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copyright in football fixture lists - they think it's all over

1 March 2012

The Court of Justice has confirmed the Advocate General’s opinion (reported by Browne Jacobson) on copyright protection for football fixture lists. In its decision the court found that the determination of all the elements relating to a single football fixture (date, time, venue etc) is a data creation activity. As such, this activity is irrlevant in an assessment of whether the fixture list has copyright protection.

The decision represents a serious blow to Dataco, as there seems to be no scope now for the English court to find in their favour. Football fixtures lists (and similar listings) have already been found not to attract database right protection and now cannot, it seems, be adequately protected by copyright. All this, in circumstances where everyone agrees that the level of intellectual effort and skill in determining all the elements relating to a single match is significant.

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