Database protection, case C-444/02

June 7th, 0207, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Court of Justice of the EU in its judgment of 9 November 2004 Case C-444/02 Fixtures Marketing Ltd v Organismos prognostikon agonon podosfairou AE (OPAP), ruled that the term “database” as defined in Article 1(2) of Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 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 fixture list for a football league such as that at issue in the case in the main proceedings constitutes a database within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Directive 96/9. 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.