The streaming of football matches into pubs from Al-Quaeda TV continues unabated.
Many who couldn’t make the thankless trip to Berkshire on Saturday could be found in various hostelries, cheering on Sunderland as they built an attack that had actually happened two minutes earlier.
The venues for this televisual feast are well known to the public, so the police must know where they are too. But is it illegal?
The cops could stop pubs it all in an instant. The fact that they don’t suggests legality. But does a telly showing a computer feed count as “televised”?
I think I’m pretty clear on the law. There are just one or two points that require clarity.
Any website that makes content available without the rights owner’s permission is unlawful.
But what if the website is based in Mumbo-Jumboland? The Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 only applies to the UK.
It was as far back as 2011 when a Portsmouth pub landlady won a supposedly landmark court case, when the European Court of Justice said she could show live Premier League football from cheapo foreign channels, instead of forking out for the likes of Sky.
However, her victory was marred slightly by the fact that she also apparently lost. The matter has not lost any ambiguity over the years.
But that was a television rather than an internet feed. What is the law there? What is the difference between an individual accessing a feed at home and a pub doing the same for commercial gain?
Are pub customers breaking the law by watching? What is the difference between live games in the Premier League, the EFL and other competitions? What will Brexit mean for the law?
Apart from all of the above, I think I’m pretty clued up.
According to acquaintances who watch pub feeds, a couple of things are clear enough.
The first is that it’s better to be at the match, even a Sunderland match, than to rely on a dubious and wholly unreliable internet link.
The second is that pub goers with a phone who tell people what will happen, two minutes before the images on the screen have caught up, are in no position to complain at the punch on the bracket.