Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2004:697

Case C-444/02

Fixtures Marketing Ltd

v

Organismos prognostikon agonon podosfairou AE (OPAP)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Monomeles protodikio Athinon)

(Directive 96/9/EC – Legal protection of databases – Definition of database – Scope of the sui generis right – Football fixture lists – Betting)

Summary of the Judgment

1.        Approximation of laws – Legal protection of databases – Directive 96/9 – Definition of database – Football fixtures list – Included

(European Parliament and Council Directive 96/9, Art. 1(2))

2.        Approximation of laws – Legal protection of databases – Directive 96/9 – Definition of investment in the obtaining, verification or presentation of the contents of a database – Resources used to draw up a football fixtures list – Not included

(European Parliament and Council Directive 96/9, Art. 7(1))

1.        The term ‘database’ as defined in Article 1(2) of Directive 96/9 on the legal protection of databases refers to any collection of works, data or other materials, separable from one another without the value of their contents being affected, including a method or system of some sort for the retrieval of each of its constituent materials.

A football fixtures list constitutes a database within the meaning of Article 1(2) of the directive. First, the data contained in it concerning the date, the time and the identity of the teams in a particular football match have, when taken together, an independent informative value in that they provide interested third parties with relevant information about the match concerned. Second, the arrangement of those data in the form of a fixture list meets the conditions as to systematic or methodical arrangement and individual accessibility of the constituent materials of that collection required by Article 1(2) of the directive.

(see paras 32-36, 53, operative part)

2.        The expression ‘investment in … the obtaining … of the contents’ of a database in Article 7(1) of Directive 96/9 on the legal protection of databases must be understood to refer to investment in the creation of that database. It therefore refers to the resources used to seek out existing materials and collect them in that database but 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, the resources used to establish the dates, times and the team pairings for the various matches in the league do not constitute such investment. Moreover, finding the data which make up a football fixture list does not require any particular effort on the part of the professional leagues, which participate directly in the creation of the data. The resources used for the verification or presentation of the data making up the list cannot therefore be considered to represent a substantial investment independent of the investment in the creation of those data.

(see paras 39-40, 47, 49-51, 53, operative part)