Tuesday, December 27, 2005Contact: Maurits Bruggink
To what extent can racing data be commercialised in the U.K.?

The payment for the commercial use of racing data remains the centre of much dispute in the U.K. The British Horseracing Board (BHB), the organisation that assembles and issues the relevant racing data, aims to sell it to commercial users for the benefit of racing.

After the 2004 European Court of Justice’s database verdict, which challenged BHB’s rights, some disputes have started between BHB and commercial operators. Last week, the British High Court has ruled in favour of At The Races, the racing TV channel, allowing it to use pre-race data, supplied by the Press Association news agency, to foreign betting operators without paying a fee to the BHB.

Although most of the recent disputes did not end in favour of the BHB, last weeks court's decision did confirmed BHB's intellectual property rights on pre-race data. The extent of its rights still has to be defined, through court cases or other.

Among the other options for clarification of the IP rights is a review of the European Directive on Databases. This Directive, which falsely gave BHB the reason to believe that its race data would be protected, will be under revision in the coming months. The IFHA is expected to call for a stronger protection of race data, in favour of those who make the costs and efforts to establish it.

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