Exploitation of Databases, Intellectual Property, Competition Law and the Sport Industry: A Missed Goal?
THE REGULATION OF SPORT IN THE EUROPEAN UNION, B. Bogusz, A. Cygan & E. Szyszczak, eds., pp. 206-225, Edward Elgar, 2007
Posted: 25 May 2008
As the book, in which this chapter is included, highlights it, sporting activities are increasingly regulated especially by EU law. One way the sport industry has been indirectly regulated by EU law is through the interpretation of an intellectual property right, the sui generis right protecting databases, also called "database right". On 9 November 2004, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") interpreted the right in four related cases concerning football and horse racing fixtures (i.e. information relating to the dates, times, places, teams playing in the matches or horses running in the races). Organisers of important sport events like the Olympics, football, rugby, cricket, tennis, etc. matches and horse races are therefore affected by law in their ownership rights on information relating to such events. The book aims at examining how and with what effect, among others, intellectual property and competition laws are applied to sporting activities. To this effect, this chapter first gives a general background to the issues (background). Then the chapter explains the main features of the database right as interpreted by the European Court of Justice and examines the effect of the database right on sporting organisations (section 1). The analysis shows that in most cases, the database right is not of much help to sporting organisations. However, in some cases, sporting organisations can be very well protected, so much so that problems of competition law can occur if the organisation has a monopoly (section 2). Section 3 then addresses what the sporting industry can do to tackle these problems. Finally, the chapter concludes and outlines future developments in the area (conclusion).
Keywords: databases, competition law, antitrust, spin off, Europe, European law, intellectual property, sport
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