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Football fixtures copyrighted, UK court decides

Mon 26th Apr 2010 | Legal

A UK High Court has ruled that football fixture lists are protected by copyright law, meanign betting companies and newspapers will have to pay to publish them.

The Associated Press reports that the case was brought by the English Premier League and four other bodies which claimed unlicensed use of their lists by companies including internet giant Yahoo.

The court agreed with the football bodies' argument that the work which goes into scheduling matches was sufficient to justify protection under database copyright law. That work includes avoiding two matches being played in the same city on the same day, allowing for European fixtures, and satisfying the demands of television companies.

“The process of preparing fixture lists involves very significant labour and skill in satisfying the multitude of often competing requirements of those involved,” Judge Christopher Floyd said. “(It is) not mere sweat of the brow, by which I mean the application of rigid criteria to the processing of data.

The ruling goes against a 2004 European Court of Justice decision which went against protection of fixture lists.

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