vRock Mobile, which came into prominence after partnering with the Indian Premier League for SMS, MMS and IVR mobile rights, has bagged exclusive mobile rights for the Asia Cup till 2014. The Asia Cup covers One Day International Cricket matches between India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and it’s 2010 edition is set to begin tomorrow, with seven matches being played until June 24th 2010. The rights have been acquired from Nimbus Sports via Offspin Sports & Entertainment – an entity that we’ve not heard of before – and applicable across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. So who has rights for Middle East, US and UK, which are all key markets?

vRock Mobile has acquired the rights from Nimbus Sports via Offspin Sports & Entertainment thus further strengthening its mobile cricket portfolio in addition to IPL. The rights are applicable across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

vRock’s rights cover live score alerts through USSD, SMS, Live Video Streaming, Video Clips, IVR with English commentary from Nimbus Sports, Mobile Games, WAP, Mobile Internet, across mobile technology. They’ve also announced two partnerships today – with Indiagames (rather, UTV Indiagames) for WAP deployment and games, and with VuClip, the mobile video search engine. This is probably the first instance of VuClip doing Cricket, but their platform, which repurposes videos on the fly, does enable viewing of videos across multiple handsets; Indiagames had previously powered the game for IPL.

Pushes ‘Hot News’ As Owned By Rights Holder

vRock CEO Jatin Ahluwalia has been quite vocal about what he refers to as the issue of copyrights infringement on the mobile space – deeming SMS’ and alerts related to Cricket as being under copyright. Remember that they had acquired the same rights for the IPL, and the IPL had convinced mobile operators to send messages to VAS companies not to send SMS updates of Cricket scores without explicit licensing from the IPL.

Says Ahluwalia “But we need support from the telecom operators, content broadcasters, content aggregators and mobile VAS companies, not to infringe Asia Cup’s and vRock’s rights by copying contents from exclusive platform including sms/ USSD / WAP / IVR / IVVR. Only vRock has been authorized to use Asia Cup names, trademarks, audio and content such as live scores reporting and match schedules.” Responding to MediaNama’s question on whether this content really is under copyright, Ahluwalia said that “This is a ‘Hot News’ concept. If I’m a news agency, I can freely extend it to news readers, and there’s absolutely no problem. But if I set up a process, hire 500 people, put up a call center, certain machinery in place just for the objective of exploiting commercially, then I need to pass a part of the revenue to who owns the rights.

He added that there’s a 66 page judgement in from the Madras High Court which governs this, and has said he will share a copy of the judgement with MediaNama. We’ll update when we have more. We’ve shared our views on the same before – we feel that updates of events are in the public domain, and not the copyright of any specific entity, media or otherwise.

Related:
VRock Licenses IPL Mobile Content To Multiple Co’s; In Talks For Stake In PhoneyTunes
Updated: IPL Supports Rights Holders; vRock Bags IPL Mobile Rights
Our Comments On Changes Proposed In India’s Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010