Landlady confident of High Court legal win

4/10/11 JN  Karen Murphy who runs the Red, White and Blue in Fawcett Road, Southsea, won her European court battle against the Premier League over the use of a foreign TV decoder to screen games.   Picture: Paul Jacobs (113509-11)
4/10/11 JN Karen Murphy who runs the Red, White and Blue in Fawcett Road, Southsea, won her European court battle against the Premier League over the use of a foreign TV decoder to screen games. Picture: Paul Jacobs (113509-11)

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EXPERTS have warned that the historic victory of a Portsmouth landlady might not spell the end of Sky’s monopoly on Premier League broadcasting.

On Tuesday the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Karen Murphy after a six-year legal battle over whether it was illegal for her to show matches using a cheap foreign channel in the Red, White and Blue pub in Fawcett Road, Southsea.

The decision could cause a shake-up for the Premier League after its exclusive agreement with Sky was said to be ‘contrary to EU law’.

But concerns have been raised that broadcasting elements protected by copyright – such as music and logos – could still be against the law.

Mrs Murphy, 47, said she is aware that even after the court’s ruling there are some copyright issues still undecided but was confident they could be worked out.

She said: ‘Hopefully the music can be dealt with by paying a nominal fee, like any other music we play in the pub.

‘I am sure that without a doubt they will try anything they can to stop people from bypassing Sky, but I don’t think copyright will be a big problem.’

However, some commentators, such as former head of programming at BSkyB David Elstein, disagreed and said copyright would not be so easy to overcome.

He said: ‘Although personally she can buy a Greek decoder and smart card and watch football in her own back room she can’t show it to customers, because of the copyright aspects.

‘I don’t think in the end this ruling is going to change very much.’

He added that one effect of the decision will be to make a lot of money for BSkyB because they can now broadcast Premier League matches to customers in Europe.