Date: 18th June 2012 at 8:39am
Written by:

If The Vital Network and VMC wished to publish the Premier League fixture lists we’d have to stump up a football agent’s iPad case full of cash…

If we wanted to publish fixtures on Vital Network Ltd it would cost us nearly £20,000 (with no commercial gain) or £200-ish per individual site + VAT.

Of course, these are OUR fixtures! The games that we readily advertise for our clubs who make much needed revenue from us giving free ticket information with no advertising costs.

And yet Football DataCo, the crowd who grant licences to third parties allowing them to reproduce certain fixture lists and statistics owned by the UK’s four professional football leagues are still fighting the courts who have twice now ruled this charge not to be right.

See: www.bbc.co.uk

European judges previously ruled: ‘A football fixture list cannot be protected by copyright when its compilation is dictated by rules or constraints which leave no room for creative freedom.’

The case was referred from the High Court in London to the European Court to ‘assess, in the light of the considerations set out by the [Luxembourg] court, whether the football fixture lists concerned are databases which satisfy the conditions of eligibility for copyright protection.’

The European judges added: ‘However, the court adds that unless the procedures for creating the lists concerned as described by the national court are supplemented by elements reflecting originality in the selection or arrangement of the data contained in those lists, they do not suffice for those lists to be protected by the copyright laid down in the directive.’

However, The Premier League said there were elements of the case which indicated that football fixture lists were ‘capable of database copyright protection’.

Specifically, we are told that the date of a fixture itself is copyrighted. Names and nicknames of clubs cannot be used but we can comment on a couple of fixtures in a general sense!

So the fight goes on.

For the Manchester City 2012-2013 Premier League fixtures, please head for th’official site: MCFC.CO.UK