1-0 for Yahoo! As ECJ denies Football Dataco Database Copyright Protection for Fixture Lists
By Clare Atkinson, associate, Fox Williams LLP
The European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) recently delivered its highly anticipated judgement in the Football Dataco Limited and others v Yahoo! UK Limited (Case C-604/10) database case, from a reference from the English Court of Appeal which was made in December 2010. This is the latest in a series of ECJ decision over the last few years that have been reshaping European copyright law.
The case concerns the conditions under which databases may be protected by copyright and challenges the traditional UK approach to the subsistence of copyright.
Football Dataco is the football fixture licensing...
...arm of the English and Scottish Premier and Football Leagues. Dataco licenses the fixture lists for a fee to commercial entities that use the database to provide news information services and to facilitate gambling activities. The case arose out of a claim brought by Football Dataco and various football governing bodies in relation to the unauthorised use of their football fixture lists by Yahoo and various bookmakers.
The person compiling the football fixture list has to take into account certain “golden rules”:
- No club shall have three consecutive home or away matches;
- In any five consecutive matches no club should have four home matches or four away matches;
- As far as possible each club should have played an equal number of home and away matches at all times during the season; and
- All clubs should have as near as possible an equal number of home and away matches for mid-week matches.
In addition to these rules, when selecting dates for fixtures, the compiler has to take account of certain “specific date requests” from clubs. The club requests include date requests, requests for two or more clubs not to play at home on the same day, or requests... continued on page two >