Euro Court Refereeing In Online Jurisdiction Football Case

If a web service in one country infringes the copyright of one in another country, where should the case be heard?

That’s the question the European Court of Justice is being asked to answer by the UK’s Court of Appeal.

The appeal court had been hearing an appeal by German operator Sportradar, against a November 2010 High Court ruling that its sports betting site Betradar illegally pilfered goal flash, scorer and other match data from the UK’s PA Sport, the sports data wire licensed by the English and Scottish football associations’ Football DataCo.

As Out-Law reports, Sportradar appealed on the grounds that the verdict should have been determined in Austria or the Netherlands, where its servers are based and its servers are located, or its native Germany.

That issue is doubly contentious because Betradar also supplies the data back to the UK betting services Bet364 and Stan James. The appeal court’s Lord Justice Laws’ is referring that contention up to the ECJ.

Sportradar also claims there can be no copyright as to the data (ie. scorers’ names, goal timings, number of match fouls) since these are matters of fact – an assertion which, if true, would undermine the whole of Football DataCo‘s business and which would jeopardise PA Sport. In the appeal court, Lord Justice Laws agrees that this data does not constitute intellectual creation.

Here is Lord Justice Laws’ full verdict on Bailii.