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It’s always lovely to hear from old friends…. 04/06/2010

Posted by Ian Grant in Nonsense.
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Dear Sirs,

We write on behalf of the Football DataCo Limited.

Football DataCo Limited has been appointed by the Football Association Premier League, the Football League, the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League (collectively “the Leagues”) to license certain intellectual property rights owned by the Leagues to third parties, including those in the Fixture Lists for this forthcoming 2010/11 season (“the Fixture Lists”).

Should you intend to display or otherwise use the Fixture Lists on your website http://www.bsad.org/0506/reports/fixtures.html it will be necessary for you to obtain the appropriate licence from Football DataCo Limited prior to any such display or use. Football DataCo Limited can be contacted at [removed].

We would also take this opportunity to remind you that the display or use of other materials owned or controlled by the Leagues (including, but not limited to photographs and logos) may require a separate additional licence which can also be obtained via Football DataCo Limited.

Football DataCo Limited vigorously polices and protects the Leagues’ commercial rights, including the Leagues intellectual property rights in the fixture lists. On behalf of Football DataCo Limited, NetResult will be regularly monitoring web sites to ensure that the Leagues’ intellectual property rights are not infringed.

Please contact us if you have any questions or comments quoting the above DataCo_NRID Reference in all correspondence.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours faithfully,

[removed]

NetResult
A Division of Projector NetResult Ltd
Broadway House,
2-6 Fulham Broadway,
London,
SW6 1AA

———————

Dear Mr [removed],

Although it seems extraordinary that we should have to do so, it appears that we must, with weary hearts, reply to your message in order to establish some simple facts. This would be unnecessary were your company in the habit of undertaking even the most basic research before sending out threatening emails to websites which seek to publicise the game for no financial gain. Clearly, however, NetResult continues to see itself as above such mundanities as courtesy, accuracy and common sense.

Anyway, you’ve rudely wasted our time, so kindly permit us to return the compliment…

Firstly, and most importantly, the site that you’ve decided to “regularly monitor” is no longer being updated. Had you taken the trouble to look further than the one page that seems to have attracted your attention, you would have noticed that there have been no updates to the site since as long ago as 2006; the address that you cite quite clearly lists the Watford FC fixtures for the 2005/06 season rather than anything more recent. As far as we are aware, neither NetResult nor Football DataCo Limited make any claim to copyright over past events, nor have any legal basis for preventing absolutely anyone from displaying such information; we eagerly look forward to any attempt to claim ownership of universally-available historical facts with great amusement.

Secondly, if your company bothered to keep records of past correspondence, you would be aware of an extensive and somewhat heated exchange between ourselves and both NetResult and Football DataCo Limited in 2005. That correspondence remains online at http://www.bsad.org/0506/reports/fixtures_letter.html should you wish to read it; our case was covered by, among others, When Saturday Comes, the Independent and Radio 5.

While aware that we were powerless to do anything but comply with your threats, we did suggest that you might consider revising the shoddy, impersonal and inaccurate message sent to websites that have been unfortunate enough to come to your attention: “If you are unaware of the impression that such an email leaves,” we wrote, “then we would respectfully suggest that you re-write it before using it to deal with another website.” Evidently, that suggestion fell on deaf ears; your message confirms that NetResult operates exactly as before, without a hint of respect for the vast amounts of time, effort and good old-fashioned love that are ploughed into fan-driven websites.

Our website ceased to be updated in 2006. We would be exaggerating if we claimed that being bullied by NetResult was the crucial factor in that decision; nevertheless, it was a stark, shocking reminder of how little the football authorities (and their henchmen) care or understand about what motivates football fans to produce a fanzine like ours. Nothing has changed, evidently.

We’ll expect to hear from you again in five years’ time, when another idle search on Google causes a NetResult employee to stumble across our site and fire off a crudely-templated email without further ado. We continue to hope, however, that common sense might prevail, rendering your company’s parasitical relationship with the beautiful game as much of a historical curiosity as the fixture list that’s come to your notice.

As before, we reserve the right to publish this correspondence.

Yours,

Ian Grant and Matt Rowson
http://www.bsad.org

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Comments»

1. Ian Grant - 04/06/2010

Anyone who missed out on the fun the first time around can read the original correspondence here: http://www.bsad.org/0506/reports/fixtures_letter.html.

2. K Endean - 04/06/2010

Well said, unfortunatly my reply would have contined less words and sylibles, comparing them to parts of the anatomy!

3. ja - 04/06/2010

My lord, they really just get better and better. You should take it as a complement that your hard work consistently gets the attention of the authorities!

I look forward to the next instalment.

What you need to do is a search and replace on the team names – Watford becoming Wotford and say Leeds become fLeeds for example.

Like some of the unlicensed football games do with players names.

4. NickB - 04/06/2010

Superb. Worthy of Oscar Wilde: elegant, forensic and humiliating all in one,

5. DM - 04/06/2010

Aaaaahhhh… happy memories of happy days !!

6. Alex Thompson - 04/06/2010

I haven’t commented before, despite having been a loyal reader of both BSaD and now BHappy, but I felt compelled to comment on this because I simply cannot believe that you’ve received this e-mail again! But then again, given what happened last time with this bunch of , it’s probably not much of a surprise. I remember the previous incident very clearly and it has always been used by me as an example when talking to friends and aquaintances about what football has turned into.

I await with baited breath how they respond to this, especially your point about historical data. I imagine though that (if anything) you will get a terse reply that does not include any form of apology or admission of an error on their part.

Anyway, I just wanted to take the (very late) opportunity to thank you for all the hard work that you and many others did on BSaD and continue to do in a scaled down way on BHappy. You’ve given me many hours of enjoyment over the years and don’t deserve to receive this kind of correspondence.

I only wish that I could write such fantastic letters that you do. Sadly, I think that all of this will be lost on the people that you are writing to.

7. Matt - 04/06/2010

5 years on and it’s just occurred to me – Watford Internet FC follow the first team around the country playing games in the morning against the supporters sides of whoever Watford play in the afternoon. Could be amusing to publish our fixtures for the upcoming season (once we know them) and see the reaction from NetResult & Football DataCo…

8. Jeff - 04/06/2010

If Worpdress had a ‘like’ button, I’d be clicking it. (If ‘like’ is the right sentiment)

9. Anders - 04/06/2010

Hilarious 🙂
[removed] must be extremely proud of himself 🙂

10. Sequel - 04/06/2010

Matt, in a similar vein, I may dig out my old Subbuteo set and play my own Div 2 fixtures from August, listing the fixtures on this blog: Aug 14th: Watford Subbuteo FC v Derby SFC, for example. The net result would be a poke in the eye for Mr (removed).

11. Old Git - 04/06/2010

I rather like the idea that dates of football matches are considered to be ‘intellectual property.’
However, the continued employment of this unpleasant company, who obviously have the same mindset as a firm of car-clampers, illustrates only too well the insulting attitude of ‘collectively the Leagues’ to those of us who support the game.

12. Dan - 04/06/2010

Do it Matt, what a fantastic idea! Their argument would fall apart and die in a court of law!

13. Si - 04/06/2010

What’s the bet this is some standard template letter sent out by a work experience kid who happened upon this 5 year old list of fixtures while browsing the web in their lunch hour.

Aside from that I’m still, 5 years later, at a loss to see how protecting a fixture list in such a way is anything other than counter productive. But we had those arguments, so I’ll let it lie….

14. Matt - 04/06/2010

Just to be clear – I’m not Matt Rowson so can’t publish anything on here like that but cheers for supporting the idea Dan – might do it on the WIFC site just to see if we get noticed.

15. Paul Baxter - 04/06/2010

This sort of thing really upsets me. I am in charge of Sale & Marketing for a company and I would be extremely upset if my company did something equivalent to this. I have felt the need to email the Sales Director of Dataco to suggest he tries to extricate himself from this situation. We will see…

Having said that, maybe your elegant reply will make them think for a second about what they are doing.

16. NRC - 05/06/2010

Well done both, a considered reply which hits a note far above any the recipients can ever hope to acheive and as such its tone and content will no doubt be missed completely. Nevertheless, I applaud you for your response.

Let me add my thanks to that of Alex for all your continued efforts, BHappy truly is the best place to come for informed WFC comment. Here’s to another exciting season …..

17. Esp - 07/06/2010

I (like the other BHaPPY subscribers) await the reply with interest.

What’s the betting it will be yet ANOTHER templated/boiler plate reply?

….and to think THAT Football/DataCo employee actually receives a SALARY for writing such posturing illiterate garbage!

18. Gerry - 07/06/2010

I would absolutely love it if some rich bugger with time on his hands and a vengeful disposition were to actually challenge DataCo in the courts for claiming “copyright” over event dates. DataCo and the FL have only gotten away with this immoral claim through sheer legal bullying. A bit like when older kids used to nick your ball and your pitch and taunt you with “wodger gonna do abaht it, then?”. I always dreamt of getting a big mate to come over and give ’em the kicking they deserve.

It’s time a fans organisation took these metalfitters on. The latest Football Supporter’s Federation mag/newsletter mentioned this fixtures racket so perhaps they could pull their fingers out and stand up to Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runn in the courts.

In the meantime, congrats on the supremely-worded, caustic yet polite reply to the racketeers. What they really deserve is ‘FOAD’…

19. Wiggy - 07/06/2010

Hrers na igintesihg ieda. I bet you can awl raed tihs wtih no porlebm. Arprrtnltey id dseont mttear waht odrer lttres are in. So how aoubt wforatd aigsint suntcphore.

I don’t konw of any tames cllaed wforatd or suntcphore. Do you?
I see a new fxutire lsit cmiong!

20. billyo - 08/06/2010

This did make me chuckle – as did your wonderful reply. This is indicative of modern society, data is pushed into the public domain by the Football League on the day the fixtures are published then hastily withdrawn, and henceforth you must pay to access what is obviously publicly available information.

The football fixtures are sadly just the tip of the iceberg, and I thought I’d highlight a brilliant book I’ve just finished reading on this subject. The Silent State by Heather Brooke, it’s really rather excellent – though it might make you quite angry.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silent-State-Secrets-Surveillance-Democracy/dp/0434020265

21. Back from Hammerau - 08/06/2010

Maybe you should consider getting the web-site hosted in Israel. The Supreme Court there recently told your friends at DataCo to get lost.

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/30507/uk-football-leagues-lose-israel-case

22. Hal Berstram - 08/08/2010

I think it’s time for mass resistance: let’s get several million bloggers to publish all the league fixtures simultaneously and then watch “DataCo” running around clogging up the courts. Oh the fun of it. Or just give the list to Wikileaks and link to that. They’ve kind of got their hands full with Afghanistan at the moment but they might like a side issue in football fixtures.

Matt Rowson - 08/08/2010

Unfortunately I suspect that DataCo’s folk would like nothing better. They don’t take you to court, they threaten your ISP, who invariably complies. The onus is on you to take them to court, I suspect.


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