European Court Says Leagues Don't Hold Copyright On Sporting Events
from the whoa dept
What struck me as much, much, much more interesting, however is this part of the ECJ's ruling:
The judges said the Premier League could not claim copyright over Premier League matches as they could not considered to be an author's own "intellectual creation" and, therefore, to be "works" for the purposes of EU copyright law.I've always wondered about this. As you may know, in the US, various sports leagues always claim copyright not just over the games, but even "any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game" at times. That's clearly an overreach of copyright law. But, in this case, the court seems to be saying that the league can't own anything about the games at all. Instead, it says that it can only hold copyright on additional artwork it creates above and beyond the events:
However, the ECJ did add that while live matches were not protected by copyright, any surrounding media, such as any opening video sequence, the Premier League anthem, pre-recorded films showing highlights of recent Premier League matches and various graphics, were "works" protected by copyright.The BBC piece linked above wonders if this would allow others to rebroadcast the games minus any such add-ons, though you have to imagine that the Premier League will (if it isn't already) include something on screen at all times.
But what I get out of this ruling is that, in theory, it would now be perfectly legal to go to a match, and broadcast it yourself via your own camera. Or, hell, send a few friends with smartphones and streaming video -- and have someone running a board picking which camera to show at any one time, and you could create an entirely crowdsourced broadcast. Of course, stadium officials might throw you out, but it sounds like from this ruling, such a production would not violate copyright law, since there's no copyright in the sporting event itself.