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EU reportedly to investigate pay TV territory rights rules

The European Commission is set to launch an antitrust investigation into the sale of premium sports and movies rights that could break the model of geographically-restricted rights deals within the EU, according to press reports. 

According to the Financial Times, The Commission’s planned investigation follows on from the European Court of Justice ruling in 2011 on the case of Portsmouth pub landlady Karen Murphy, who was fined for showing English Premier League football via a Greek satellite service in her licensed premises. The court ruled that any consumer could buy a TV decoder smartcard in any country.

The new investigation will focus on whether territorial protection clauses that prevent operators that license rights from making their services available across EU borders break competition laws, and could last several years, according to the paper.