The judgment reveals that the appeal covered two separate actions, heard together, on the subsistence and infringement of database right in data relating to football matches. The claims were brought by the English and Scottish Football Leagues and their licensees against Stan James plc, a betting company and Sportradar, an online sports data provider. All parties had appealed various findings by Mr Justice Floyd in his first instance decision of 8 May 2012, noted by the IPKat a day later here.
The proceedings concerned only joint liability aspects of each claim, and the Court of Appeal held as follows, at :
"(a) There is a sui generis database right in FDC's Football Live database;
(b) Both before and after defence UK punters [not the Oxford and Cambridge sort, but those who place bets] extract a substantial part of that database when they use the pop-up facility on the Stan James website [the reference to 'before and after defence' is to the fact that the defendants changed their practice after they filed their defence];In reaching these conclusions, however, the Court made a number of findings that have potential implications beyond the immediate subject matter of these actions. The judgment seems to provide that a website owner anywhere in the world who hosts a hyperlink that a UK user uses to access infringing content will be jointly liable with that user for the infringing acts. This finding has potentially enormous implications in the sphere of the internet.
(c) Both Stan James and Sportradar are joint tortfeasors with the UK punters; and
(d) There are no defences of abus de droit or infringement of Article 10 of the ECHR."
The Court of Appeal has also found that a database which qualifies for protection under the database right regime may exist within a literary work which is protected by copyright, there being no conflict in the two rights subsisting simultaneously. As such it seems that literary works can be reclassified as databases by claimants. This may seem fanciful but, in doing so, a copyright owner can strengthen his hand in any dispute. The test for infringement of the sui generis database right is very different to that of regular copyright, since it's directed towards the protection of investment and not creativity. Additionally there are no "fair use" type defences available under the Database Directive. As such, for example, a news reporting agency may claim that database rights underpin its news report and, on that basis, seek to prevent republication by a rival.