Court of Appeal gives narrow scope to database right

August 2005

Record Labels, Internet

The Court of Appeal has now given its judgment in British Horseracing Board v William Hill Organisation Ltd, the first substantive case concerning database rights in the UK. The court held that William Hill’s appeal against the High Court’s 2001 decision in favour of the British Horseracing Board (BHB) should be allowed, in light of the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the scope of database rights in this matter under EC Directive 96/9 late last year. The Court of Appeal ruled that William Hill had not infringed BHB’s database rights. It confirmed the distinction drawn by the ECJ between (i) the creation of the contents of a database and (ii) investment in the obtaining, verification and presentation of those contents. It is only this latter investment, which attracts the protection of the database right – so for a database right to subsist there must be (real) investment in the obtaining, verification and presentation of the database – the court will NOT look at the creation of the database itself – which is not doubt an unwelcome decision for database right owners; here the Court has drawn the boundaries of protection afforded to database right owners rather narrowly.

From an article by Susan Barty and Lucy Kilshaw of CMS Cameron McKenna at:

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