In Case C‑604/10, Football Dataco vs Yahoo! UK the CJEU gave guidance about the provision of Article 3 (1) of the Database Directive as to when a database meets the requirements of eligibility for copyright protection. The captioned provision reads:
In accordance with this Directive, databases which, by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute the author's own intellectual creation shall be protected as such by copyright. No other criteria shall be applied to determine their eligibility for that protection.
The CJEU held that the only criterion to be assessed and applied in determining the eligibility of a database for copyright protection is originality. By referring to its previous case law the Court elaborated that the criterion of originality is satisfied when, through the selection or arrangement of the data which it contains, the author expresses his creative ability in an original manner by making free and creative choices and thus stamps his ‘personal touch’. Therefore, the originality requirement would not be met if the author of the database is following strictly beforehand mapped procedures and rules for the selection and arrangement of the database content which would preclude any kind of creative choice and freedom. Furthermore, as Article 3 (1) sets forth ‘[n]o other criteria (apart from originality) shall be applied to determine the eligibility of database protection.’ Therefore, the amount of intellectual effort, skill and labour of the author invested in the arrangement of a database become completely irrelevant, if they have not produced any originality in the selection or arrangement of that data.