|An EU court ruled yesterday in favour of four gambling companies facing trial over neglecting to pay license fees. The UK’s William Hill, Finland’s Oy Veikkaus; Swedish company Svenska Spel and OPAP of Greece were all taken to court over an issue regarding using a database without paying license fees. The databases contained details of horse racing and football fixtures, with the creators claiming that they were protected under copyright laws, preventing others from accessing the data for free.|
The case was heard in Luxembourg in their Court of Justice with the judge ruling that the companies had not broken any copyright laws, and that in fact, the creators of the database were not in fact protected by any such law. The judge did state that the companies that had compiled the database had put in “substantial investment”, but legally found in favour of the accused companies, as that investment still did not prevent use for free by other companies. It is not the first time that such a case has resulted in the same kind of judgement. In 2002 the court threw out a case the British Horse Racing Board brought against William Hill. Similarly a case made by Britain’s Fixtures Marketing Ltd, a company also concerned with the compiling of database was also dismissed.