A battle over intellectual property is being waged in connection with gaming.

‘Betting via M-Pesa has exceeded Sh83 billion in the first half of the year,’ according to a Business Daily story on November 11. This sporting phenomenon and its licensing are having a profound impact on the legal landscape, including in the areas of sports law, intellectual property law, and data protection.

As a result, contract negotiations are getting more intricate, and parties are being asked to weigh in on an increasing number of sensitive issues. Against the backdrop of continuously shifting conditions, the wagering industry has put a strong light on data protection compliance and intellectual property protection rights. The ability to access sports data as well as geolocation technology is vital for bookmakers who want to provide sports gambling services. However, what exactly is sports game data? In sports betting, this is known as “the nitty-gritty” of what is going on in the game; it is the lifeblood of the business, and it is also the most essential and profitable component of the whole industry, which sports bookmakers take bets on.

It is both proprietary and personal, and sports actors (teams, leagues, federations, and unions) have asserted ownership over it in order to benefit from economic opportunities. Consequently, the confidentiality and proper use of this private game data are vital to maintaining the integrity of regulated sports betting.

Personal and sensitive information about their consumers is handled by gambling organizations, and this information must be kept secure. At the time of registration, gamblers are required to provide their date of birth, phone number, physical and email addresses, financial and banking information (including bank account numbers), names, identification numbers, location data, IP addresses, and other personal and sensitive identifying information).

There will likely be an increase in the number of patent applications for betting apps as this emerging gaming sector matures. Furthermore, trade secrets will enable sports actors to work with sportsbooks on data sharing, while technology transfer will allow for the introduction of new technologies to the market.

In contrast, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and data compliance will be the most probable sources of litigation, rather than the aforementioned infringements.

a very valuable asset

Data created by sports actors is a significant intellectual property asset in an age when the world’s unquenchable want for data exists. Sporting actors believe that they have a vital stake in how their games are regarded and the extent to which their sporting events are turned into betting events as a result of this.

An important legal concern that has not yet been completely answered is whether the rights holders whose games create the data have the ability to commercialize their intellectual rights and protect “their” data from unauthorised use.

Gaming includes the use of sporting events, scores, statistics, and club logos in order to take advantage of a specific league’s popularity; nevertheless, such use may constitute a violation of a number of intellectual property rights, including those of athletes.

However, who owns the information obtained during a sports event? Is it feasible to get copyright protection for it? What can be done with the information that has been gathered?

The games or data that serve as the foundation for sports betting are not protected by intellectual property rights. It is neither a work of writing or a planned performance as envisioned by the Copyright Act, and so the activity or gaming itself is not protected under copyright laws. It also does not protect a simple recitation of facts or a simple summary of player performance statistics that does not include additional information. However, facts are only protected if they are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a manner that the end result demonstrates sufficient originality to be designated a work of authorship.

This argues that in order to constitute a work of authorship, factual material must be supplemented with additional information. As a consequence, sports performers’ claims to exclusive ownership of intellectual property are not upheld by the law in most cases. Sporting actors, in lieu of doing so, and in order to preserve their intellectual property rights, can consider establishing mechanisms to secure their factual data points and obtaining copyright protection for the analysis that arises as a consequence.

It is important to remember that when engaging into data licensing agreements with analytics businesses, that the information should be kept confidential. Furthermore, sports performers may bargain for the ownership or exclusive license of the copyright over the analysis and preparation of derivative works, as well as the creation of new derivative works.

In a nutshell, athletes and sports organizations should consider the potential impact of the rapidly expanding sports betting industry on their current and future intellectual property assets generated by and associated with their athletic activities, as this is an area of operations that will only continue to grow in complexity.

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