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The Protection of Sports Events in the EU: Property, Intellectual Property, Unfair Competition and Special Forms of Protection

Abstract

This article analyses some of the legal tools available to organisers of sporting events under EU law and the law of EU Member States. The focus is on remedies based on property rights and contracts, as well as on intellectual property, unfair competition rules and so called “special” forms of protection. As it is well known, in fact, following the ECJ ruling in Premier League v. QC Leisure, sporting events as such do not qualify as works under EU copyright law. Nevertheless, the article shows that remedies based on both traditional and new forms of property, IP and cognate rights can still offer adequate protection to sports organisers. First, many sports events take place in dedicated venues on which sports organisers can claim exclusive use rights and thereupon develop conditional access agreements (i.e. “house right”). Second, the recording and broadcast of sporting events may give rise to a variety of intellectual property rights, especially in the field of copyright and related rights. Third, unfair competition rules, and in particular misappropriation doctrines, have been invoked to protect sporting activities from unauthorised copying. Fourth, special forms of protection have recently been devised at the national level in order to offer an additional layer of rights protecting sports organisers. The article argues that even in the absence of a dedicated EU harmonised right tailored to sports events, the current legal framework is well equipped to offer protection to the investments that the sport industry is making in this sector. The article also argues that national initiatives in the field have so far proven of little practical relevance and, as a matter of fact, have the potential to clash with the general EU legal framework. There is only one area that escapes this rule: a right to use sporting events data to organise betting activities, or in other words, a right to consent to bets. The article concludes that if such a right is to be recognised, it is not the field of intellectual property, nor even property in general, the most appropriate area of law at which to look.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    See European Commission (2014); SportsEconAustria et al. (2012).

  2. 2.

    See ex pluris the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC) position at: http://sroc.info/files/9513/8667/7878/SROC_position_paper_on_Asser_Study_-_08_11_13.pdf.

  3. 3.

    See Van Rompuy and Margoni (2014), p. 14; Boyle (2015).

  4. 4.

    See Van Rompuy and Margoni (2014), p. 14.

  5. 5.

    This article does not look at competition law rules in the EU sport sector. For a detailed analysis, see in general Van Rompuy and Margoni (2014).

  6. 6.

    See Joined Cases C 403/08 and 429/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd and others v. QC Leisure and others and Karen Murphy v. Media Protection Services Ltd (2011) ECR-I-9083.

  7. 7.

    Id., 97. For a detailed analysis of the ECJ defined originality standard see Margoni (2015) and literature therein cited.

  8. 8.

    Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.

  9. 9.

    See Joined Cases C 403/08 and 429/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd and others v. QC Leisure and others and Karen Murphy v. Media Protection Services Ltd (2011) ECR-I-9083, 98. See for an insightful and provocative argument that a football performance can feature enough free and creative choices the intervention by Prof. Lionel Bently in the panel “Who owns the World Cup? The case for and against (intellectual) property rights in sports” held during IViR 25th Anniversary Conference and described (with links to the video) at http://kluwercopyrightblog.com/2014/10/13/who-owns-the-world-cup-the-case-for-and-against-intellectual-property-rights-in-sports/.

  10. 10.

    Id., 99.

  11. 11.

    Id., 100.

  12. 12.

    Bently (2012); Margoni (2016).

  13. 13.

    For a brief account of the originality case law of the ECJ see Margoni (2015) and literature therein cited.

  14. 14.

    See Dutch Supreme Court (Hoge Raad), 23 October 1987, NJ 1988, 310 (KNVB v. NOS); Stockholm Administrative Court of Appeal decisions of 3 December 2007, case 2896 and 2898; For a Canadian case stating that a sport game does not constitute a choreographic work, even though parts of the game were intended to follow a pre-determined plan see FWS Joint Sports Claimants v. Copyright Board (1991) 22 I.P.R. 429 (Fed. CA of Canada). Contra a French decision by the Paris Court of Appeal of September 2011 has recognized copyright in a sailing race; however, such decision seems so far isolated and harshly criticized by commentators on the basis that such event cannot be assimilated to choreographic or dramatic works; see Vivant and Bruguière (2012), p. 1059.

  15. 15.

    See supra note 9.

  16. 16.

    For the exclusion of sports events from the category of protected works (underling the numerus clausus principle) see Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione), 29 July 1963, No. 2118, in Foro it., 1963, I, 1632; For a detailed analysis of the numerus clausus of intellectual property rights with particular attention to the case of sports events, see Resta, p. 43, et seq.

  17. 17.

    See e.g. Hilty and Henning-Bodewig (2006), p. 42 et seq. See also Paal (2014), p. 74 et seq. For case law see e.g. German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof), 8 November 2005, KZR 37/03 (“Hörfunkrechte”); Dutch Supreme Court, 23 October 1987, NJ 1988, 310 (KNVB v. NOS); and also Dutch Supreme Court, 23 May 2003, NJ 2003, 494 (KNVB v. Feyenoord); Danish Supreme Court U2004 2945 H and U 1982 179 H. Outside the EU see Victoria Park Racing and Recreation Grounds Co. Ltd v. Taylor (1937) 58 CLR 479, HC of A.; Sports and General Press Agency Ltd v. ‘Our Dogs’ Publishing Ltd [1917] 2 KB 125, CA.

  18. 18.

    See Opinion of Advocate General Jääskinen delivered on 12 December 2012 in Cases C-201/11 P, C-204/11 P and C-205/11 P UEFA, FIFA v. European Commission, 18 July 2013, 33–45. The opinion of the AG has been upheld by the ECJ, although the Court did not reproduced the detailed analysis on property rights developed by the AG.

  19. 19.

    See Lawrence and Taylor (2008), p 1077.

  20. 20.

    Id., p. 1119.

  21. 21.

    See Gardiner et al. (2012), p. 246; Lawrence and Taylor (2008), pp. 1077 and 1092–1094.

  22. 22.

    Id.

  23. 23.

    See Gardiner et al. (2012), p. 318 offering different examples of terms and conditions of tickets used during the Olympic Games. Literature is rich of similar examples, see inter alia Andriychuk (2009), p. 137; Lawrence and Taylor (2008), p. 1077.

  24. 24.

    See e.g. Submissions of SROC, FA and Bundesliga to “Consultation on the Green Paper "Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values", available at http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/consultation-green-paper-preparing-fully-converged-audiovisual-world-growth-creation-and-values (doc. 07. Sport Related Entities).

  25. 25.

    See Van Rompuy and Margoni (2014), p. 27 and fn 30.

  26. 26.

    These types of considerations lead some renown doctrine to be skeptical towards the category; See Hilty and Henning-Bodewig (2006), p. 42.

  27. 27.

    See Dutch Supreme Court, 23 October 1987, NJ 1988, 310 (KNVB v. NOS). See also Dutch Supreme Court, 23 May 2003, NJ 2003, 494 (KNVB v. Feyenoord).

  28. 28.

    Id.

  29. 29.

    See The Hague Court of Appeal, 31 May 2001 (KNVB v. Feyenoord).

  30. 30.

    See Dutch Supreme Court, 23 May 2003, NJ 2003, 494 (KNVB v. Feyenoord).

  31. 31.

    German Federal Supreme Court, 8 November 2005, KZR 37/03 (“Hörfunkrechte”). See also Danish Supreme Court U2004 2945 H and U 1982 179 H. Outside the EU see Victoria Park Racing and Recreation Grounds Co. Ltd v. Taylor (1937) 58 CLR 479, HC of A.; Sports and General Press Agency Ltd v. ‘Our Dogs’ Publishing Ltd [1917] 2 KB 125, CA.

  32. 32.

    See Arts. 339, 344, 354, 362 and following of Austrian Civil Code (Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, ABGB).

  33. 33.

    See Austrian Supreme Court, 23 March 1976, 4 Ob 313/76; 22 March 1994, 4 Ob 26/94 and 29 January 2002, 4 Ob 266/01y.

  34. 34.

    See Joined Cases C 403/08 and 429/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd and others v. QC Leisure and others and Karen Murphy v. Media Protection Services Ltd (2011) ECR-I-9083, 99.

  35. 35.

    Performer’s performances, sound recordings and broadcasts of broadcasting organizations are the “traditional” neighbouring rights present in the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations signed in Rome the 26 October 1961 [Rome Convention]. More recently, phonogram producers and performers protection has been “updated” by the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) adopted in Geneva on December 20, 1996. In the EU, these and other neighbouring rights have been introduced mainly by Directive 92/100/EEC on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property; Directive 93/83/EEC on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and related right to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission; Directive 93/98/EEC harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights; and 2001/29/EC on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.

  36. 36.

    See Rome Convention Art. 3(a); see also the almost identical definition of Art. 2(a) of the WPPT.

  37. 37.

    See Goldstein and Hugenholtz (2010), p. 234.

  38. 38.

    See Art. 81 Copyright Act (Gesetz über Urheberrecht und verwandte Schutzrechte) of 1965, as amended.

  39. 39.

    See Hilty and Henning-Bodewig (2006), p. 40 and literature therein cited. See also German Federal Supreme Court, I ZR 60/09 of 28 October 2010 (Hartplatzhelden.de); Hamburg Court of Appeal, 11 October 2006, 5 U 112/6.

  40. 40.

    Id.

  41. 41.

    The authoritative reference is to the work of Oliveira Ascensão, in particular Oliveira Ascensão (2008), p. 590 and the references therein cited. See also Menezes Leitão (2011), 270.

  42. 42.

    See Codigo do Direito de Autor e dos Direitos Conexos, of 1985, as amended.

  43. 43.

    See Oliveira Ascensão (2008), p. 590, and the references therein cited. See also Menezes Leitão (2011), p. 270. For a decision supporting the existence of an absolute right comparable to copyright and vesting in the sport organiser in virtue of its investment see the ordinance of Pretore Roma of 18 September 1987, in Dir. Inf. 1988, 132, and the following comment by Morese; contra excluding more in general the copyrightability of sports events recordings Sammarco (2006); for a general criticism to judicial decisions recognising protection to new immaterial goods in spite of the principle of numerus clausus, see Auteri (2003); Resta (2010).

  44. 44.

    The right first appeared in 1985 in Art. 117 of the Copyright Act. The direito ao espectáculo finds explicit recognition in the field of sport in Art. 19 of the law 1/90 of 1990 on the “Basis of the Sport System”. For an account of the evolution of the right including the numerous amendments, see Menezes Leitão (2011), p. 270.

  45. 45.

    See Art. 19.2 of “Lei n. 1/90”, of 13 January 1990; repealed by “Lei n. 30/2004 of 21 July 2004” (Art. 84); repealed by “Lei 5/2007 of 16 January 2007” (Art. 49); see Menezes Leitão (2001), p. 270; Oliveira Ascensão (2000), V. 71–78.

  46. 46.

    See Law No 5/2007 of 16 January (Lei de Bases da Actividade Física e do Desporto).

  47. 47.

    See Art. 49 Law No 5/2007 of 16 January (Lei de Bases da Actividade Física e do Desporto); See Menezes Leitão (2011), p. 272.

  48. 48.

    See Portuguese Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal de Justiça), No. 4986/06.3TVLSB.S1, of 21 May 2009, confirming in this regard the finding of the Lisbon Court of Appeal (Tribunal da Relação de Lisboa) No. 3599/2008-6, of 17 December 2008.

  49. 49.

    See Portuguese Supreme Court, No. 4986/06.3TVLSB.S1, of 21 May 2009 (“Para compreender o objecto do contrato em causa, achamos oportuno lembrar os ensinamentos de Oliveira Ascensão”); Oliveira Ascensão (2008); Menezes Leitão (2011).

  50. 50.

    In the current version of the Berne Convention cinematographic works are present in Art. 2 as a protected subject matter and are further regulated in Arts. 4, 7, 14, 14bis and 15. See generally Bently and Sherman (2009), p. 84 and fn 159; Kamina (2002). For case law see e.g. Case C 403/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd et al. v. QC Leisure et al. (ECJ), of 4 October 2011, at 149–152 (“… it is common ground that FAPL can assert copyright in various works contained in the broadcasts… in particular, the opening video sequence, pre-recorded films showing highlights of recent Premier League matches, …” [emphasis added]; See also Paris District Court (Tribunal de Grand Instance de Paris), S.A. Television Francaise 1 v. YouTube LLC, of 29 May 2012, RG: 10/11205.

  51. 51.

    After the landmark Infopaq decision the threshold of “the author's own intellectual creation” which thus far only found statutory recognition with regard to computer programs, photographs and databases has been expanded to all copyright subject matter covered by the InfoSoc Directive (although the issue of cumulability with design rights remains an open issue); see Case C 5/08, of 16 July 2009 Infopaq International A/S v. Danske Dagblades Forening [Infopaq]; Bently and Sherman (2009), Margoni (2015).

  52. 52.

    See Case C145/10 Eva-Maria Painer v. Standard VerlagsGmbH et al., 1 December 2011 (Painer), p. 90.

  53. 53.

    Id., p. 91.

  54. 54.

    Id.

  55. 55.

    Id.

  56. 56.

    See e.g. Case C 403/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd et al. v. QC Leisure et al. (ECJ), of 4 October 2011, at 148–149; See however, the Swedish Court of Appeal decision that the audiovisual recording of an ice hockey game (with added commentary) could not be considered an original work of authorship; See Southern Norrland Court of Appeal of 20 June 2011, No. B 1309-10.

  57. 57.

    See supra note 52, Painer, p. 92.

  58. 58.

    See supra note 52, Painer, p. 93. To be noted that the relevant question in this case (referred question four) asked whether “portrait photos are afforded ‘weaker’ copyright protection or no copyright protection at all against adaptations because, in view of their ‘realistic image’, the degree of formative freedom is too minor”, see AG Trstenjak Opinion delivered on 12 April 2011 in Case C-145/10 (Painer).

  59. 59.

    As a matter of fact, the ECJ seems to suggests that free and creative choices and personal stamp are the only factors to consider in a finding of originality. A strict reading of this requirement brought some commentators to wonder whether any other condition, such as for example a closed list of copyrightable subject matter as provided e.g. in the UK, is still compliant with EU law; See Cornish et al. (2013), 11-04 fn 12.

  60. 60.

    See Perry and Margoni (2012), p. 22.

  61. 61.

    See Art. 2(1) of Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights (codified version) [Term Directive], repealing Council Directive 93/98/EEC of 29 October 1993 harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights.

  62. 62.

    See Art. 2(2) Term Directive.

  63. 63.

    Id.

  64. 64.

    Sec. 5B Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 [UK], defines films as “a recording on any medium …”. Similarly Sec. 2(1) Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 [Ireland] requires that the film be fixed on any medium. However, a film, as the work suggests, is usually recorded on a support, tape, film, disk, etc.

  65. 65.

    Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.

  66. 66.

    See Sec. 5B(1) CDPA.

  67. 67.

    See Joined Cases C 403/08 and 429/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd and others v. QC Leisure and others and Karen Murphy v. Media Protection Services Ltd (2011) ECR-I-9083, para. 150 (“broadcasters … can invoke the right of fixation of their broadcasts which is provided for in Article 7(2) of the Related Rights Directive, the right of communication of their broadcasts to the public which is laid down in Article 8(3) of that directive, or the right to reproduce fixations of their broadcasts which is confirmed by Article 2(e) of the Copyright Directive”).

  68. 68.

    If the film qualifies as a “cinematographic work” under the Berne Convention then it can be protected as a dramatic work under the UK copyright law; see Norowzian v. Arks (No. 2) [2000] EMLR 67; See in general Kamina (2002), at 35 et seq.

  69. 69.

    See Norowzian v. Arks (No. 2) [2000] EMLR 67, recognizing that a film can also be a dramatic work when it is a “work of action”; Arnold (2001/2002), pp. 51–60.

  70. 70.

    See Directive 2006/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property (codified version) repealing Council Directive 92/100/EEC of 19 November 1992 on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property.

  71. 71.

    But see above the analysis of the UK for the case of films.

  72. 72.

    See Goldstein and Hugenholtz (2010), p. 232; See German Federal Supreme Court, 22 October 1992, Case 1 ZR (300191), in 25 IIC pp. 287, 288 (1994).

  73. 73.

    See Recital 5 Rental Directive.

  74. 74.

    See Art. 2(d) InfoSoc Directive which now governs horizontally the right of reproduction in EU copyright law. Article 7 of the previous version of the Rental Directive has been repealed in virtue of Art. 11(1)(a) of the InfoSoc Directive.

  75. 75.

    See Art. 3(2)(c) InfoSoc Directive.

  76. 76.

    See Art. 3(2) InfoSoc Directive.

  77. 77.

    See Art. 9(1)(c) Rental Directive.

  78. 78.

    See Art. 3(3) Term Directive, which however uses an incomprehensible way to express this.

  79. 79.

    But under some circumstances the film could be considered also a dramatic work, restoring, somehow, the EU duality; see Kamina (2002), p. 137.

  80. 80.

    See Kamina (1998), p. 109–114.

  81. 81.

    See Norowzian v. Arks (No. 2) [2000] EMLR 67, recognizing that a film can also be a dramatic work when it is a “work of action”.

  82. 82.

    See Art. 13D Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

  83. 83.

    The relevant EU directives in this field are the Rental Directive (particularly Arts. 7–9), the Satellite Directive, and the InfoSoc Directive (see Arts. 2(e) and 3(2)). At the international level see Art. 14(3) TRIPS Agreement. In substantially similar terms see Art. 13 Rome Convention. See also the Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite, done at Brussels on 21 May 1974; For an account of different Member States approaches towards the redistribution and rebroadcast of copyright works (although analyzing the specific field of the “clouds”) see Ficsor (2012).

  84. 84.

    See Sec. 6 CDPA. Systematically, however, it can be considered a related right as suggested by the duration of protection which is limited to 50 years from when the broadcast was made as stated by Section 14 CDPA.

  85. 85.

    See Bently and Sherman (2009), p. 86.

  86. 86.

    See Case C 403/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd et al. v. QC Leisure et al., of 4 October 2011, 150.

  87. 87.

    See Rome Convention Art. 3(f). Similarly, Art. 2(f) WPPT that defines broadcasting as “the transmission by wireless means for public reception of sounds or of images and sounds or of the representations thereof; such transmission by satellite is also ‘broadcasting’; transmission of encrypted signals is ‘broadcasting’ where the means for decrypting are provided to the public by the broadcasting organization or with its consent”.

  88. 88.

    See Goldstein and Hugenholtz (2010), p. 237.

  89. 89.

    Id. See also Bently and Sherman (2009), p. 86; Paris District Court, S.A. Television Francaise 1 et al. v. S.A. Dailymotion, of 13 September 2012, RG:09/19255.

  90. 90.

    See in general Guibault and Melzer (2004), pp. 2–8.

  91. 91.

    See Rental Directive Arts. 7–9.

  92. 92.

    See Arts. 2(e) and 3(2) InfoSoc Directive; See also Goldstein and Hugenholtz (2010), p. 342.

  93. 93.

    See Bently and Sherman (2009), p. 92.

  94. 94.

    Broadcasting organizations are not better defined by international and EU legislation. Member States usually regulate the broadcasting activity and set the requirements to qualify as broadcasting organizations. In the UK, the CDPA defines authors as the person making the broadcast or, in the case of a broadcast which relays another broadcast by reception and immediate re-transmission, the person making that other broadcast; see CDPA 9(2)(b).

  95. 95.

    This was the case of Eredivisie Live, which until recently was an undertaking of the Dutch Eredivisie clubs.

  96. 96.

    See Joined Cases C 403/08 and 429/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd and others v. QC Leisure and others and Karen Murphy v. Media Protection Services Ltd (2011) ECR-I-9083,148.

  97. 97.

    Id., 150.

  98. 98.

    Id., 151.

  99. 99.

    Id., 152.

  100. 100.

    See Case C-607/11, ITV Broadcasting Ltd v. TVCatchup Ltd, of 7 March 2013.

  101. 101.

    Id., 40.

  102. 102.

    Id., 23.

  103. 103.

    Idem., 24.

  104. 104.

    See Council Directive 93/83/EEC of 27 September 1993 on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission.

  105. 105.

    See Case C-607/11, ITV Broadcasting Ltd v. TVCatchup Ltd, of 7 March 2013, 25.

  106. 106.

    “Such activity is not to be confused with mere provision of physical facilities in order to ensure or improve reception of the original broadcast in its catchment area, which falls within the cases referred to in paragraph 74 of the present judgment, but constitutes an intervention without which those subscribers would not be able to enjoy the works broadcast, although physically within that area”; see Joined Cases C-431/09 and C-432/09 Airfield and Canal Digitaal, at 79. See also Joined Cases C 403/08 and 429/08 Football Association Premier League Ltd and others v. QC Leisure and others and Karen Murphy v. Media Protection Services Ltd (2011) ECR-I-9083, para. 194.

  107. 107.

    See Case C-607/11, ITV Broadcasting Ltd v. TVCatchup Ltd, of 7 March 2013, 29.

  108. 108.

    See Henning-Bodewig (2006), p. 25. See Directive 2006/114/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 concerning misleading and comparative advertising (codified version) (2006) OJ L 376/21 and Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (“Unfair Commercial Practices Directive”) (Text with EEA relevance) (2005) OJ L 149/22.

  109. 109.

    See Henning-Bodewig (2006). See also de Vrey (2005).

  110. 110.

    See Davis in: Hilty and Henning-Bodewig (2007), pp. 183–198.

  111. 111.

    BGBI Bundesgesetzblatt (Federal Law Gazette) 2004, p. 1414: 2004 GRUR 660. See also German Federal Supreme Court, 7 May 1992, I ZR 163/90, 1992 GRUR 619 (Klemmbausteine II); and German Federal Supreme Court, 2 December. 2004, I ZR 30/02, 2005 GRUR 349 (Klemmbausteine III); Harte-Bavendamm et al. (2013), 4 No. 9 53–70.

  112. 112.

    See Ohly (2010), pp. 506–524.

  113. 113.

    See German Federal Supreme Court, I ZR 60/09 of 28 October 2010 (Hartplatzhelden.de); Jlussi (2011), p. 1; Henning-Bodewig (2006), p. 128.

  114. 114.

    See Stuttgart District Court, LS 41 O 3/08 of 8 May 2008; and Stuttgart Court of Appeal, OLG 2 U 47/08 of 19 March 2009.

  115. 115.

    German Federal Supreme Court, I ZR 60/09 of 28 October 2010 (“Hartplatzhelden.de”) at 16.

  116. 116.

    Id., at 18.

  117. 117.

    Id., 27–28.

  118. 118.

    Id., at 25. See also Ohly (2011), p. 436.

  119. 119.

    See Gielen (2007), p. 569.

  120. 120.

    Dutch Supreme Court, 31 January 1919, NJ 1919, p. 161 Lindenbaum v. Cohen.

  121. 121.

    Dutch Supreme Court, 27 June 1986, Holland Nautica v. Decca NJ 1987, 191 para. 4.2; and Dutch Supreme Court, 20 November 1987, Staat v. Den Ouden NJ 1988, 311, annotated by Wichers Hoeth.

  122. 122.

    See van Engelen (1994), p. 233.

  123. 123.

    Dutch Supreme Court, 23 October 1987, NJ 1987, 310 KNVB/NOS para. 5.1.

  124. 124.

    In Mogul Steamship Co v. MC Gregor 1892 ac 25, it was argued that “dividing a line between fair and unfair competition, between what is reasonable and unreasonable surpasses the power of the Court”.

  125. 125.

    Unfair competition law can be a synonym for passing off, it can cover all causes of action against unlawful acts done by a competitor or general tort of misappropriation of trade values. See for example Cornish et al. (2013), p 13; Sanders (1997), p. 53.

  126. 126.

    See Carty (2001), p. 225.

  127. 127.

    See e.g. Reddaway v. Banham 1896, AC 199, 204, 13 RPC 218, 224.

  128. 128.

    Case Reckitt & Colman v. Borden 1990 RPC 340 HL.

  129. 129.

    BBC v. Talksport 2001 FSR 53.

  130. 130.

    Id. see Lawrence and Taylor (2008), pp. 1084–1087; See also Breitschaft (2010), pp. 427–436.

  131. 131.

    See Henning-Bodewig (2006), p. 94.

  132. 132.

    Id., p. 100.

  133. 133.

    See International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918), where the Court recognized a proprietary interest in “hot-news” in absence of any copyright infringement on the basis of misappropriation. The extent to which such form of protection still survives after the enactment of the U.S. 1976 Copyright Act is debated, but commentators agree that the doctrine has been largely pre-empted by the enactment of the 1976 Act; See Barclays Capital Inc. v. Theflyonthewall.com, Inc. 650 F.3d 876 C.A.2 (N.Y.), 2011, at 878 (“… we conclude that because the plaintiffs' claim falls within the “general scope” of copyright, 17 U.S.C. § 106, and involves the type of works protected by the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103, and because the defendant's acts at issue do not meet the exceptions for a ‘hot news’ misappropriation claim as recognized by NBA, the claim is preempted”).

  134. 134.

    See Danish Supreme Court U 1982 179 H.

  135. 135.

    See Danish Supreme Court U2004 2945 H.

  136. 136.

    Id.

  137. 137.

    See below.

  138. 138.

    See Loi n°84-610 du 16 July 1984 relative à l'organisation et à la promotion des activités physiques et sportives, Art. 18-1.

  139. 139.

    See Code du Sport, created by Ordonnance n° 2006-596 du 23 May 2006 relative à la partie législative du code du sport, as amended.

  140. 140.

    Article L. 333-1-2 codifies the ruling of the court of appeal of 2009, establishing that the organization of bets on the results of the sports events is a form of commercial exploitation and therefore is included in the scope of Art. L. 333-1; See Paris Court of Appeal (Cour d'appel), Arrêt du 14 October 2009, 08/19179 (Unibet Int. v. Federation Francaise de Tennis).

  141. 141.

    “[…] l'article L. 333-1 du code du sport attribue aux fédérations sportives et aux organisateurs de manifestations sportives la propriété du droit d'exploitation des manifestations ou compétitions qu'ils organisent, eu égard, notamment, aux investissements financiers et humains …”; See State Council (Conseil d'État, France), 5ème et 4ème sous-sections réunies, 30 March 2011, 342142 (http://www.juricaf.org/arret/FRANCE-CONSEILDETAT-20110330-342142).

  142. 142.

    Id.; See also the Report to the French National Assembly “fait au nom de la commission des finances, de l'économie générale et du contrôle budgétaire sur le projet de loi relatif à l’ouverture à la concurrence et à la régulation du secteur des jeux d’argent et de hasard en ligne (n° 1549), par M. Jean-François Lamour, Député” of 2009, at 312, available at: http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/13/pdf/rapports/r1860.pdf; Paris Court of Appeal (Cour d'appel), Arret du 14 Octobre 2009, 08/19179 (Unibet Int. v. Federation Francaise de Tennis), at 4 (“Considérant, en l'absence de toute précision ou distinction prévue par la loi concernant la nature de l'exploitation des manifestations ou compétitions sportives qui est l'objet du droit de propriêté reconnu par ces dispositions, que toute forme d'activité économique, ayant pour finalité de générer un profit, et qui n'aurait pas d'existence si la manifestation sportive dont elle est le prétexte ou le support nécessaire n'existait pas, doit être regardée comme une exploitation au sens de ce texte").

  143. 143.

    See Vivant and Bruguiére (2012), p. 1053 et seq. Lucas and Lucas calls this right a sui generis, or non-typified, related right to copyright; Lucas and Lucas (2012), p. 934. For an immaterial property right in the form of a Leistungsschutzrechts see Hilty and Henning-Bodewig (2006), p. 57; Geiger (2004), pp. 278–281.

  144. 144.

    See Paris Court of Appeal, 28 March 2001 (Gemka Productions SA v. Tour de France SA).

  145. 145.

    See Paris Court of Appeal, 14 October 2009 (Unibet Int. v. Federation Francaise de Tennis 08/19179), at 4.

  146. 146.

    See French Supreme Court(Commercial Chamber) (Cour de cassation – Chambre commerciale), decision No. 542 of 17 March 2004 (Andros v. Motor Presse France), available at http://www.courdecassation.fr/jurisprudence_2/financi_re574/arr_ts_575/arr_ecirc_925.html.

  147. 147.

    … l’organisateur d’une manifestation sportive est propriétaire des droits d’exploitation de l’image de cette manifestation notamment par diffusion de clichés photographiques réalisés à cette occasion”; see French Supreme Court (Commercial Chamber), Decision No. 542 of 17 March 2004 (Andros v. Motor Presse France).

  148. 148.

    See Paris Commercial Court (Cour de Commerce), 12 December 2002 (Gemka v. Tour de France).

  149. 149.

    See Paris District Court, 30 May 2008 (Fédération Française de Tennis (FTT) v. Unibet).

  150. 150.

    See Paris Court of Appeal, 14 October 2009 (Fédération Française de Tennis (FTT) v. Unibet).

  151. 151.

    Id. See also Paris District Court, 30 May 2008 (FFT/Expekt.com); Verheyden (2003), p. 18.

  152. 152.

    For a complete analysis of the French right to consent to bets, see Van Rompuy and Margoni (2014), chapter 4; for a discussion on a proposal to introduce a similar right in the UK see Margoni and Van Rompuy (2015).

  153. 153.

    See Margoni and Van Rompuy (2015).

  154. 154.

    See Physical Education and Sports Act of Bulgaria of 2008.

  155. 155.

    See Art. 84(1) of Law 2725/1999 (“Amateur and Professional Sport and Other Provisions”).

  156. 156.

    See Act I of the Sport Act of 2004.

  157. 157.

    See Art. 45 of the Romanian Sport Law.

  158. 158.

    The new neighbouring right is based on Law 19 July 2007, No. 106, “Diritti televisivi sugli eventi sportivi nazionali: delega per la revisione della disciplina” Legge 19.07.2007 n° 106, and on the decrees implementing such framework act, mainly the legislative decree “Sport e diritti audiovisivi” Decreto legislativo 09.01. 2008, n.9. For a detailed account see Ferrari (2010), pp. 65–73; For a detailed analysis of the protection of sports events before the introduction of the new law see Auteri (2003); Sammarco (2006); Troiano (2003); Garaci (2006); for a critical analysis centered on the numerus clausus of rights on immaterial goods see in general Resta (2010).

  159. 159.

    See Italian Copyright Law, Capo I-ter Diritti Audiovisivi sportivi, Art. 78quater.

  160. 160.

    See Art. 1 Law 2007 No. 106.

  161. 161.

    See legislative decree “Sport e diritti audiovisivi” Decreto legislativo 09.01. 2008, n.9.

  162. 162.

    See Art. 2 Sport Decree.

  163. 163.

    Archival rights, as defined in Art. 2(7) of the Sport Decree belong exclusively to the organiser of that event.

  164. 164.

    See Art. 3 et seq. Rental Directive.

  165. 165.

    The main difference consists in the indication that the owner of the right of commercial exploitation is not the producer of the cinematographic or audiovisual work but the event organiser. In all those cases where the two roles do not coincide in the same subject or entity, the amending intent of Art. 78quarter seems to be contrary to EU law.

  166. 166.

    See e.g. Rome District Court, order of 2 December 2011, Reti Televisive Italiane v. Google Inc. (ordinanza depositata il 13 December 2011); and order of 19 August 2011, Reti Televisive Italiane v. Rojadirecta.es.

  167. 167.

    See Zeno Zencovich (2008), pp. 695–710.

  168. 168.

    See Margoni and Van Rompuy (2015).

  169. 169.

    Id.

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Correspondence to Thomas Margoni.

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The author thanks Fabienne Dohmen for invaluable research assistance in particular in the chapter on unfair competition.

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Margoni, T. The Protection of Sports Events in the EU: Property, Intellectual Property, Unfair Competition and Special Forms of Protection. IIC 47, 386–417 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40319-016-0475-8

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Keywords

  • Premier League v. QC Leisure
  • Intellectual property
  • Property rights
  • House right
  • Unfair competition
  • Misappropriation
  • Contracts
  • Sporting events
  • Right to consent to bets