Foreign Satellite Viewing Cards and English Premier League Football: Implications of Recent Judgments for the Consumer

'Gbenga Bamodu


This article examines the impact of the outcome of a number of recently concluded judicial proceedings in the English courts and at the Court of Justice of the European Union on the use by consumers of foreign satellite television viewing cards. The article observes that while much focus has been placed on the effect of the outcome of the relevant cases on publicans and other commercial entities, not much attention has been placed on potentially serious implications that the cases have for private consumers.

The article highlights difficulties with the interpretation adopted in respect of section 297(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. In particular the article highlights the dichotomy that while use of a viewing card issued by a satellite television provider based or pursuing economic activities in the European Union is legal, using a similar card issued by an entity based outside the EU could potentially be a criminal act. The article also discusses the impact on consumers of the decision of the courts on the civil law elements relating to copyright infringement and provides a careful analysis of salient elements of the proceedings in both the Court of Justice and the English courts.

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