Dataco Limited & Others v Sportradar GmbH &
Another: Football Data Co Limited & Others v Stan James
Abingdon Limited & Others  EWHC 1185 (Ch)
Dataco has a service called "Football Live" which was
used to input live match data into a larger football database
maintained by its subcontractor PA Sport UK. The data included
information such as scores, penalties and player substitutions
updated as matches progressed. Dataco employed football analysts to
provide a running commentary and most aspects of games and that
information were input into the database. Some matters were the
subject of judgement by the analysts.
Sportradar companies (German parent, Swiss subsidiary) provided
a service to the betting industry called "Sport Live
Data" at betradar.com. For matches being televised, Sportradar
entered its data manually by operators who were watching the
matches. Where the matches were not being televised, Sportradar
used information from various sources, including that published by
PA Sport UK's licensees. Its servers were located in Germany
and Austria. Stan James was a betting company which took a feed
from Sportradar and enabled its customers to see the data.
The questions for decision was whether database rights subsisted
in Dataco's data: if so, whether Stan James's customers
were infringing: and if so whether Sportradar and Stan James were
jointly liable for acts of database infringement committed by Stan
In brief, the High Court (Floyd J) held that:
Dataco obtained information over which it had no control. It
was not therefore "creating" the data (in the BHB v
William Hill sense) which meant that the substantial investment
made by Dataco in collecting the data constituted investment and
gave rise to a database right.
The fact that the data was added to a much larger database did
not matter – it was a question of a qualitative rather
than quantitative evaluation.
Users watching televised matches used very little of the data
so there was no extraction of a substantial part of the database
and thus no infringement there.
For non-televised match data, up to the date of service by
Sportradar of its defence, much Dataco information was included.
This gave rise to infringement, as substantial investment was made
by Dataco. After service, when data provided by Sportradar was
limited to goals and timing of goals, there was no infringement, as
there was no substantial investment required.
Sportradar was not jointly liable for customer infringement
because the mere making available abroad (here, in Austria) of a
means whereby a right might be infringed was not enough to make
Sportradar a joint tortfeasor. It had agreements with persons in
the UK allowing them to publish the information, but it was up to
those persons to decide what to do with that permission.
Stan James was jointly liable for infringement by its
customers. The links on its
Note the contrast with the BHB decision. In that case, the BHB
created the data by compiling the fixture lists itself and had
control over the contents. Here, Dataco had no control over the
passage of live events and merely reported what was going on, i.e.
the data was "obtained" (which gives rise to database
rights) rather than "created" (which does not).
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