Football players could start suing companies over player data profits

Football players, whom are based in the UK, have a formed a group which questions the ownership of the data generated when the players do their job. The athletes appear to be certain that their statistics and data have been utilised without any license, fee or consent. It has now been reported that more than 400 players, including former ones, have signed up to the group called “Project Red Card”. The latter is being led by a company under the name of Global Sports Data and Technology Group, which is said to be offering ‘smart contracts’ for the athletes in question, while simultaneously gathering data on fan engagement for sports clubs.

Project Red Card holds aims of suing companies engaging in betting and game processing, for six years worth of lost profit. The only way a claim for compensation could arise in this instance would be if the data was gathered in an inappropriate manner, as opposed to a betting company hiring a third party to record the statistics, for example. The project in question is based in the UK, however there is possibility that the courts could use the case of CBC Distribution v Major League Baseball, to demonstrate that player facts and names could not be protected by copyright, as the statistics were in the public domain. It is a well-known principle, within IP law, that facts cannot be protected under a trademark or copyright, especially when the fact is proven to be in the public domain.

Be sure to keep an eye out on our reading room for any further updates on the above matter. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding intellectual property, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Lawdit team today.

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