The Foxes Trust Board is backing a campaign to allow any football fan produced website to be able to publish the football fixture lists without needing to pay a license fee to the company representing the football authorities.
The Trust believes to charge fan produced sites a fee of £266 + VAT to publish a single clubs fixtures is unjust, particularly as message board sites all really about fans promoting interest in football, surely the authorities want to encourage this and not put obstacles in the way.
A new website has recently been created to lead this campaign at www.freethefixtures.com where you can sign a petition to support allowing fansites and fanzines to publish their teams football fixtures freely, please follow the link and register your support.
Authorities have threatened legal action against sites in the past, including those producing amusing tales which reveal the fixtures as they are read, however back in 2004 a European Court of Justice ruling may offer some aid in the success of this current campaign…..
The case started four years ago with a new directive from the European Commission seeking to protect the copyright of databases. Football and horse racing argued that the information contained in their fixture lists and race cards formed a database for which they could charge. They launched court actions alleging companies were using this information without paying.
In the early stages of these cases, they won at the High Court and the Court of Appeal, however the Court of Appeal referred certain points on the exact meaning of the directive to the European Court of Justice, the highest court in Europe.
Those judges ruled that if the sporting bodies had made an investment in their databases then they could charge for it. But just because a football fixture list contains information about who is playing where and when they could not charge for its use.
It will be interesting to see the latest campaign utilises this ruling as part of it’s campaign.