Reruns can become tiresome. Every year, the Indian Premier League, probably the worlds richest T20 Cricket tournament, puts forth restrictions on the usage of content, only to roll them back. In its third year, the IPL has updated the terms for use of content generated by reporters at the tournament, particularly increasing the restrictions placed on websites of news broadcasters, and also on magazines. These guidelines effectively safeguard the commercial interests of those who have partnered with the IPL for television broadcast, the official website, online live streaming and more. Some important terms, conditions and definitions.:

For Websites

A key point to note here is that a distinction has been made between what News Broadcasters can show on TV, and what they can show online on their websites. The IPL has also defined what it refers to as a “Bona Fide News Media Website“:

— by Website, the IPL is referring to an official on-line Website version of a printed newspaper or sport-related magazine, or any other DLF IPL-approved Website; one that that is owned (directly and indirectly), run and managed by an organisation whose primary business solely concerns the provision of news to the public; and
— no material part of that organisation’s business involves the sale, distribution or supply of any goods or services other than the provision of news to the public (and associated advertising placed alongside that news).

Also, the IPL has taken into account that previously, videos with footage of the tournament were being shown on video sharing sites like YouTube and DailyMotion:

— No Video Footage Allowed Online: News Broadcasters are not being allowed to display deferred or archived video footage of the DLF IPL, even as part of news bulletin (or otherwise), on its own website or via its account on a third-party video-upload site such as YouTube, DailyMotion, etc. Remember that the IPL recently signed a deal for providing both live streaming and video footage to YouTube.
— Photographs: Accredited photographers can use still photographs of a match for editorial use and within news services (agency/syndication) as long as they are still images and not used for commercial purposes (promotional material, advertising. The limitations on use of photographs on Websites shall apply equally to News Broadcasters’ own Websites. Photographs may be transmitted to an agency for publication, on a website that is not updated with match photographs more than fifteen (15) times per hour (with a reasonable number of photographs displayed at any one time) during play on any one day of any Match.
— Reporters For Websites: On a positive note, reporters for Websites, which have not otherwise been granted accreditation, will be given access to the Match venue the day before the Match and for post-Match press conferences only on the day of the Match

For News On TV

— News Broadcast Limits: News Broadcasters will be allowed up to 30 seconds of fresh footage per regularly scheduled news bulletin subject to a maximum of 120 seconds of fresh footage per Match in a day. The overall limit for use of footage shall be not more than seven (7) minutes for the entire day, i.e., the footage from a single Match, not exceeding 120 seconds aggregate duration, cannot be repeated more than three (3) times during the entire day in regularly scheduled news bulletins. It can’t be used for special programming centered around any match.
— 30 Min Delay From Live Telecast: The use of live footage is not permitted at any time and under any circumstances. There will be a minimum of 30 minutes delay from the live telecast, much higher than last years delay of 5 minutes.
— Archival Footage: use of archival clips may be permitted up to a maximum of two (2) clips of 30 seconds each (i.e., not more than 60 seconds per day) for news coverage till the 2011 IPL season.

For Magazines: Excludes Travel, Computer, Gaming Mags & More

For the first time, the IPL had defined what it calls a “Bona Fide News Magazine”, which refers to a magazine:
whose business solely concerns the provision of news to the public. It thus excludes magazines that provide “market/consumer/product/service information” like computer/gaming magazines, travel magazines, contract publishing magazines, food and wine magazines, telecommunications/IT magazines, financial services magazines, pornographic magazines etc. The magazines business should also not involve the sale, distribution or supply of any goods or services other than the provision of news to the public.

View the IPLs terms and conditions here, interestingly, hosted at Crickzenga.com. So it appears that Zenga involved with IPL3 as well.

Our Take

Some of the restrictions are difficult to justify: for example, is a gaming magazine is doing a report on an IPL official game, and would like to use photographs from the IPL, or a telecom magazine that is writing, like we are, about the IPLs digital rights. We think that news broadcasters will raise a stink about the 30 minute delay for usage of “live feed”, and the extreme restrictions related to how many times they can show footage in news broadcasts in a day. Expect some of these to be rolled back. Frankly, the guidelines aren’t nearly as restrictive as previous (eventually revoked) editions, so there’s not much to roll back this time around. Can’t say I disagree entirely with the definition of websites that should be allowed to use IPL footage, but what if I go to an IPL game, and take a photo at the game. Will I need permission to publish it on my blog, even if I don’t have accreditation? As the digital space evolves and the slicing of the digital rights increases, more such issues will arise.

As an aside, do you think the Fake IPL Player blog will be revived? He’s registered a website, here, and is savvy enough to have protected his identity while registering it.

Update: Prem Panicker weighs in on the issue at Smoke Signals. Trendspotting, he writes that the IPL appears to be gradually (year on year) reducing the freedom of coverage that the media has enjoyed. Every year, take a mile, then concede an inch.

I think the News Media needs the IPL more than the IPL needs News Media, and the IPL is now exploiting that need.

Also see:
Guidelines For IPL 2
Guidelines For IPL 1 (contentSutra)