Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wants to Reproduce Soccer Statistics

Dear Rich: I live in South Africa, and here we have several indoor soccer clubs, that run their own leagues. All the league’s information and stats are freely available on the net to anyone who enters their website (without the need of a log in) Now, I would like to use all of their league stats in order to rank all the different teams from different clubs together, in one big ranking system on my website. Would I have any problems with copyright? As you mentioned on a different post, sports stats are fact and none can claim originality to fact. And what if I disclosed the source of the information, publishing “this information was sourced from www.clubname.com” would that give me protection? We're not comfortable discussing South African copyright and database laws (although this site provides the rules) so, we can only answer in regard to U.S. law. (The copyright laws in the U.S. and S.A. law are derived from the same sources and both countries belong to the Berne Convention.) We discussed most of the issues regarding the use of sports statistics in a previous entry and we stick by our belief that in the U.S., individual sports statistics are not protected by copyright law but compilations of data, if they are arranged in a unique manner -- for example, correlating the age of players with the number of successful spot-kicks -- are protectable. As for disclosing the source, we're not sure that's a good idea as it may tip off the league as to what you are doing -- something they may not otherwise be aware of. 
That said dept. In addition, two other steps you may want to take are (1) to review the league website for any conditions of use, and (2) research whether the league has brought suit for similar violations. Under U.S. law, if you must agree to terms and conditions prohibiting from downloading a database, you could be bound. Be sure, as you say, you don't have to agree to use the sites. 

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