Murphy v MPS

March 2011

Broadcasting, content owners
Murphy v MPS – The Advocate General’s opinion might have serious ramifications for the pan-European TV market and territorial licensing deals within the European Community

One of the most interesting copyright vs competition law cases has finally reached the European Court. Its one we have been watching and waiting for!  In Murphy v MPS, a pub landlady, Karen Murphy was convicted of copyright infringement for using a Greek ‘Nova TV’ decoder to play English Premier League football matches live in her pub. Sky owns the right to screen EPL matches in the UK but the Premier League sell the rights to other broadcasters in Europe such as Nova in Greece. Unsurprisingly it was a lot cheaper to subscribe to the Greek service and unsurprisingly Sky decided to take action against her and she was convicted in the Magistrates Court and this was upheld in the Crown Court. This was then appealed to the High Court who referred it to the ECJ. The Advocate General has now decided that (and in a ‘nutshell’) copyright is trumped by completion law ….. so it was LEGAL for Ms Murphy to purchase her football from Greece … well it is a common market!
We commented on this case back in March, April and in May 2007 and you might be interested in Ben Challis’s articleDoes Sky have an enforceable a monopoly on live premiership football in the UK? subsequently briefly updated on this website here and here .

Football Association Premier League Ltd v QC Leisure; Karen Murphy v Media Protection Service Ltd [C-403/08 and C-429/08]

More here and see the debate at The City University Blog at some really interesting comments on both the copyright and the competition law positions – and on the economics of football (!) and from Tom Frederikse here

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