Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Another blow for Murdoch?

I was pleased that Karen Murphy, the landlady of a pub in Portsmouth who chose to show a Greek broadcaster's coverage of Premier League football rather than Sky's, won her case in the European Court of Justice yesterday.

I've watched live football in pubs broadcast from Greece, Scandinavia and North Africa.  With Sky charging pubs £700 a month and overseas broadcasters around £60 you can see why. And like me, a lot of the people watching live foreign broadcasts of a match at 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon - games which Sky itself can't show - are people who have been priced out of actually going to the ground by the Premier League clubs.

The idea that you should be able to buy stuff cheaper from elsewhere in the EU seems pretty fundamental to a free trade organisation and the judge hearing the case was quick to side with Ms Murphy on that point. Whether the Premier League manages to reassert its control by witholding copyright permissions and whether many domestic Sky customers switch to other channels remains to be seen but the mere possibilty of the Murdoch empire losing some more money as a result of her bringing the case should make any decent person raise a glass to her.

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