The Digital Rights That BCCI Had Granted STAR & What Happened To Exclusivity


The Delhi High Court judgment, which said that Cricket scores and updates do not come under copyright, nor do property rights for information related to Cricket Matches exist, also includes segments from the contract signed between the Board for Control for Cricket In India (BCCI) and STAR on the 10th of August 2012, covering domestic BCCI International and Domestic series between 2012 and 2018. By virtue of being in the judgment, these details are now in the public domain, and you can view them here, starting with the last paragraph of Page 23, till the middle of Page 27. A brief overview of these rights and terms, based on what is in the judgement; in particular note the segment on exclusivity and archival rights:

Definitions

- Mobile Activation Rights are defined as BCCI branded schedule match and score alert and application via SMS, MMS or any other form of Mobile communications. The entity with these rights will not be allowed to exploit BCCI rights via “competition, game fantasy Event, predictor game, application”, among other activation mechanisms prohibited.
- Mobile Broadcast Technology covers wireless means of broadcast of audiovisual images to mobile devices via DVB-H, DAB, DMB-T, DMB-S, IDB-T and MediaFlo technology, GPRS, GSM, UMTS .
-  Mobile Rights covers Mobile Activation Rights and the right to provide Feed, Audio Feed, Unilateral Commentary and Unilateral Coverages, but this excludes television Television delivery and Internet Delivery

Rights granted

- The Television Rights, the Audio Rights, the Internet Rights, the Mobile Rights and the Licensee Mobile Rights were granted on an Exclusive basis
- The right to make available Interactive Services to viewers of Footage is subject to prior written consent of BCCI
- The right to produce Unilateral Coverage and Unilateral Commentary for transmission and delivery by means of via TV, Radio, Internet, Mobile was granted
- Right was granted to to incorporate footage in promotional trailers, and make them available by Internet, Mobile or any other means.

Exclusivity
- Time Period: is given for a period of 72 hours from the conclusion of the match, after which the rights will become non-exclusive
- Archival Rights: Following the lapse of exclusivity after 72 hours, the BCCI will have the rights to exploit archival content, as long as any such clip is not more than 30 minutes.
- Audio, Internet & Mobile rights: are granted to the licensee only for 72 hours, after which, Audio, Internet Rights and Mobile Rights will become non-exclusive, and can be exploited by the BCCI at its discretion.

What STAR Can’t Do: 

- The licensee cannot make any footage available via Video-On-Demand, or any on-demand service
- Sub licensing: to any third party is not allowed

What The Court Said About Some Of Terms Of Contract

STAR claimed copyright and property rights over updates and Cricket scores, saying that they have been granted exclusive rights over providing Value Added Services such as SMS, with exclusivity that extends to 72 hours, which they acquired via the contract with BCCI.

The court said it found STAR’s claim “very hollow and shallow”, saying that “Merely by typing/printing a very properly typed/printed document called the agreement dated 10.8.2012, the same cannot result in creation of legal rights once no such rights can exist.”

On the the existence of copyright in news, it said that this “is an argument which just cannot sustain as the news in public domain is not and cannot ever be in the monopoly one or more persons” especially since information from a copyright work is not under copyright.

On the grant of exclusivity for 72 hours, it said that “if really media rights as alleged by the plaintiff can be created, then, I am sure why only for 72 hours even for 72 days or 72 weeks or 72 months or even for whatever period of years legally permissible under the Act, exclusivity could have been granted to the plaintiff with respect to such media rights,” but “The principle of fair dealing quite clearly goes against the concept of there being a monopoly for 72 hours” with respect to news from an event which is available in the public domain.”

The Court ruled that exclusivity will exist for 2 minutes in general, and just seconds in case of events such as wickets, after which the news goes into the public domain.

More in our report here and the judgment here.

Ps: Just for fun, do look at our archival report on the IPL payout schedule for Live Current Media and some of the terms between IPL, BCCI and LCM. A part of Cricket history, this.


  • Anonymous

    @Nikhil:disqus , any idea what logic prompted the court to come up with a figure of “2 minutes” for the news to remain exclusive? The way I understand these laws, no one can claim a copyright over news… scores, wickets and match results are all news. How can there be a definition saying that they are exclusive and copyright protected and “not news” for 2 minutes?
    Would be good to understand the basis for this statement by our court of law.

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