Saturday 1 February 2014

Pub landlord faces £65,000 costs after Premier League action

1-0 to the Premier League?
A pub landlord must pay £65,000 in legal costs for infringing the Premier League's copyright by showing football matches using a foreign satellite card which had been authorised only for private use. The Premier League (FAPL) took Anthony Luxton to court after various matches were shown at the Rhyddings pub in Brynmill,  Swansea, between September and December 2012, in what seems to be the first of the threatened actions we noted last week - and comes hot on the heels of the FAPL's call for amendment to the Section 72(1) defence under the CDPA.

Firstly - apologies - this update is taken from news reports - but it seems the League's QC, Helen Davies, told the High Court that the pub landlord infringed  the League's copyright by showing live matches using a satellite card from a Danish broadcaster, during which the Premier League's distinctive (and copyrighted) logo was depicted. The decoder card was only authorised for use in a private home, said Ms Davies, "and not for use in commercial premises such as the pub" and the use in the public bar was effectively "communication without consent", arguing for summary judgment against Mr Luxton on the grounds that his defence had no realistic prospect of success.

Mr Luxton's team argued that it was an "illicit attempt" to stop foreign decoder cards being used. He also said that the League's claim foundered under European Union competition laws - but this was rejected. Mr Luxton's solicitor Paul Dixon said after the case: "We will be looking very closely at the possibility of an appeal." Ms Davies had claimed Mr Luxton's "Euro-defence" was "nothing more than a contrived attempt to avoid the obvious consequences of his conduct".

Following a three-hour hearing, Mrs Justice Rose granted the League's application saying "There is no defence to this claim and summary judgment must be entered" and made a "declaration of infringement". She also issued an injunction barring further unlawful screenings.

She ordered Mr Luxton to pay £65,000 in legal costs, pending final assessment of sum he owes, with estimates putting the final sum as anything up to £125,000 - with one report saying the Judge exclaimed ""Goodness me" on hearing the League's costs bill. and some earlier wise words on what might happen after the MPS v Murphy case on the Ashurst website here

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