Karen Murphy poses for photographers inside her pub in Portsmouth (Reuters)
Karen Murphy at the Red White and Blue pub in Portsmouth (Reuters)

Pub landlady Karen Murphy has won her legal battle to overturn a conviction for using a Greek TV decoder to show live Premier League games.

Murphy was cleared in London's high court for using a cheap Greek decoder at her pub in Portsmouth to bypass controls over match screening.

The concession follows a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that found partly in her favour on various issues of law.

The case could trigger a major shake-up in the way football TV rights are sold. Instead of paying £700 a month for Sky, which has the rights to show Premier League football in the UK, Murphy paid £800 a year for the Greek decoder, saying she "couldn't afford" Sky's charges.

The ECJ ruled in October 2011 that having an exclusive system for showing Premier Leauge matches was "contrary to EU law".

Murphy has been fighting the prosecution for six years for showing live football at the Red White and Blue pub. She has been forced to pay nearly £8,000 in fines and costs because she used the foreign decoder.

The high court judge said her conviction did not establish a precedent and that the complex issues of TV rights would be determined "at a later date".

Andrew Nixon, Sports Group Associate for law firm Thomas Eggar LLP, had this to say about the decision.

"Today's ruling must not be taken as a carte blanche for publicans to show Premier League matches; far from it, in fact. It will be recalled that the European Court of Justice (who reviewed the Murphy and QC Leisure cases together) also ruled that 'additionals', such as opening video sequences, the Premier League music, certain graphics and pre-recorded highlights did fall within a category protected by copyright.

"That in itself creates a major problem for publicans who wish to take advantage of their entitlement to use foreign decoders, in that they would need the permission of the Premier League to use these copyright protected works."