Odham's Press Ltd v London and Provincial Sporting News Agency Ltd [1935] 1 Ch 672

Court: Chancery Division

Judges: Eve J

Date decided: 4, 5, 9 July 1935

Subsequent appeal: Odhams Press Ltd v London and Provincial Sporting News Agency Ltd [1936] 1 Ch 357

A great deal of effort was expended collecting information in order to determine the starting odds on the first three horses in any given race. The investigators talked to many bookmakers and took notes about bets placed on many horses, and agreed on accurate odds which they sent off to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs claimed copyright in the notes taken.

Eve J held that there was no copyright in the tables or compilations made by the investigators, despite the effort that is expended in compiling them:

In my opinion, it is impossible to say that these are literary works in the nature of tables or compilations made by these investigators. They are notes of what they see or hear as they pass round the ring - one in one part of the ring and the other in another part of it. They are in this sense compilations, but in large measure the information comes from an investigation of the entries in the bookmakers' books, and it also comes from other sources. One cannot have a gentleman of the geniality of Mr. Dawson visiting racecourse after racecourse without feeling certain that he became acquainted with and became very good friends with the persons who are in the fortunate position of being able to give information day after day, and it is obvious, as he frankly admitted to me, that he picked up information wherever he could. He was even a friend of the "blower" representatives, who were very material persons to be considered with regard to the particular horses which they might be fancying, and he would naturally be passing the time of day with them, and would ask them, as he admitted that he did, whether there was any news, and what they were about to do. All those questions would assist him in his final award when he met Mr. Meads, and more particularly if they had to consider some outsider which had come with a rush at the end and had got a place.(([[1935]] 1 Ch 672, 680-1.))
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