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Murdoch and the law

Out of the blue a metaphorical hand grenade was thrown into the the Sky Television HQ yesterday, by a legal opinion in an appeal to the European Court of Justice by an English publican, against a fine of £8000 for breach of copyright. Karen Murphy’s crime? Showing English Premier League football in her boozer using a Greek satellite decoder rather than subscribing to the much more expensive Sky option. There’s a long way to go, but it seems likely that the European advocate general’s advice will be accepted by the court and that by accident, a pan-European TV licensing model will be created.

Not unnaturally, the Premier League is spitting feathers about this, as its current deal with Sky and ESPN is worth £1.78 billion. But many people on the other side of the argument will be spitting feathers also, as I am, at the revelation that British criminal law is being used  to enforce a fat cat monopoly that works in favour of Newscorp and Rupert Murdoch, and to the ludicrous situations which that has spawned. It’s going to take a while for the Murphy case to reach a conclusion, but if it leads to a fairer market-place, to sanity being restored to the football industry, and to the end of a situation where one unexceptional footballer is paid enough every week to feed ten thousand starving children, it can’t come fast enough. But will it work out that way? I doubt it; there’s too much money involved.

Incidentally, for those who didn’t know, there are websites where it is possible to watch live football streamed on to your computer.This is one of them. http://myp2p.eu/index.php?

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