A Glasgow bar has become the first in Scotland to be hit with a court penalty for showing English Premiership football matches via the unauthorised use of foreign broadcasts. The Football Association Premier League (FAPL) have issued a release saying that the Merchants Quay bar in Paisley Road faces having to pay the FAPL up to £6,000 for copyright infringement in damages and costs awarded in the Court of Session - although the final amount has yet to be determined. The FAPL says the judgement follows an 18-month long crackdown in Scotland against bars using foreign feeds to show matches from the top flight of English football. The Premier League says it has sent 31 'letters before action' to pubs in Scotland. It says that in the majority of cases the pubs simply agreed to cease showing the matches. In five cases the FAPL took legal action against pubs and interim interdicts were awarded, preventing unauthorised broadcasts until a court hearing.
The FAPL have pledged further strong action as it undertakes a programme to prevent 'the undermining of its deal with Sky Sports and BT Sport for coverage of Premier League matches'. Readers of this Blog will remember the case involving Portsmouth landlady Karen Murphy which established that individuals living in the UK are allowed to use digiboxes which provide authorised services from other EU member states to watch Premier League football in the UK However this case did not extent such a right to commercial premises.
A Premier League spokesman said: "The courts granted the judgment following failure by the defendants to engage in the case, despite several attempts to contact the publican."
And also from Scotland - and the Scottish Law Society - who have said that proposed EU legislation allowing holiday makers travelling in Europe to access online content, such as digital film and TV services is 'too timid'. Whilst the Society has welcomed the European Commission’s proposed legislation, which would allow EU residents travelling within the EU to access digital content services which they have paid for in their home country, they have called for the legislation on cross-border portability of digital content services to be extended to cover digital subscriptions purchased by EU residents anywhere in the EU.
Jim McLean, convener of the Law Society’s Intellectual Property committee, said: “We’re delighted that the European Commission is looking at ways to improve online content services for consumers and welcome the proposed regulation which will allow EU residents to access digital services such as Netflix, Sky and Amazon Prime, when travelling within the EU on holiday or business. But he added: “However we believe the proposed legislation is too timid and should also cover online content services purchased or obtained by a subscriber within the EU, even if that is outside of their home country" and “This would align with the Commission’s strategy to allow for wider online access to works by users across the EU and would be more straightforward for both the consumers and the providers.”
Joined cases C-403/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd and Others v QC Leisure and Others and C-429/08 Karen Murphy v Media Protection Services Ltd
More on the Karen Murphy case here.