German High Court Says That TV Schedule Info Is Covered By Copyright; TV Listings Sites Have To Pay

from the copyrighting-facts? dept

I still can't comprehend arguments in favor of allowing copyrights on facts. However, over in Europe they do allow copyrighting of facts if they're in a database, using so-called database rights. Of course, there's a big problem with such things. Contrary to the claim that database rights encourage a bigger database industry, the evidence (just like copyright and patents) points out that the opposite is true. And yet, Europe keeps believing in database rights. techflaws.org points us to a recent High Court ruling in Germany claiming that TV listings are covered by copyright and thus websites that display the factual information of what the TV schedule is have to pay up. In other words, it's going to become harder to find out what time shows are on TV, meaning that fewer people will watch TV. How does this help anyone?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: copyright, germany, tv listings


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Insider, 23 Dec 2009 @ 7:44am

    Got it all wrong

    OK, obviously you guys dont understand what tvtv.de actually does. The website is a by-product of their real business, they aggregate schedule data for about 1200 channels across Europe from many sources, direct and indirect, they collect and enhance the data with images, categories, genres, synopsis, etc. Most importantly the normalise the data and create a standard and structured output feed for use by device makers.

    This is necessary as there is no real consistent standard in Europe for this. DVB-SI is not structured enough and non existent in some countries.

    If it wasnt for tvtv, set top box makers and companies like Elgato (Eye TV) would have to either aggregate the 1200 channels themselves or find another company that can do it....which would then also be liable for copyright infringement.

    Also, VG Media claimed copyright only on the synopsis and images of the programs produced by the VG media companies (Private broadcasters). They suggested that the description of the program contained a creative element and for this reason it was copyrightable. Not on the schedule (times) which are facts and NOT SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT. tvtv has been operating like this since the first judgement and looking at their website there has been little noticable change.

    Generally, the reaction from most folks has been supportive of tvtv. Some have even suggested that tvtv should remove the channels completely from their database so no set top box EPG powered by tvtv would be able to tune to those channels ;)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.