“Protecting and Developing Intellectual Property Rights in Sport: The Role of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC)”

The Business of Sport – Seminar Series

Room G01 – Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1 7HX

Wednesday 15th October 2008 at 6pm
(For directions click here)

“Protecting and  Developing Intellectual Property Rights in Sport:
The Role of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC)”

Given by:

Oliver Weingarten, Solicitor – Commercial and Intellectual Property, The Premier League
Sam Walch, Head of AFL Media, Australian Football League (AFL)


The Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC) operates as a forum through which sports bodies can share information and experiences. In particular, the purpose of the SROC is to enable:

  • Discussion and sharing of best practice on key legal, political and regulatory issues,
  • Raising awareness of new developments and innovation in sports rights,
  • Sport to take joint action to protect and promote their rights.

SROC members sell rights to create income that can be re-invested into their sport. Due to its immense popularity across the world, sport is attractive to pirates and commercial undertakings looking to sports content to create profit, without any re-investment in sport. SROC seeks proper recognition of the law of sport from governments across the world and effective protection for their rights under law.

SROC members are looking to national governments and international treaty organisations such as the European Union, WTO and WIPO to:

  • Fully recognise, protect and promote the special nature of sport and sports rights,
  • Provide comprehensive protection for sports rights, including their names, logos and marks,
  • Outlaw ambush marketing and ticket touting/scalping,
  • Create a regime for sports betting that enables sport to protect its integrity, and establishes a fair return to sports for the use of their events by betting operators.

In this presentation Oliver Weingarten from the Premier League and Sam Walch from the Australian Football League (AFL) present an overview of  SROC’s activities, in particular focusing on what they see as the key challenges facing intellectual property rights-holders in the sports industry in the immediate future, utilising a number of case-studies on recent SROC campaigns.


  • OECD (4th June 2007). The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy. Part IV. Executive Summary.DSTI/IND(2007)9/PART4/REV1.
  • SROC (2008). Notable Successes & Achievements, Challenges & Opportunities.
  • SROC (3rd July 2008). Submission to the Consultation by the Gambling Commission on amending Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice: Licence Condition 15: Sports Betting and Requests for Information.
  • SROC (2008). Position of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition on the European Commission’s Content Online initiative.
  • SROC (24th October 2008). Submission to the Independent European Football (Arnault) Review.
  • SROC (2008). Position paper of the Members of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC) on the Proposal for a Directive on Audiovisual Media Services Article 3b: short news reports (2008).
  • (SROC, 14th June 2007). Position of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC) on the Proposal for a World Intellectual Property Organisation Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations.


Oliver Weingarten is an in-house commercial and intellectual property (IP) solicitor at the Premier League with wide-ranging responsibility on commercial and IP-related issues affecting the Premier League and its member clubs. Responsibility ranges from negotiations and drafting of commercial contracts, anti-piracy strategy and enforcement, initiating and managing litigation in the UK – against unauthorised decoder card suppliers and purchasers – and in the US – leading a class action against Google and YouTube, general IP policy strategy, working with the law enforcement and Government authorities on anti-ticket touting and IP enforcement, and lobbying at European level on media and IP related issues. Oliver is Secretary of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC) and has led campaigns on news access, an OECD case study on internet piracy and overall better IP rights protection for sports. Oliver joined the Premier League in 2004 from the Olswang law firm.

Sam Walch is Head of AFL Media, in which capacity he manages AFL’s media business through which he has responsibility for intellectual and media property rights protection and development. He was formerly an in-house lawyer for Cricket Australia, the governing body of cricket in Australia.

For further details on this Seminar Series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Email: or Tel: 020-7631 6763

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