It seems to me an outrage that the football people think that they can copyright their own league time tables, this is all public knowledge.
There are old English cases on this, a football pools coupon was protected by copyright (that seems fair enough) and TV schedules used to be copyrighted (so newspapers were only allowed to publish today’s programmes and not for one week in advance) but some court or new law put a stop to that (good riddance).
But you have to draw a line somewhere.
It is public knowledge that Costa Rica beat Wales 1-0 at a soccer match yesterday, there’s no copyright in that. But if somebody goes to the trouble of collating hundreds and thousands of sports results from all different sources and compiles them himself into a handy book or computer CD, then a lot of work has gone into that and it is the work that is protected. So I can’t just type stuff straight from the pages of Wisden’s, they have done all the hard work down the centuries and I can’t just use it.
The underlying principle is to protect people’s skill and effort in creating stuff.
That is why “there is no copyright in ideas” because having an idea requires little skill or effort, it’s actually writing the novel, recording the music, painting the painting or setting up the cameras and lighting which is worth protecting
That’s why I found the case which said there was copyright in a photo of a bus going over a bridge so upsetting, it is clearly at odds with all the old principles.
Another example is my cow attack summaries. If I just cut and paste an article from a newspaper, I am strictly speaking infringing their copyright. But if I compile a list, then I have put my own work and effort into this (one or two hours a month), and if after a few years I publish a book listing and categorising all these attacks, by nature of attack, severity of injuries, sub-classifying into cases where a dog or a calf was involved, with charts and tables, then that book is my almost entirely my own work and the rest is public knowledge (like Wisden’s cricket scores).
I’d still have to get permission to quote excerpts, but if I just paraphrase, I’m in the clear. If somebody else then copies a chapter from my book, I can sue him for infringement of my own hard work and effort.