The Court of Appeal has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to determine where publication takes place when information is made available via the internet in relation to a claim for breach of database rights in the UK.
Current UK Rules
Currently the infringement takes place in the country where the hosting server is based (SaaS provider hosting centre), rather than in the country where the information is actually read or used (downloaded). However, the Court of Appeal has asked the ECJ to clarify the position, to confirm whether infringement takes place in the hosting country or the country where the information is downloaded, or both.
Football Dataco v Sportradar
This issue arose when Football Dataco Ltd created statistics on behalf of the English and Scottish football league and claimed that Sportradar GmbH (a German company with a Swiss parent company, and with servers outside of the UK) had breached its database rights by making the information available to users in the UK.
The High Court used laws covering satellite television to determine that the country from which the information was sent i.e. where the servers were based was the place where the infringement occurred. However it has asked the ECJ to clarify the position.
Implications of the ECJ Decision
It will be important for all SaaS providers to closely monitor the ECJ decision in due course, as hosting servers are not always based in the same country as the users accessing the information and the decision could have wider implications for copyright infringement claims in relation to SaaS Agreements.
Irene Bodle is an IT lawyer specialising in SaaS agreements with over 10 years experience in the IT sector. If you require assistance with any SaaS, ASP, software on demand contracts or any other IT legal issues contact me:
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