persons who intend to use the device outside the licensed territory.
The High Court considered two cases relating to the supply and use of foreign decoder cards in the UK. One concerned an action brought by FAPL against suppliers of decoders to pubs in the UK and against four pubs that used non-UK decoders to show live Premier League matches included in the channels of Greek and North African broadcasters. The second case concerned an appeal by Ms Karen Murphy against a criminal conviction brought against her under Section 297(1) Copyright Designs and Patents Act 19881 for showing Premier League matches in a pub using a Greek decoder card.
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