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Yorkshire Pubs Warned of Stringent Penalties in Broadcast Crackdown

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A Yorkshire specialist in copyright law is warning the region’s pubs and bars that they could face significant penalties amounting to thousands of pounds if they continue to screen Premier League football matches using unauthorised foreign decoder cards.

hlw Keeble Hawson logoThe warning from Roisin McCrory of hlw Keeble Hawson Solicitors - one of the region's biggest practices with offices in Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster – follows new legal moves from the Premier League and BskyB to protect their exclusive broadcasting rights.

This development comes just months after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Sky broadcasts could be bypassed using cheaper foreign decoders. The latest threat means that pubs could instead be hit with claims for damages under copyright law.

Ms McCrory explained: “Last year the Premier League and BskyB failed to stop pubs using overseas decoders because, under EU law, this was considered a restraint of trade. However, a recent High Court judgment ruled that broadcasting logos, national anthems and pre-recorded footage – all part of the Sky/Premier League package – infringes copyright.

“Any pubs and bars using a foreign decoder to bypass Sky subscriptions should carefully consider their position. The Premier League and BSkyB are likely to take steps to maximise the benefits of this partial victory in view of the extensive legal battles which have led to this judgment.”

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