And I’m taking my football home – landmark IP case today

Like that fabulous Nike advert used to say … football, football, football (cue a fried egg). And I bit of IP.

The ECJ has today has confirmed that there is no copyright in Football Dataco’s fixture lists because there has been no “intellectual creation” in the process of creating the fixture list. It did not matter that other very significant efforts and skills were deployed, they just weren’t fancy enough.

It’s a big deal this, because it’s basically saying that Football Dataco’s charging model based on copyright licensing is no longer valid. This is a boost to online aggregators and betting companies, who have long been philosophically at odds with Football Dataco on the legal basis for charging.

But it is so not the last we will hear on this one: copyright in databases is a narrow form of copyright and there will now be an analysis (lawyers wearing very serious suits, sitting in dark rooms, doing a lot of thinking …) of how to flex the business model rather than walking off the pitch in a huff (with our without the ball).

This goes beyond football fixtures lists by the way – if we look at recent decoder case with Mrs Murphy and a couple of pints of beer, there’s a little snippet of anti-licensor mentality at the ECJ.

Danger that way lies, my little digital friends!


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