Football match fixture list copyright claim rejected
Football authorities in England and Scotland have had a court claim over football fixtures’ copyright rejected.
European judges said compiling match fixture lists needed “significant” work, but did not entail the creativity required for copyright protection.
Yahoo, bookmaker Stan James and sports information firm Enetpulse had been accused of breaching EU copyright laws.
“A football fixture list cannot be protected by copyright when its compilation is dictated by rules or constraints which leave no room for creative freedom,” said the European judges.
“Since a 1959 UK decision that such lists were protected, the UK professional football leagues, most recently acting through Football Dataco, have obtained many millions of pounds from betting operators and newspapers for the use of the lists,” he said.
Needless to say, those claiming copyright are not taking this lying down, and are trying to get the UK courts to overrule.
The decision is an important one, in that it reaffirms the principle that creative work is protected, not just any type of work.
It will be interesting to see what happens next.