For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 9 November 2004

BHB, FIXTURES MARKETING IN ENGLISH -- AT LAST!

The European Court of Justice's ruling in the database right case of British Horseracing Board v William Hill, Case C-203/02, is now available in English, as is Case C-338/02, Fixtures Marketing Board Ltd v Svenska Spel AB. Both rulings deal with Article 7 of the Database Directive (Directive 96/9). Article 7 reads:

"Object of protection

1. Member States shall provide for a right for the maker of a database which shows that there has been qualitatively and/or quantitatively a substantial investment in either the obtaining, verification or presentation of the contents to prevent extraction and/or re-utilization of the whole or of a substantial part, evaluated qualitatively and/or quantitatively, of the contents of that database.

2. For the purposes of this Chapter:

(a) 'extraction` shall mean the permanent or temporary transfer of all or a substantial part of the contents of a database to another medium by any means or in any form;
(b) 're-utilization` shall mean any form of making available to the public all or a substantial part of the contents of a database by the distribution of copies, by renting, by on-line or other forms of transmission. The first sale of a copy of a database within the Community by the rightholder or with his consent shall exhaust the right to control resale of that copy within the Community; Public lending is not an act of extraction or re-utilization.

3. The right referred to in paragraph 1 may be transferred, assigned or granted under contractual licence.

4. The right provided for in paragraph 1 shall apply irrespective of the eligibility of that database for protection by copyright or by other rights. Moreover, it shall apply irrespective of eligibility of the contents of that database for protection by copyright or by other rights. Protection of databases under the right provided for in paragraph 1 shall be without prejudice to rights existing in respect of their contents.

5. The repeated and systematic extraction and/or re-utilization of insubstantial parts of the contents of the database implying acts which conflict with a normal exploitation of that database or which unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the maker of the database shall not be permitted."


The ruling in British Horseracing Board v William Hill is that

"1. The expression ‘investment in … the obtaining … of the contents’ of a database in Article 7(1) of Directive 96/9 ... must be understood to refer to the resources used to seek out existing independent materials and collect them in the database. It does not cover the resources used for the creation of materials which make up the contents of a database.

The expression ‘investment in … the … verification … of the contents’ of a database in Article 7(1) of Directive 96/9 must be understood to refer to the resources used, with a view to ensuring the reliability of the information contained in that database, to monitor the accuracy of the materials collected when the database was created and during its operation.

The resources used for verification during the stage of creation of materials which are subsequently collected in a database do not fall within that definition.

The resources used to draw up a list of horses in a race and to carry out checks in that connection do not constitute investment in the obtaining and verification of the contents of the database in which that list appears.

2. The terms ‘extraction’ and ‘re-utilisation’ as defined in Article 7 of Directive 96/9 must be interpreted as referring to any unauthorised act of appropriation and distribution to the public of the whole or a part of the contents of a database. Those terms do not imply direct access to the database concerned.

The fact that the contents of a database were made accessible to the public by its maker or with his consent does not affect the right of the maker to prevent acts of extraction and/or re-utilisation of the whole or a substantial part of the contents of a database.

3. The expression ‘substantial part, evaluated … quantitatively, of the contents of [a] database’ in Article 7 of Directive 96/9 refers to the volume of data extracted from the database and/or re-utilised and must be assessed in relation to the total volume of the contents of the database. The expression ‘substantial part, evaluated qualitatively … of the contents of [a] database’ refers to the scale of the investment in the obtaining, verification or presentation of the contents of the subject of the act of extraction and/or re-utilisation, regardless of whether that subject represents a quantitatively substantial part of the general contents of the protected database. Any part which does not fulfil the definition of a substantial part, evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively, falls within the definition of an insubstantial part of the contents of a database.

4. The prohibition laid down by Article 7(5) of Directive 96/9 refers to unauthorised acts of extraction or re-utilisation the cumulative effect of which is to reconstitute and/or make available to the public, without the authorisation of the maker of the database, the whole or a substantial part of the contents of that database and thereby seriously prejudice the investment by the maker".

The ruling in Fixtures Marketing v Svenska Spel is that
"The expression ‘investment in … the obtaining … of the contents’ of a database in Article 7(1) of Directive 96/9 ... must be understood to refer to the resources used to seek out existing independent materials and collect them in the database. It does not cover the resources used for the creation of materials which make up the contents of a database. In the context of drawing up a fixture list for the purpose of organising football league fixtures, therefore, it does not cover the resources used to establish the dates, times and the team pairings for the various matches in the league."
At first blush these rulings seem to take quite a restricted view as to what is actually protected. Serious comment will not however be made until it is possible to read these rulings carefully and think them through.

Two more database cases involving Fixtures Marketing are also due today. The IPKat hopes to bring them to you this afternoon.

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