After eight years pub landlady Karen Murphy has finally won her battle against the Premier League and Sky, with the European Court of Justice ruling that exclusive licensing is against the law. The landmark court case could slash landlords’ annual subscription charges by over half and bring more televised football to the public.
The ruling means that Sky and ESPN can no longer charge pubs annual subscription fees that often exceed £10,000 per year. The decision could cost Sky an estimated £200 million per year and impact on Premier League income from selling TV rights to games which, some say, could take money from clubs and their multi millionaire players.
Mrs Murphys clash with Sky began in 2005 when she found she could make huge savings on her annual £8,400 subscription and get Saturday 3pm kick offs by buying the matches via a Greek broadcaster for only £800 per year.
Mrs Murphy was taken to court by The Premiere League, claiming she was in breach of copyright for buying games through a Greek satellite broadcaster for a much cheaper price. The Premier League, who have sold rights to broadcast games in the UK exclusively to Sky and ESPN, took legal action against Mrs Murphy which was upheld by a British court and led her being given an £8000 fine.
Defiant, Mrs Murphy took the case to the European Court of Justice, she comments;
‘If you as a man on the street wanted to buy a car you could go to any garage and buy one. As a publican I could only go to a Sky garage and pay ten times what you would expect to pay. I fought this because I was angry. I fought because it was an unjust thing and I don’t believe these corporate people should dictate how much I should pay for a system. I’m thrilled. It’s taken quite a chunk of my life but I’m glad I took it on. It’s been like Karen versus Goliath.’
Sky, however, remains defiant and recently have stepped up their campaign against publications who infringe copyright by showing Sky sports without a valid subscription and have bought legal action against a number of Scottish publicans through the Court of Session. Alison Nolan, deputy Managing Director of Sky Business warned the action ‘will help to warn pub landlords of the consequences of televising Sky’s content illegally’
Maybe it’s time to treat your self to an early Christmas present of a TV satellite system and a decoder card from the Nova channel?