The Premier League is planning legal action against up to a hundred pubs across England and Wales it suspects of illegally showing Premier League matches via foreign satellite channels and therefore breaking copyright law.
Under the current rules, when a pub uses a foreign subscription to show a Premier League football match, if it shows the League’s logo in its on-screen graphics or if the League’s anthem is heard, it is breaking copyright law.
Therefore, since it is unlikely that a game can be shown without this happening, any pub screening a Premier League match, even via a foreign satellite, is potentially breaking the law.
If successful, it will mean that the Premier League will have more power to stop public venues from using a foreign satellite decoder to avoid the higher charges BSkyB and BT charge them compared with private households.
It is understood that the League wants an amendment to the Intellectual Property Act, currently making its way through Parliament. The proposed amendment has also received backing from the record industry which stands to make millions from the proposed change.
The amendment would scrap a section of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act that currently allows venues, such as pubs or gyms, that do not charge patrons to enter their premises, to show broadcasts of video recordings without a licence from the copyright holder.
In 2011, a Portsmouth pub landlady who was showing matches using a Greek satellite decoder, won a court case against the Premier League when the court found that live sport could not be protected by copyright. However, the court was able to enforce the copyright on official Premier League graphics.
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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