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Premier League Decision Has Implication For All Media Rights

February 7, 2011

The article below summarises some of the issues emerging from the European case involving a UK pub (the charmingly named ‘The Red, White & Blue’) – accessing Sky Premiership footie from a non Sky-UK feed. To cut out Sky, they import the feed from Greece and Sky is none too happy.  The impact of this case goes beyond pubs, footie and Sky. It could be massive for those involved in the creation and distrubution of content.

Whilst I am not a fan of all things Sky – Andy Gray and Richard Key’s borish laddishness for example and the fact my package does not give me access to every live game or movie I want – a lot of what I receive under my subscription is fine. Chris Kamara is brilliant and every few weekends I get to watch a live game on a Sunday afternoon. Nice. I pay for it just as I have to pay for comedy clubs, a gig or nice night out in a decent pub. They create and I consume and if I do not feel I am getting value for money them I spend my money somewhere else. I am a big fan of boutique bourbons and I really enjoy sitting in a bar having a wee sip. I wonder how Karen Murphy (owner of ‘The Red, White & Blue’)  would take it if I said “I’m a big fan of that Jefferson bourbon – I really am, but I want it cheaper please becuase I think you’re charging me too much” ? Short and to the point methinks.  As any student of copyright history knows  it took a few composers to demand free food from a Parisian cafe that was using their music to draw the crowd – that kickstarted the modern principles of creators rights & publishing. The relationship between creators and those that used their work has been a symbiotic one ever since. Creators and users (be it other media, theatres or pubs) need each other. Nowadays, technology companies, music download sites and pubs seem to be saying to composers and other creators; “Yeah, we know your producivity and creativity is helping to prop up our business, but we just don’t want to pay you for it and we have the technology to cheat you anyway”. As a TV producer once told me; Sony, Phillips and other tech manufacturers are quite happy to charge low budget TV shows and movies being made on shoestring a lot of money to lease their equipment – and quite right too. If a young film producer decided to ‘borrow’ some equipment without paying for it he’d be calling for a good lawyer. And I am sure Sky get charged qutie handsomely from their suppliers. So why shouldn’t the Red, White & Blue pay for the footie that brings in the punters? Interestingly, the article below from The Guardian seems to side with Ms Murphy as pubs are of course ‘under financial pressures’ and Sky is of course part of the Evil Empire. So pub’s struggle has nothing to do with broader economic trends, poor management, crap food, thuggish customers, bad service? Are there are no pubs paying Sky’s fees doing very well nicely thank you? Looking how packed my local is for a big game I would think that of all their suppliers, Sky is the one doing most to drive punters into the bar. No. Pubs must be struggling because Sky charges £700 a month. Perhaps the pub should stop paying for DJ’s, pub quiz hosts and comedians too? After all, punters want this – but why should the landlord have to pay for it? I wonder if The Guardian could offer me free advertising – as my little startup business is under financial pressures too. The genie is out the box and no doubt there are ways for me to watch movies, listen to music and watch live footie for free. And being fairly connected, I have no problem with using the new tech. But there is a big difference between a few fans sharing clips and videos on social networking and a commercial drinking establishment filling up the bar on the back of other people’s creative work. Of course I do not see this as Good V Bad and Pubs V Sky. Instead of wanting to go head to head with Sky – pubs should be engaging with this vital element of their supply chain not trying to undermine them. A key and vital supplier, like a key customer is not someone to be abused or taken for granted. In the meantime, I’m going to ‘The Red, White and Blue’ and I am going to ask for some cheap bourbon. See: Media news, UK and world media comment and analysis | Media .
via Premier league decision could have implications for other media rights.

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