The Final Score On Database Rights

Author:Mr Tom Scourfield, Lucy Kilshaw and Natalie Chopra
Profession:CMS Cameron McKenna LLP
 
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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has given a ruling on questions of database right infringement referred to it by the Court of Appeal. The CJEU held that the defendant's sending of data extracted from the claimant's database to an internet user's computer constituted an act of re-utilisation under Directive 96/9/EC. The infringing act had taken place at least in the country where the internet user had downloaded the data, provided that there was evidence of the defendant's intention to target users in that country.

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Background

In April 2010, Football Dataco Ltd, Scottish Premier League Ltd, Scottish Football League and PA Sport UK Ltd ("Dataco") brought proceedings against Sportradar GmbH and Sportradar AG ("Sportradar") for alleged infringement of the sui generis database right which Dataco claimed to own in a database relating to football league matches. This database, 'Football Live', comprised a compilation of data about football matches in progress (e.g. goals and goal-scorers). Dataco maintained that obtaining and/or verifying the data and the compilation of Football Live required considerable skill, effort, discretion and intellectual input.

German company Sportradar GmbH provided live results and other English league statistics via its website. Betting company customers of Sportradar GmbH entered into contracts with its Swiss parent company, Sportradar AG. These customers included bet365, a UK company, and Stan James, established in Gibraltar. Both offered betting services aimed at the UK market and both of their respective websites contained links to betradar.com, a website owned by Sportradar AG. Match information provided to internet users referenced either bet365 or Stan James. The referring court concluded that the UK public clearly formed an important target for Sportradar.

Sportradar challenged the High Court's jurisdiction and sought a negative declaration that its activities did not infringe any of Dataco's intellectual property rights. The High Court held that it had jurisdiction to hear the claim concerning the joint liability of Sportradar and its customers using its UK website, but not a claim in respect of Sportradar's primary liability for infringement. Both parties appealed to the Court of Appeal, which referred the following questions to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling:

"Where a party uploads data from a database protected by the...

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