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On Thursday 14th June the fixtures for the 2007/08 football season were published. However most fan run websites will not be displaying them....


Football DataCo Ltd is a British company that grants licenses to third parties allowing them to reproduce certain intellectual property such as fixture lists and statistics. Football DataCo is wholly owned by FA Premier League and The Football League. The standard fee for the reproduction of a single team’s fixture list currently stands at £266 plus VAT.


This fee is charged to all 3rd parties including independently owned football fan sites and fanzines. Numerous fan sites have been closed as a result of legal action initiated by Football DataCo Ltd.


We the fans should be free to publish our teams fixtures on our sites.


Please sign the petition and we will present it to the people that are responsible for charging the fans to publish THEIR fixtures!


Every year we have to make announcements regarding the posting of fixtures to avoid legal action sign the petition so we don't have to



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Precisely, it is completely ridiculous. Think of how much newspapers, like the echo, have to fork out to print the fixtures. And that doesn't even cover the right to put it on the internet. They have to 'buy' the rights to the fixtures again (think thats what they have to do anyway).

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It looks like the essence is that the UK adheres to the "sweat of the brow" doctrine, meaning that anyone who creates a directory or compilation of facts, even if they're all completely unoriginal, is entitled to copyright protection by the mere fact of their time and labor spent compiling the information.


In the US, by contrast, the courts have ruled that simple facts cannot be copyrighted in any way, shape, or form, only the creative/original aspects of the presentation of those facts.


So you couldn't sue me in a US court for reproducing a fixture list, but if you did something distinctive in how you displayed the fixtures (say, for instance, wherever Everton appears on your fixture list you've drawn the "o" to look a football) and I copied that, then you could sue me on those grounds for stealing your "creative presentation" of it.


The US created that standard about 20 years ago when someone tried to sue for a "copyright" violation on a telephone book, which of course is nothing but a list of facts (specificially people's names and phone numbers). But on the other hand, the courts have ruled in favor of people who copyrighted business directories, on the grounds that selectively picking and choosing what companies you put in your business directory or leave out of it is enough of a "creative" exercise to grant copy protection. The UK


It all seems like splitting hairs to me, but I guess that's why we have lawyers - to sort these things out!

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