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Football Association Premier League -v- QC Leisure and Others [2008] EWHC 1411 (Ch)

Case Summary  |  Judgment  |  24 June 2008


Mr Justice Kitchin has decided that a number of key issues in a dispute between the Football Association Premier League, and various suppliers of foreign satellite decoder cards and publicans who have installed foreign satellite systems, should be sent to the European Court of Justice for a ruling. The Premier League is alleging that these activities breach its rights under Part VII of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 over decoding devices which give unauthorised access to broadcasts containing Premiership football matches and that showing these matches in the United Kingdom involves infringement of a number of copyright works embedded in the match broadcasts. The defendants rely on the fact that the cards they are importing and using are not pirate devices but are genuine cards issued by the foreign broadcasters, and invoke the provisions of the Treaty of Rome on free movement of goods and services as well as EC competition law.

 Mr Justice Kitchin stated that the issues in the case "are so fundamental that they should be considered by the ECJ at the earliest opportunity." From within 8 New Square, James Mellor QC, Charlotte May and James Whyte acted for the FAPL, and the defendants were represented by Martin Howe QC and Stephen Vousden.