Fifa World Cup, beers, pubs and ‘live’ telecasts


Dear Lex,

It’s World Cup fever and I have a pub with a number of large LCD TV screens that carry ‘live’ soccer telecasts from South Africa. I get a good crowd every night but recently I found a way to subscribe for the matches from an IT company which can arrange for the same telecasts by using computer software but at a very much lower price. Would I get into trouble if I switch because I can get the service for 75 per cent less than what I am paying now. What do you think?

Mr Chee Ears

Dear Mr Chee Ears,

Since everyone is suffering from World Cup fever I guess I have no choice but to handle your query.

By the way what is your favourite? South Korea? Brazil? England? As for me, my favourite is Team USA. I like their football because it’s direct football and straightforward. No pusing-pusing. Your situation is unique and there is none as yet arising in Malaysia. However, there was a similar problem faced by a pub owner in England.

Karen Murphy was an attractive lass who ran a pub in Portsmouth, England, where she featured soccer matches from the English Premier League. She was convicted in Court for two offences contrary to s297(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (the CDPA). The charges against Murphy were that on Aug 19, 2006 and on Sept 25, 2006, she “dishonestly received a programme included in a broadcasting service provided from a place in the United Kingdom with intent to avoid payment of any charge applicable to the reception of the programme”.

The Premier League (referred to as FAPL in the papers from time to time) owned the intellectual property rights in relation to the screening of ‘live’ Premier League football matches. It granted exclusive licences to licensees to air ‘live’ Premier League matches in the licensees’ respective territories. In the United Kingdom and Ireland at all relevant times, the sole licensee was BskyB.

The programmes received by Murphy had been uplinked to a satellite, the Nova satellite, by a Greek television programme provider called Nova. Nova is the licensee for Greece for the football league’s material. It provides viewers with a satellite dish, decoder and decoder card. Nova viewers watching ‘live’ Premier League games will see a special logo, the ‘Live S7’ logo, on their screen.

Nova uses conditional access technology (CAT) via satellite, which means that the viewer needs a decoder card to watch the ‘live’ Premier League games. These cards are authorised by the licence for use in the territory of the licensee.

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