European Court of Justice Rules Against Football Dataco

Published Friday, March 02, 2012 -

The European Union has been struggling with numerous issues and any of them end up in some sort of litigation keeping lawyers busy and wealthy in the process.  One issue that comes into focus is the e commerce problem and how online gambling is affecting the laws of many member states in an adverse fashion.

The Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a ruling recently squashing efforts by Football Dataco that alleged copyright infringement by wagering operators.  The case referred from the Court of Appeal of England and Wales involved a charge that certain media and sports betting firms were guilty of intellectual copyright infringement.
A press release issued jointly by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) pointed out the details of the judgment, The copyright protection provided for by the Database Directive concerns the ‘structure’ of the database, and not its ‘contents’. That protection does not extend to the data itself.”  “The notion of ‘intellectual creation’, which is a necessary condition in order to be eligible for copyright protection, refers to the sole criterion of originality”. “significant labour and skill on the part of its author does not justify, as such, the protection of it by copyright if that labour and that skill do not express any originality”

RGA Chief Executive Officer Clive Hawkswood, commented: “It is disappointing that it has taken so long to reach this position of clarity; nevertheless we are grateful to the CJEU for providing such an unequivocal judgement. As we have said before, this will hopefully encourage professional sports to build on the current commercial relationships with the betting industry in the best interests of all concerned.”
EGBA secretary general, Sigrid Ligne, also said, “The focus now should be on strengthening the commercial ties between the online betting industry and professional sports.”
Ligne, continued, “The fact, though, is that sport is still missing out on commercial opportunities with the betting industry in countries like Germany, Portugal and Poland because of sponsorship and advertising restrictions. We encourage the European Commission to take actions against these countries in order to remove these regulatory barriers.”



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