back to article Sky loses pub footy case

Sky has no legal right to stop people using cheaper non-UK decoders, according to a European legal opinion. This is not a binding opinion, but it deals a blow to Sky's desire to license its content country-by-country within the EU. Karen Murphy, a pub landlady from Portsmouth, faced £8,000 in fines and costs for using a Greek …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Europe when it suits.

    Just like with mobile phones there seems to only be a "European Union" when its at a cost to you and I.

    If i have to use the same currency and face the same monetry policy and soon the same rights for police in an increasingly united states of Europe, then why can a company treat it like the separate country entities when it maximises profits.

    I am not anti-europe but do it or don't do it, this silliness just means its pants for everyone (except those who suddenly find they can benefit from economic migration).

    1. The Cube
      WTF?

      Like when it suits your roaming charges perhaps

      What are you moaning about?

      Without the "European Union" you would still be paying £1 a minute for roaming whilst on holiday in the EU and still be paying £5 per MB for "roaming data" because, of course, local Internet access is so much more expensive to provide when the user is in another country. Next time you are on holiday make a cheap call to thank Ms Vivien Reding for everything she has already done for you.

      Yes, it would be ideal if the Commission could also shut down the local pricing differentials but they are already closing down many of the scams that the mobile operators and other thieving bastards pull. Just look at what has happened to the prices of domestic white goods in the Euro zone since the Commission enforced the right to buy and receive warranty from any EU state. Now Germans pay the same for a Bosch washing machine made badly in Spain as the Spanish do and retailers can buy stock in any territory.

      If the Commission gets any more pro consumer and anti corporate profiteering the Americans will have to invade and "bring democracy" to our horrible socialist state so that our oppressed population can get back to existing only to make corporates richer.

      1. Graham Marsden
        Flame

        Re: If the Commission gets any more pro consumer

        Well they could start by deciding that grey imports are *not* covered by Copyright and Trade Mark legislation!

      2. thecakeis(not)alie

        @The Cube

        Steelie Neelie for prez of the world. I am learning German in hopes to move to the EU...but I will stick around just long enough to see if Canada signing CETA changes anything here. We are completely dependant upon the US for our Economy right now...I suspect that CETA would change that in just a couple of years. Might start our social policies back towards "sanity and logic" and away from "Tea Party and ***ing bonkers."

        Either way; go EU!

    2. Roger Mew

      TV et al

      According to the EU, nationals of a country are free to watch a TV program wherever they may be in the EU without let or hindrance. This also applies to I believe any form of transmission, eg internet.

      Now sky and others have been probably breaking the law on the methodology and also others over the copyright thing. Hopefully this will bring about the fall of EU sectionism and lack of EU freedoms being blocked by big money not getting things all their own way.

      We should all badger the EU to get the same union rights as the US, why is it that a person in Illinois can get Florida radio and TV yet a French man living in Dover is not allowed to receive French TV and radio on the internet.

  2. Peter Galbavy
    Big Brother

    powerful "interests" will ensure this doesn't get through...

    Or else I could look forward to being allowed to buy "designer" clothes imported for retail sale from other EU countries. Oh, hang on, that's not allowed. Wish they'd make there minds up.

    1. Anton Ivanov
      Flame

      You can do it already, what is your problem?

      For example: I know which factories in Bulgaria do the manufacturing for some of the boutique French and Italian labels and where exactly do they sell unlabelled surplus. As it is in the same country and there is no export-import it is totally legal.

      To be more exact, it took the wife an hour to figure that one out a couple of years back.

      If you were _THAT_ interested in having the same suit for 40£ instead of 4000£+ sans the label you would have long figured that out.

      So stop grumbling and apply Google creatively for your own benefit to see exactly where do French and Italian manufacture their stuff. Find the closest 100,000-300,000 town. Walk the small shops (not the mall) downtown. You should hit the surplus shops on the 2nd-3rd attempt.

      1. Jamie Kitson

        Yep

        Just bought a grey import D7000. Nikon say they won't honour the warranty, but I've never used a Nikon warranty anyway.

        1. Avatar of They
          Thumb Up

          Title

          Surely if it is a europe wide agreement they have to?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great News

    Hopefully sheeple will work out that Satellite TV != Sky soon too.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She used a card that was way too expensive

    The Greek service is actually overly expensive.

    Price for a Sat package which includes Sports, Animal planet, the lot from BulsatCom - under 7£ per month. Polish packages are roughly the same in terms of price.

    A comparable package on Sky starts at 19.50£ and is maintained solely by means of "contractual geographic restrictions".

    If that is not a violation of the EU common market policies dunno what is.

    1. handle

      "7£"?

      Second time in this comment thread that someone has failed to express the currency properly!

    2. King Jack

      Pub Licenses are Different

      You are quoting domestic packages, to show footy in pubs is another package and it's expensive. Have you ever noticed the 'pint glass symbol'? That is shown in pub broadcasts.

      TV/SAT companies carving up the EU is wrong. The EU is meant to open boarders not close them. We should be able to watch TV from all EU states and buy packages from anywhere. SKY did a deal with Maggie to somehow grant exclusive deals to Ruppie.

  5. lou

    Contractual matter between Greeks and Premier League?

    Surely the contract between the EPL and the Greek broadcaster will state that they have the right to broadcast in their own territory and not beyond?

    I'd have thought that they were likely in breach of their own contract with the EPL.

    The legality of that contract is another matter, but I guess it was entered into willingly by both parties.

    1. John I'm only dancing

      Legal smeagal

      That is the whole point of this case. Is it legal to have separate rights for each EU country for the same product? The whole point about the EU is that everything is equal.

      If it goes some way to dealing a mortal blow to Murdoch, great. I like my football but being forced to pay an extortionate amount of money each year to the dirty digger really gets my goat, subsidising useless gits expensive lifestyles (ie the John Terry's of this world).

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Don't get too ecstatic

        On the face of it, you might think that this is great - and there are lots of good arguments for the tearing down of territory-based rights restrictions in various ways.

        For a while, you might even be able to buy a cheap foreign card and point your dish at the right beam to pick up football for a bit less.

        However, if the PL is no longer able to sell rights per territory, what happens next? Is there a cheery free for all, with people all over Europe buying cards willy nilly? Or will the PL decide that they will sell one package of rights for the whole of Europe?

        If they do that, who do you think has pockets deep enough to buy those pan-European rights, and potentially sell them on to 'partner' broadcasters in other countries?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Missing the point I think

          "If they do that, who do you think has pockets deep enough to buy those pan-European rights, and potentially sell them on to 'partner' broadcasters in other countries?"

          Talk about selling regional rights is the core problem.

          The fact that some commercial organisation can deal to get exclusivity in a region is basically anti-competitive whether it be country-wide or anywhere else for that matter. They are basically saying that others cannot sell that product in a region. This has no place in an open market and makes no sense in the modern global economy anyway.

          1. Nigel Whitfield.

            Not at all

            The issue is not that there is exclusivity of rights per-se, but that the way it is done prevents people from buying from elsewhere in the EU.

            The point that quite a few seem to have missed is that - as is widely thought my many people - the result of this is that the PL sells rights on a pan-European basis, instead of regionally, then there are very few companies with the scale and resources to buy them.

            Sky is one (Mediaset has been mooted as another). Sky already has retail operations in the UK, Italy and Germany. If it bought pan-European rights, it would then be able to retail through partners in other countries - in just the same way as it retails through TopUpTV and Virgin in the UK.

            There would be competition, because you could buy from different broadcasters. But effectively, as with the situation in the UK now, Sky would set the base price and the only way anyone could offer a lower one would be via different bundling arrangements, or selling below cost.

            There is no suggestion at all in the ruling that rights will have be to sold to multiple people per territory; simply that when someone has rights to one country, chasing after the punters like this is not on, and is a breach of the single market rules.

            This ultimately makes the rights to a single country less attractive, because a few (though not many, I bet) will buy from elsewhere and put up with on-screen graphics in a different language, and needing another dish. Some companies may aggressively try to push their sales into other territories, rather than tacitly going along with the middle men who typically do this at the moment.

            And so, as the value of single territory rights drops, because of increased competition, it becomes more likely the Premier League will want to sell across the continent. And, at the same time, the big groups like Sky will see a chance to grab a stranglehold by buying those rights, and retailing via partners.

            So, if the country by country regime falls by the wayside, there is a very real possibility that, far from getting to stick it to Sky, as many people fervently wish, they may actually end up stronger (or, if not Sky, one of the other big European media groups may triumph).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Satellite coverage

      Any Satellite the Greeks are using will probably broadcast to all of Europe (and perhaps parts of North Africa). The Greek broadcaster does not have a choice about this. The only way they can limit reception is by limiting the sale of its decoders to within their own borders. This will not stop anybody from physically moving a decoder from Greece to a Portsmouth pub.

      Theoretically the Greek broadcaster could buy and launch its own satellite with some sort of template that only allowed signals to reach Greece but this would be so expensive that they would end up bankrupt.

      1. lou

        Spot Beams, CA Callback, etc etc

        There are lots of ways a broadcaster can limit where the coverage can be received and/or decoded.

        The use of spot beams, getting the STB to 'phone home' and so on, and that's before you get into the clever ways of doing it.

    3. CaptainHook

      Greek Broadcasters

      You are probably right, the Greek Broadcasters probably don't have the right to broadcast to Britain, which would mean that they shouldn't be selling decoders and cards to british addresses.

      However, this case was about Sky claiming they could stop customers using a source other than Sky which isn't quite the same thing. This is a contract issue between Sky / The Premiership / The Greek Broadcaster, not a legal issue involving the customer.

      Sky went after the wrong people, there was no way a judge would rule that a consumer couldn't use a competitors product given the whole point of the EU is to ensure freetrade within the EU.

  6. Miek

    Not so bad

    An £8k fine is probably slightly less than the actual UK monthly Sky Sports fee anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      This actually may be true..

      The manager of my local told me that he was paying £1,200 per month for Sky so he has now switched to a foreign decoder at a fraction of that. He also said he was charged by Sky according to the size in area of the pub. Now this is a pretty small pub so I would hate to think what others pay if this is true. They just brought it on themselves.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good news!

    I heard a guy from the soccer cartel (whatever it's called these days) threatening to withhold soccer matches from British telly altogether if this opinion is upheld in the courts.

    There's just no downside to this at all, is there?

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Happy

      Football fans are very passionate about the game

      I can imagine this person will be swinging from the nearest lamp post within 5 minutes of this going into effect, if they tried it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @The Fuzzy Wotnot

        Ah, but the British have been beaten into submission over so many things lately, both domestically and internationally, that they'd probably just lay down and accept it.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: @The Fuzzy Wotnot

          Yeah, we totally suck, as the Americans would say, right?

          (It's 'lie down', I believe.)

  8. lou

    But we're not dealing with countries

    I think this talk of countries is wide of the mark.

    The Premier League, along with all content owners, sells rights to broadcasters, not nations.

    There is no law that says a supplier must sell at the same price to all customers, right? If I have a bag of widgets to sell, if I can get €10 from customer A and €15 from customer B that's down to me. The EU can't knock on my door and tell me to stop.

    So, assuming the Greek satcaster has a contract with EPL not to broadcast outside Greece, surely that's where the problem is? And that has to be a matter between content owner and content broadcaster?

    1. MAPINGUARI

      Broadcast outside Greece?

      Possibly someone more knowledgeable on the matter could correct me, but is the broadcast still actually made in Greece? Surely that's where the transmission originates, and the end user is just pointing their dish at the satellite? Is there anything stopping me buying a subscription in Greece and setting it up here?

    2. Guus Leeuw
      Grenade

      RE: But we're not dealing with countries

      No, we're deailng with products that are equally available in multiple countries inside the European Union.

      The EU mandates that such products shall be equally priced in every EU country.

      For the case that got everything rolling, search for something akin "Germans buying VW Golf across border", where some long years ago Germans would go cross-border to buy a VW Golf, import it into Germany, and still be cheaper off compared to buying it in Germany directly.

      You could argue the same thing with gasoline for your car. Or with clothes, or with anything that is sold in multiple countries in the EU, the EU dictates that stuff is equally priced. Simply to stop local shopowners going bankrupt because everybody goes cross-border.

      Now this case: Sky Greece sells EPL for £5 in Greece, and EPL for £19.50 in the UK. That's thusly not allowed. Either the Greece have to pay more, or the UK people less, or both.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But we are not dealing with Terrestrial TV

      ITS a Satellite. Every satellite broadcaster in Europe broadcasts to nearly all of Europe. They have no choice because its a satellite!!

    4. Nigel Whitfield.

      Sort of ...

      The PL sells rights to a broadcaster, but they sell the right to broadcast those programmes to a particular territory (which is why, for example, the Sky contract says you should be in the UK; using a Sky box in France, say, is a breach of that contract).

      And, in some countries those rights might cost more, depending on the popularity of the Premier League (or whatever else is being sold) and the circumstances in that country. For the UK in particular, the PL and its players have grown fat and greedy thanks to Sky's determination to beat other broadcasters off, and hang on to the rights.

      In other countries, if there's no competition, then the PL might not get much for the rights, and so the local broadcaster can sell them for less to their own subscribers.

      But all that's possible on the understanding that those broadcasters then don't sell subscriptions to people in other territories; and the Greek one is clearly quite happy to sell them to a Portsmouth pub owner. At which point, the PL steps in and says "Hang on, we thought we had the rights to that, sod off"

      The EU already has rules that say you can't prevent reception in one country of broadcasts from another (with very few exceptions, which don't include this). The rights regime is the thing that's supposed to stop Greeks selling cards to UK residents, and it's that that is likely to be determined to be against the EU rules.

      You're right that the Greek broadcaster doesn't have to sell at the same price to everyone; that's not at issue. They could charge more to a UK customer, for extra admin, or because they feel like it. But what the Advocate has said said is that, regardless of the rights, they should be able to sell to that UK customer, and the PL shouldn't be going round fining someone just for buying something from a country in the EU where it's cheaper than in the UK.

      1. lou

        Satellite TV footprint can be restricted

        Satellite TV can be beamed into specific areas just like terrestrial.

        Think of the satellite like a giant Maglite, it can do a wide beams and spot beams at the same time.

        Even once the signal has been received there are many ways to limit the decoding of that signal to a specific group of people.

        1. spodula

          Yes but

          Surely this would have to be a tranciever by Tranciever thing, and satelite trancievers are expensive wee beasties to hire.

          On top of that, as you would be able to use the tranciever for one area, there would be less different channels you could share the costs with, so not only would you cover less of an area, the individual channel cost would go up as well.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          @lou

          It all depends on the satellite. There are several different satellite systems in geo-synchronous orbit including Astra, Eurobird, Hotbird, Eutelsat amongst many others. Not all of their transmission footprints are the same, and some are better in southern Europe, and some in north/north west. For example, most of the working Astra 1 and 2 satellites cover most of northern Europe, but not southern Italy or Greece. Chances are the pub was using one of the other satellites which cover southern Europe, some of which are nor encrypted and can be picked up using equipment with the right dish, even though it is not intended for a particular region.

          It really is an issue with the content provider and the broadcasting company, as has been pointed out in other comments. Sky cannot prevent someone buying equipment to point at an out-of-region marginal satellite, even if it does overlap with their paid-for service.

      2. Jack 12

        Not necessarily equally available

        As I understand the product is not equally available in all countries. Different broadcasters get rights to different games. Specifically with football, no UK broadcaster gets rights to broadcast games kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday, this is partly to protect the gate receipts of smaller clubs. Foreign broadcasters often do get rights to these games. Surely this has to be considered?

      3. lou

        Not comparing apples with apples

        But it's not the same company!

        The rights are sold by one company to the highest bidder in each country.

        It's not Sky UK and Sky Greece charging different prices, it's Sky UK and a Greek Broadcaster charging different prices. There is no law to say any product must be sold at the same price by different vendors.

      4. lou

        You're confusing the content owner and licensees

        The PL is the rights owner, they sell to broadcasters.

        Sky, the Greek Broadcaster and any number of others are licensees.

        Sky are, mistakenly, suing a pub for not using Sky, I'd agree this is doomed. As under EU law a consumer can buy goods and services from anywhere in Europe.

        Whether or not the Greeks have the rights to broadcast to the UK is another matter. The PL could, if they wanted, go after them for broadcasting outside the contractually agreed area.

      5. Nigel Whitfield.

        Ummm, no...

        Sorry, but "with anything that is sold in multiple countries in the EU, the EU dictates that stuff is equally priced" is wrong.

        There are plenty of examples where that's patently not the case. What the EU says is that people should be able to shop freely, and buy from wherever they want, and the hope is that a single market will, ultimately, lead to the harmonisation of prices.

        But they can't dictate that things are equally priced because a) they don't like price fixing and b) retail taxation (eg VAT) isn't harmonised across the EU, or even within the Eurozone.

        The main reason people buy a car from one country instead of another is precisely because it's cheaper, due to differences in things like first registration fees, and an EU insistence that thing like warranties aren't restricted when you do that.

        There are lots of areas where people do shop cross-border, because it's cheaper - they do it in some areas for alcohol - the Baltic has a busy trade of ferries carrying drunken Scandinavians to and from Germany - or tobacco; around the Irish/NI border, the flow of traffic depends on the relative strength of the currencies. And sometimes, yes, local outlets near borders suffer as a result.

        Notwithstanding firms like Apple, who now set a uniform EU price for the sake of simplicity, prices do vary considerably between countries, and (except in cases of profiteering, like wholesale mobile roaming rates) the EU doesn't generally have a problem with that.

        What they do insist upon is that you have the freedom to buy from where things are cheaper, and in this case, the Advocate has decided that that freedom should trump the right of the the PL to sell by territory.

      6. Roger Mew

        EU

        Under EU law its straight competition if the supplier does not like it tuff. It is not illegal to buy and use a Sky box in the world, there is no law that says you cannot and in fact the stupid bit of paper that sky wants you to sign for the contract is actually commiting an offence to try to restrict it to certain areas.

        That was actually admitted on ITV when they said it was illegal bla bla and they had to do an apology.

        If a thing is purchased in the EU its legal in all the EU.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Title here.

      I think the point is that as consumers within the EU, we can chose to purchase your widgets from any EU country. You as a company don't have the right to say "those widgets I sold in Greece can only be bought by Greek people and used in Greece".

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    The irony

    Sky initially only had a licence to broadcast to Luxembourg. BSB thought it had a monopoly on the British satellite market but unfortunately signals from Astra satellites bled occasionally over the borders of Luxembourg to cover the whole of North and Western Europe. So Sky's position is doomed by its own precedent. Remarkable how long they've been able to milk it though.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    freetards

    Google Spiderbox

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Doomed? I'm not so sure

      I'm really not convinced that Sky is doomed, as I hinted above.

      I'm no fan of Sky, personally, and I think it will be great for viewers if they can get things cheaper. But while this may look like a slap in the face for them and the greedy sods of the Premier League, I wouldn't be so sure, just yet. It may turn out to be something of a pyrrhic victory for the consumer.

      Ultimately, it will depend on the final ruling, and what the Premier League does next.

      Best case for the punters, if selling rights by territory is deemed not allowable, is that the Premier League decides that they'll sell rights on a European basis, non-exclusively, perhaps one broadcaster per country. Ordinary punters will still be able to shop around the continent to find a suitable broadcaster and buy a package at the price that suits them. They may save money - but in fact, I'm not honestly sure how many people will do this, given that they'll probably need a second dish and receiver set up to do it.

      Some will, sure - but how much will they save? If that Greek broadcaster can now only buy a package that includes the rights for the whole of Europe, will they be able to retail it quite as cheaply as they can at the moment? And will the saving be enough for fans to put up with the extra dish and foreign language commentary?

      Worst case is probably that the Premier League decides to sell a single exclusive set of pan-European rights, to just one broadcaster, which may then sell on the rights within some territories, to local retail partners. Perhaps the EBU members could club together, but do you really think that's likely? Far more likely that Sky - with their existing operations in Italy and Germany contributing - would be the one group that snapped up the package.

      Sky and the Premier League are pretty close, not surprisingly, and they will almost certainly be working out ways in which they can turn this to their advantage, no matter what the outcome. I know that's not a popular opinion (waiting for all the thumbs downs!), but they're certainly not going to shrug and say "Oh well, that gravy train's stopped, never mind"

  11. JaitcH
    Alert

    Murdoch losing? Just give him a little time to show his 'appreciation' so the judges get it right.

    There are so many price differentials in the EU - it always seems the British are getting the short end of the stick. The EU has been in existence long enough for all external vendors to understand the rules.

    Unfortunately Canada also suffers from the same price discrimination but only with different countries.

    There are English and French TV networks with different 'blackout' rules and often English speaking people will view a match on the French network with the sound turned down using the English radio network as the source of commentary!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    So Sorry R Murdoch...

    lols, although i'm sure they will work out a new method to continue stiff us all.

    1. Mike Richards

      Waiting for the News International response

      Even now the finest minds of the Murdoch press will be trying to retain Sky viewers with a hearts and minds campaign based around a high-minded concept such as 'foreign telly gives you AIDS'.

  13. lou

    @ Tom Welsh

    Given the size of the deal between Sky and Premier League, it would seem that withholding rights from the Greeks would be a more popular idea.

    Sky just broke the 10M customer barrier, they don't want a mass desertion of subscribers.

    Without Sky the Premier League has a very big hole in funding, something that won't be welcomed by either side. With this in mind I'd anticipate the Greek broadcaster being 'leaned on' to ensure only Greek subscribers can receive the service.

    1. spodula

      I doubt

      there will be a mass desertion. Most people arent interest in watching the match in greek.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: I doubt...

        Seperate audio feeds - you can choose what commentary you want to listen to on many of the foreign channels.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes but...

    The Premier League has the right to sell its content to whomever it pleases at what ever price it can get.

    This legal opinion is saying that you or I can purchase any legal goods in the EU for use in your own country. In other words you can purchase a decoder from someone in Greece and use it on your own premises.

    The Premier League can still sell to any broadcaster at any price it can get.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Please Reconcile:

    "Sky loses pub footy case"

    "The opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice, which is considering the case, but is just a possible legal solution which the judges might consider."

    Tut tut... Murdoch has not presented his 'opinion' to the courts yet...

  16. Farai Tsomondo
    Grenade

    hmmmm..

    So the lady bought a Sky decoder and subscription in Greece, and Sky UK have a problem with this..

    Not a million miles away from the roaming charges scenarios of yesteryear, which were brought down but are still higher than local calls. Same product (phone call capability), priced differently depending on where you chose to consume it. End result, local contract lengths increased, certain local call package perks were cut or dropped, and the regional variations reduced.

    It's a tricky situation because the EU seems to have looked at this purchase with no discrimination on the region of purchase, when the product is priced and sold differently by region.

    I can't see how sky or any satellite provider can enforce this without breeching some sort of rights, unless geo-location technology is legally used in authenticating to the satellite network and receiving signal. It looks like the next deal sky sign won't be so rewarding to the PL, and will be THAT little bit more painful for other broadcasters..

    1. lou

      Not so rewarding for the PL? Good news!

      That can only be a good thing!

      Less money going into the pockets of footballers, via the Premier League, will make almost everyone happy.

      I think the last deal, where Sky paid £1.024Bn will be the high water mark for PL rights.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Crazy

    Shocking editorial standards at the Reg these days. This article is so wrong it's hard to know where to start.

    "Sky loses football case" - Sky didn't even bring the case, it was brought by the FAPL. Sky haven't lost anything.

    "Sky has no legal right to stop people using cheaper non-UK decoders" - it never had. It was the FAPL who, as the rights holder of Premier League Football, had a problem with it, because they had sold exclusive UK rights to Sky.

    "Sky's desire to license its content country-by-country within the EU." - Sky doesn't own the Premier League and doesn't licence it to anyone. It buys the content just like any other company.

    "using a Greek Sky decoder" - no such thing. Greece's satellite broadcaster is called Nova. Not owned by or related to Sky in any way.

    The commenters eagerly rubbing their hands and crowing about this being some kind of smack in the face for Murdoch are missing the point. If the FAPL can't sell 'exclusive' rights to any particular country any more, that means that they won't be able to sell the rights for the premium prices which the exclusivity made worthwhile. So Sky pays less for the rights in future, (while subscriptions will doubtless remain pretty much unchanged) and Murdoch is actually laughing all the way to the bank.

    So if anything, this ruling hands an enormous payday to Sky and a smack in the face to the Premier League - but presumably there'll be an equal lack of sympathy towards the clubs and players affected because they probably get paid too much anyway.

  18. Tezfair

    I blame the public

    If people had stopped paying ever increasing subs and stopped supporting sky then a lot of this would not have happened.

    Sky see's football as their cash cow across the board so if people had said 'no' earlier then its likely that sky sports would be affordable both publicly and commercially as they *knew* that people were not going to pay it.

    Same with footy players, they demand higher wages so the ticket prices go up and up. Eventually people will stop forking out because no one will be able to afford it.

    I ditched sky about 8 years ago and have never regretted it and im not a football fan, so its win win for me.

    Good for the publican getting cheaper TV. If shes paid for it and the greeks have licensed it then there's not an issue.

    Its no different to the truckers going over to France for cheaper diesel so not having to paying high UK fuel duty. I don't hear the gov taking the truckers to court.

  19. Gordon861

    Wider Implications

    I know this result is non-binding right now. But if the final decision is binding what is this going to do to the ruling that the non-UK adult satellite channels cannot be used in the UK?

    The law in the UK is already a joke considering that you can view the stuff on the net or buy videos, but you cannot watch it via your satellite dish.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Absolutely nothing

      This ruling is about the rights holder saying to someone "Ere, you can't buy that from Greece, you gotta buy it in the UK"

      That's not the case with porn channels. It's not the rights holder stopping people from buying them, it's the government, essentially not allowing them a UK broadcasting licence. That's entirely separate from this case, and when it comes to "moral standards" the EU broadly allows different countries to set their own agenda.

      The ECHR sometimes (eg gays in the military, anti-discrimination) does sometimes get involved in the moral issues, but only when a case is brought by someone, and it tends to follow, rather than lead on liberalisation.

  20. Piloti
    Grenade

    I am confused about this ......

    It is not often I side with SKY [in fact, never] but I do have some sympathy with them on this.

    If I understand this correctly, what this Advocate is saying is that the packaging of country specific rights, to watch English footy, could be ended. Which means that the Prem' League will not be able to charge other countries, Germany, France, for example, on a country by country basis to watch English football.

    As I say, I have some sympathy with this. For example, this is English football and if the French / Germans want to watch it, then they pay what is appropriate for each market to watch it. It is English football after all.

    The flip side is of course that, Portugal, with it's much lower income than the UK will be charged the least and as such that will /may/ become the benchmark for euro-pricing of English football. Which means it could make football cheaper to watch in England. Which would mean less money for the clubs… and so on.

    I am not too bothered about football. My club, York, are never on the box anyway, but my number one sport, Rugby, could be impacted by this, as a significant amount of money is paid to Rugby through the TV companies.

    Another thought strikes me as well. The BBC often screen Rugby games via Free View. Does this mean, in theory, that the BBC will have to make their broadcast free to the eurozone, because it is 'free' in the UK ?

    Confused…. I am.

  21. nnnndave

    cartel

    Competition can only be a good thing.sky and the fa have been reaming publicans for too long. some friends of mine had full fat sky upstairs and a FTA box downstairs in the pub, and were constantly being harassed by bskyb saying they were braking the law, should br paying for the subscription for the pub based on rateable value of the venue. Plus ou5 of area phone calls of people asking 'are you showing the match this afternoon'?

    Customer service at its best.

  22. alcopops

    Will it make much difference?

    People can already purchase foreign subs + rotating dishes over the net if they wish to. It's usually supplied by third party companies and in the end isn't really that much cheaper.

  23. Heineken Please
    Pint

    Missing the point...?

    Most people here seem to be missing the point. The cost (high or not) for a DOMESTIC card to receive the footy is one thing. Pubs etc have to have a public performance card and this is VERY expensive (I believe based on rateable value of the premises). Increasing costs of this PP card have led many smaller pubs to drop Sky football in the UK as they find it very hard to recover the costs in beer/food sales etc. Indeed, I know some whose revenue is now up because they don't show the football...!

    As one commentator mentioned, properly paid -up premises have the beer glass bug on the bottom right of the screen AND the license number on a sticker in the premises front window (to make for easy checking by whoever $ky use to police such premises).

    Like it or not, $ky spend much £££ to have the rights in the UK to broadcast such material, a pub landlord using a domestic card (or cheapo inport) for the use in the public area of the pub are asking for trouble. They can, of course, use a domestic box in their private accommodation above the pub. Just don't mix up the two areas...!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strange that Sky don't go mad when the boot is on the other foot

    Very strange given Skys attitude in this case that they are not hopping mad about all those ex-pats in Europe who have Sky dishes and STBs, pay a Sky subscription, and apparently live in places like Jersey and Guernsey according to their bills....

  25. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    No contract

    The Pub Landlady had no contract with Sky. They could only try to do her for breach of Copyright.

    However, if the Pub Landlady is able to freely able to buy goods and services through the EU, then she can legitimately have a contract with the Greek supplier and is entitled to use the service, so no breach of Copyright.

    There is no privity of contract between Sky and the Pub Landlady, so they cannot enforce any contractual rights.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Sky and its role in Rip-off Britain

    Sky posted a huge increase in its porfits, which is generates by abusing its market dominance in the media arena. About time OFCOM really did something about it before it has an absolute strangle hold, by being the sole provider of Media/Comms to 10 million (current customer base for Sat. TV) house holds (triple play.... TV, Phone and Broadband). Market dominance is having 40% of the market..... they are surely only 26 million houes holds....... time to act OFCOM and free up this content and get prices down.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Breweries

    What's the odds that Sky try leaning on the brewery to make it difficult for her to continue running the pub once the media loses interest in the story?

    The breweries should be right behind her, offering financial and legal support. They need to reduce the running costs of pubs and the wider industry now more than ever. And as Tesco says, every little helps. £1000/month could be the difference between a small pub staying open or not.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Less

    ...money for old Rupe? Surely not...

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