A number of pubs across Tyneside and the rest of the UK have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds to the Premier League for unauthorised screening of live Premier League football matches.
Licensing bodies claim that they must protect the Premier League's copyright because Sky and BT pay huge sums to the Premier League for the right to broadcast Premier League matches live.
Football Association Premier League Ltd & others v Karen Murphy
In the 2011 case between Football Association Premier League Ltd & others v Karen Murphy, Ms Murphy, a pub landlord, was convicted for showing matches without a Sky subscription. The landlord instead used a Greek decoder box.
In an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union it was held that Ms Murphy was free to use the Greek broadcasting services which were legally available in another member state of the EU which resulted in the High Court overturning her conviction in 2012.
Both the Premier League logo and anthem are copyrighted works which can still be infringed if an appropriate licence to use the works is not in place. In the recent cases some of the pubs used sophisticated technology that masked the Premier League logos in an attempt to prevent legal action being brought against them. However, this was not enough and the pubs were still found to have breached copyright and ordered to pay costs.
In addition, a private prosecution was made against the supplier of the illegal systems, and was ordered to pay £125,000.
The Premier League uses a company called ID Inquiries Limited to act on its behalf to identify premises illegally showing live FA Premier League Football matches.
Landlords are being warned that they must have an appropriate commercial (and not domestic which are considerably cheaper) subscriptionto show the matches. A Premier League spokesman said: "We would advise all publicans to ignore the lies peddled by suppliers who make false claims about the legality of foreign broadcasts of our matches, and to contact Sky Sports and BT Sport as they are both authorised to show live Premier League football in commercial premises in the UK."
The consequences of providing illegal broadcasts can be large fines and in some cases prison sentences.in: Case Law, Copyright, News