From Sat 2000
The UK Football Association are bullying UK publicans once again . The
FA previously took UK satellite dealer Vision On to court in 1997 after being found to
have in their possession smartcards and decoders capable of decoding Premier league
football broadcast by European satellite channels . The following is a letter received a
few days ago from the FA.
For the Attention of: The Licensee
As you are no doubt aware, we organise the "FA Barclaycard Premiership". The
majority of Premiership matches take place on a Saturday afternoon ("the Saturday
Matches"). We do not show live coverage of the Saturday Matches in the UK as to do so
would contravene UEFA regulations which provide that television broadcasting of football
in England is prohibited between 14:45 and 17:15 (local time) on Saturdays.
However, we have the right to exploit live television coverage of the Saturday Matches
outside the UK. In accordance with our rights, we have Licensed the right to broadcast
Saturday Matches outside the UK including but not limited to Scandinavia, for inclusion in
broadcasts intended for and licensed only for reception in those particular countries
("the Transmissions"). The Transmissions are by satellite television and are
encrypted. They can only be viewed if the viewer has certain satellite equipment.
Therefore, apart from via agreed Broadcasters (BSkyB, ntl, On Digital and Telewest), the
broadcast of all live Premiership matches on any day in the UK is prohibited. The
possession of equipment which enables access in the UK to broadcasts live Premiership
matches (for example the Saturday Matches) is prohibited.
Our attention has been drawn to the fact that the match between Fulham and Liverpool
was shown at The xxxxxxxxx on Saturday 2nd March 2002 at 15:00 to approximately 200+
patrons. Your conduct infringes our intellectual property rights which are contained in
section 298 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended by the Conditional
Access (Unauthorised Decoders) Regulations 2000. These provisions give us rights and
remedies against persons who, amongst other things, install, possess or use any "
apparatus or device designed or adapted to enable or assist persons to receive the
programmes" (section 298(2)).
Our rights were upheld in the case of The Football Association Premier League Limited
& Others v Vision On (Midlands) Limited , dated 5 July 1999, where it was decided by
Mr Justice Jacob, that the "apparatus or device" described above includes the
"complete kit for the reception of Premier League football matches" and includes
smartcards, decoders, satellite antenna and satellite receivers.
It has come to our attention that you are in possession of some or all of these goods,
and you are therefore clearly infringing our rights. We are entitled to all the rights and
remedies set out in section 298 and in particular, we are entitled to the delivery up and
seizure of the infringing goods against any person in possession of them (section 298(3)).
We therefore require an undertaking in the form attached herewith dealing with the
1 . That you will not now or in the future show live Premiership matches (including the
Saturday Matches) whether in part or in whole other than via a UK broadcaster authorised
to broadcast live Premiership matches
2. That you will by 12:00 noon on Thursday 21st March 2002 deliver up to us any and all
smartcards, decoders, satellite antenna, satellite receivers or any other equipment
whatsoever which is or could be used to receive encrypted transmissions of live
Premiership Matches (including the Saturday Matches) other than via a UK broadcaster
authorised to broadcast live Premiership matches
We require the undertaking by 12:00 noon on Thursday 14th March 2002 failing which our
solicitors have been instructed to commence proceedings against you forthwith and without
Please sign, date and return the undertaking to us within the deadline specified above.
A pre paid envelope is enclosed. We also draw to your attention that the possession of the
equipment which enables you to view these matches may constitute a criminal offence under
section 297A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended by the Conditional
Access (Unauthorised Decoders) Regulations 2000. A person guilty of an offence under this
section is liable on conviction in the Magistrates Court to a fine of up to £5,000 and on
conviction in the Crown Court to imprisonment for up to 2 years and/or an unlimited fine.
Should you be in any doubt as to your legal position or if you do not understand the
contents of this letter, or the undertaking sought, you should consult with your own legal
advisers. We hereby expressly reserve all our rights, including the right to make an
application to court for interlocutory relief, and we reserve the right to produce a copy
of this letter to the court on the question of costs.
For and on behalf of The F.A Premier League Limited