Below is a great piece that spells out the importance of a key European case concerning cross-border rights and access to Premier league footie. Once again – rights owners, creators of content and production companies are coming under attack. OK – I get annoyed that I only get certain live games on my Sky package but I could pay and get more. I was not a fan of borish Andy Gray & Richard Keys – but Chris Kamara is wonderful. For me – that’s life.
I do not have any more moral right to watch sports packages that cost a fortune to put together anymore than I have of demanding free boutique bourbon from my local pub. “But I’m a fan of Jefferson bourbon. Why is it so expensive?” – would not go down well. The pub has to make a living producing their bar services. As any student of copyright law knows it took a few Parisian composers to demand free food from the cafe that was using their music to entertain their customers – to help trigger the modern publishing industry. It was a principal essential to freedom of expression and artisitic endeavour. Nowadays – the wisdom of the crowd seems be ‘sod off you greedy creative – can’t you see I’m trying to run a cafe here!’ As a fan of footie and pubs I have seen the crowds of blokes clinging to the bar during big games and the happy barman struggling to keep up with thirsty demands. The only reason he is busy is because of the entertainment – just as when the pub was paying for a DJ, a pub quiz or a comedian. If they feel the footie licence is too much – the brutal answer is go find something else to bring in the crowds. If the footie is as important to their business as beer, crisps and elelctricity, then that’s life. The case just starting to take shape could have massive repurcussions for Sky, Football and the licensed trade. The big issue may be the control of rights and distribution but there is a deeper question here re people’s willingness to pay for content at all. Perhaps I would feel more sympathy for the pub trade if they were more community spirited themselves – rather than increasingly booze barns. Instead – although I do not love all things Sky I hope in this case they succeed in controlling who watches their content and the price. Pubs need Sky and footie but Sky and footie do not need pubs. Rather than being anti-Sky pubs should be building this key partner – not trying to undermine it.