The pub landlady Karen Murphy has won the latest stage of her fight to air Premier League games using a properly paid up foreign satellite TV service.
Karen Murphy previously had to pay nearly £ 8,000 in fines and costs for using the
cheaper Greek Nova TV service in her Portsmouth pub rather than the expensive service provided by the Premier League and Sky.
But she took her case to the European Court of Justice who now say that national laws which prohibit the import, sale or
use of foreign decoder cards are contrary to the Treaty of Rome and the freedom to provide services across EU borders.
The decision could trigger a major shake-up for the Premier League and its current exclusive agreements with Sky Sports and
However, whereas the decision opens up opportunities for individuals to watch overseas broadcasts at home, it remains unclear whether games can be shown in pubs using foreign services, as the ruling also threw up a number of copyright
It seems to be a situation somewhat analogous to playing copyright music at home or at a business premises. CDs can be freely bought and sold from shops across the EU, but businesses still need a licence to play that music in their
premises to a wider audience.
However the judgement be very helfpful to private individuals, especially expats, wanting to subscribe to foreign services.
The ECJ said national legislation, which banned the use of foreign EU TV services,
could not be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend football stadiums .
However the court has ruled that although there is no copyright
in the matches themselves, there is copyright in the branding around the football - the Premier League graphics, music and highlights. If those are there, pubs will still need the League's permission to show its matches.
It's now up to the
UK High Court to interpret today's ruling, and that is not likely to happen for several months.