Premier League’s Lawyers Come After The OffsideBy: Daryl | February 12th, 2009
We received a threat from the
Evil Galactic Empire’s Premier League’s legal people yesterday, demanding that we stop using all English Premier League club crests here on The Offside, and all UK club crests too.
While football fans see football crests as a helpful way of identifying football teams, Football Data Co (the Premier League’s licensing arm) sees football crests as a way to make money.
We could understand the legal takedown notice if we were profiteering from club crests by selling counterfeit Arsenal shirts or dodgy Man Utd dog food bowls. But we’re not. We use club crests the way they were originally intended: to identify teams.
And for the Premier League to prevent us doing that is not only comically tyrannical, it’s extremely short-sighted too.
Because the more the Premier League stamps on football fans, the more football fans feel separated from the game. I certainly feel a lot less goodwill toward the Premier League today than I did yesterday. And I wasn’t all that happy with them yesterday.
It’s as if the Premier League suffers from a particularly aggressive form of Obssessive Compulsive Disorder, except instead of being compelled to clean everything eight times they feel the need to make sure they’re making money out of everything.
Here’s the text of the letter we received:
We write on behalf of the Football Data Co Limited which is the appointed licensee of the FA Premier League, the Football League, the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League (”the Leagues”) in respect of the licensing of certain intellectual property rights of the Leagues, including UK Club Crests, for use by third parties.
We have noticed that your website http://www.theoffside.com/ is displaying UK Club Crests without permission. The Club Crests can only be used with permission from each individual team. The Crests need to be removed until permission is granted.
We wish to make you aware that we have a good faith belief that your present use is an infringement of the Leagues’ legal rights and that all such unauthorised use must cease immediately. Please confirm by return your agreement to this and give your undertaking to cease all such infringements on any and all of your web sites. Pending your response the Leagues’ rights are fully reserved.
We thank you for your cooperation.
1. I hereby state Football DataCo are the owners of the exclusive rights to the copyrighted material and that NetResult are authorised to act on their behalf.
2. On behalf of the owners of the exclusive right to the copyrighted material at issue in this notice, I hereby state that I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorised by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
I, Jack Xxxxxx, as a representative of NetResult hereby digitally sign this e-mail message under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America with the additional statement under penalty of perjury that the information in the notice is accurate.
A Division of Projector NetResult Ltd
2-6 Fulham Broadway,
Those aren’t kisses at the bottom next to the guy’s name. Jack was actually quite pleasant via email so we don’t want to cause him any personal trouble.
But Football Data Co is everything that’s wrong with modern football. These are the same people that sue you if you dare print Premier League fixtures without handing them a fistful of cash first. Apparently information like football fixtures isn’t public knowledge, it’s just an asset to be sold off. Because why would football fans want to know who and when their team is playing?
So there’s a definite battle being fought between the internet and the Premier League.
We’d love to be able to counter-sue them for ruining football by making it all dollars and no sense, and for attempting punk moves like Game 39.
But they have all the money and all the high-paid lawyers, and that makes them right. Legally at least.
Seems to me that with moves like this, and taking down YouTube videos and threatening sites like us and 101GreatGoals and other sites that are written by genuine football fans the Premier League becomes less and less about football and more and more about the cash register noise.
So we’ve removed all the crests. We didn’t really have much choice, because prison food doesn’t look too appetizing. But we’re also going to do exactly what it says in the letter. We’re going to seek permission from individual clubs to use their crests and find out which teams are marketing machines and which are still just football clubs.
Big thanks to the following blogs for highlighting our little legal battle here:
Run of Play
Off the Post
101 Great Goals
Sport is a TV Show
The Modern Spectator
The Beautiful Game