Football Dataco Ltd v Sportradar (2011) EWCA Civ 330

Football Dataco Ltd v Sportradar (2011) EWCA Civ 330

The Court of Appeal has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on whether making database contents available takes place in the country where the information is hosted, the country where it is accessed, or both.

The claim was brought by Football Dataco Ltd, a company which is partly owned by The Football Association Premier League Limited and which collects and transmits information on football matches as they are taking place. Sportradar is the defendant to the claim and consists of a group of companies that provide a rival service detailing live scores, results and other statistics over the internet. Football Dataco alleged that Sportradar had infringed its copyright and database rights by copying its statistics.

The question of law at the heart of the claim was whether infringement takes place where the information is stored on servers or where it is accessed. Football Dataco claimed that the case should be heard on the basis that receiving the information in the UK meant that the infringement had taken place there. Sportradar, however, felt that the alleged infringement had taken place in Austria and the Netherlands, where its servers are situated and Mr Justice Floyd, sitting in the High Court, agreed.

The Court of Appeal, however, acknowledged the difficulty in determining a view on what it considered to be an important question of law. Accordingly, it has referred the case to the European Court of Justice to determine whether Directive 96/9/EC (“the Database Directive”) should be construed so that infringement occurs in the country where the information is hosted, the country where the information is accessed, or both.

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