For my PHD I will do an academical research study about the English Premier League. Therefore I created a database out of several online databases - namely the ea sports fifa ultimate team scores, and official data by the premier league like name, nation, age and the players profile picture by the british premierleague.

The participants can only take part in the study via a personalized invitation URL.

The main purpose of the study is to understand the impacts of different player combinations in fantasy teams (known players, but in unreal teams) on team likings based on ethnic influences and other facts.

So from my understanding this should be not a copyright infringement because of the following criteria:

The terms and conditions of the EPL can be viewed here

I will of course cite the original data sources and state their ownership of the data / images. I will explicitly state, that none of the players or clubs are involved in the experiment.

Is this a legal use of the data by ea sports and the premier league in the uk?

thanks for any hints or insights on this topic!

  • 1
    Your plan relies on "fair dealing", which differs from US "fair use" sufficiently that I don't know the answer. The systems are the same in that both rely on post-hoc analysis of patterns of findings. By US standards, fair use would be favored based on transformativeness, non-commercial, research use and negligible effect on market, but disfavored in terms of extent; that probably balances out as "fair use". Over here, individual researchers are not restricted from scraping up databases for academic publications. UK is different.
    – user6726
    Dec 5, 2016 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


Prima facie the terms of use specifically prohibit the creation of databases from the information on the Premier League website. (You have also broken their ToU by not linking to the Home page as required).

Therefore, you do not have permission to do what you want to do. As such you are subject to being sued and, if that happens, would rely on a fair dealing defence; specifically, the research and private study limb.

While I think such a defence would likely be successful, if the Premier League wanted to they could cost you a great deal of time and money in making it. Since you are a PhD student and they are a major corporation, they could bury you in legal fees and afford the best solicitors and barristers who may be able to tear your defence to pieces. I hope your university would stand by you but who knows?

Is there a reason why you don't contact them and get explicit permission? I would think that your university would require this.

  • thanks. In the meantime I could gather all player stats (name, position, age and so on) from free databases that explicitly allow using their data. The only thing I would need are the player images from the premier league in combination with my own database. Would that be considered as "fair dealing" in the UK? @Dale M Dec 8, 2016 at 10:10

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