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Wednesday, 23 August 2006

SKY'S THE LIMIT, BUT AL JAZEERA'S CHEAPER


Sky's the limit, but Al Jazeera's cheaper

The IPKat is grateful to Jonathan Mitchell QC for drawing his attention to this feature published by the International Herald Tribune. In essence it reports on the unauthorised transmission by English pubs of Premier League football matches that have been picked up off Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera's sports station. The commentary is in Arabic, but football is a universal language -- it can be appreciated perfectly well even when the sound's turned off. The Premier League has been suing pubs for copyright infringement, claiming that there's a perfectly good licence available to show Premier League games via exclusive licensee Sky. Pub owners say Sky's too expensive, though.

The IPKat is torn in two over this. He deprecates any unlawful siphoning off of broadcasts, particularly by pub-owners who do so for their personal profit rather than for the altruistic pleasure of bringing football games to the impoverished masses. However, he dearly wishes to see more competition for the supply of broadcast football games to the public and dislikes the notion that television viewers have to subscribe to Sky and pay extra for the privilege of watching football games: the extra broadcasting revenue pumped into the game appears to make it more expensive for fans, not cheaper. Merpel says, "Didn't I see you peeping in through the pub window, trying to watch the game for free ..."

See IPKat post of 12 May, "Easy win for UEFA", here

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