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European Court: It's free trade for a reason, dummy

European Court: It's free trade for a reason, dummy
Daniel Cooper
Daniel Cooper|@danielwcooper|October 4, 2011 11:51 AM
Primer: The EU is many nations with a single market, if wine is cheaper in France, a German can simply purchase it there. It's why Apple was censured back in 2007 for territorial iTunes stores that stopped people from shopping around. Anything sold in Europe on a per-country basis hangs within a grey area of free trade. That includes what many call "The Greatest Show on Earth" -- The FA Premier League. Sky, the Premier League's media partner in Europe charges £480 ($740) a month for pub and bar owners to screen their matches in their establishments. That's what prompted cash-strapped publican Karen Murphy to buy a decoder box and card from Greece's Nova company for only £118 ($180) a month.

Following a legal challenge that has lasted nearly 7 years, the European Court of Justice has ruled that whilst it's legal (or at least, not illegal) to own a foreign decoder in your own home, it is illegal for pubs and other public spaces to use them on copyright grounds. This means that many home users could snap up cheaper European services and erode the value of Sky's £1bn ($1.5bn) Premier League deal, which would make the greatest show on earth just a little less great.
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