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STAR Sends Notices To App Developers After Delhi HC Judgment Grants Cricket Score Rights


STAR India sent out notices to mobile application developers, following the Delhi High Court judgment which granted the company limited, exclusive rights over Cricket scores and commentary. What is interesting about this notice is that STAR is claiming that no entity has the rights to, for a charge, fee or other premium, provide ball-by-ball or other score or incident updates or alerts within 15 minutes from the moment that such updates or alerts have been broadcast by STAR; or (provide) live or near-live match scorecards or match score feeds of any nature.

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It appears that STAR is saying that even scorecards or match score feeds, irrespective of the 15 minute delay, cannot be provided.

The Delhi High Court had ordered (read about it here, and our take on it here):
a. A limited interim injunction restraining the defendants from disseminating contemporaneous match information in the form of ball-by-ball or minute-by-minute score updates/match alerts for a premium, without obtaining a license from the plaintiff.
b. There shall be no restriction upon the defendants to report noteworthy information or news from cricket matches (as discussed in paragraph 49), as and when they arise, because stale news is no news.
c. There shall be no requirement for the license if the defendants do it gratuitously or after a time lag of 15 minutes.

While discussions in court were only focused on SMS updates for a premium, readers should note that as we had pointed out, the judgment appears to encompass all mobile technology, including the Mobile Internet and Mobile Apps as well. STAR’s contention, via the notice, suggests that it covers “SMS, MMS or any other form of Mobile Communications Technology or Mobile Wireless Technology”.

Do read our coverage of STAR’s attempt that getting Mobile rights:

24 Aug, 2012: Don’t Use Live Scores, Ball-By-Ball Alerts For Ind-NZ Cricket Series, STAR Tells App Devs
21 Sep, 2012: STAR Takes Cricbuzz Founder & OnMobile To Court Over Cricket Updates
21 Nov, 2012: Delhi High Court Says Cricket Updates Go Into Public Domain After 2 Min; Implications
22 Nov, 2012: The Digital Rights That BCCI Had Granted STAR & What Happened To Exclusivity
4 Feb, 2013: How STAR Is Claiming Rights Over Cricket Scores
15 Mar, 2013: On The Delhi High Court Judgment Granting STAR Rights To Cricket Scores – Part 1
15 Mar, 2013: On The Delhi High Court Judgment Granting STAR Rights To Cricket Scores – Part 2

STAR’s Notice to application developers

The notice, dated 14th March 2013, reads:

Sirs,
BCCI Mobile SMS Activation Rights – Caution Notice

I am writing on behalf of STAR INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED (“STAR”) in relation to the ongoing India v. Australia cricket series taking place between 12 February 2013 and 26 March 2013, and being conducted under the auspices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (“BCCI”).

As you are aware, the BCCI has granted STAR the exclusive internet rights, mobile rights and mobile activation rights (the “Exclusive Rights”) with respect to the international and domestic matches hosted by the BCCI (“BCCI Events”) for a period of six years comencing April 2012. Further, the BCCI has authorised STAR to administer, monitor and enforce such Exclusive Rights.

By means of this letter, STAR brings to your immediate notice and attention the attached order of the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi dated 13 Maarch, 2013, bearing CS (OS) Nos. 2722/2012,3232,2012 and 2780/2012 in relation to the unlicensed dissemination of contemporaneous match information in the form of ball-by-ball or minute-by-minute score updates/match alerts for a fee, charge or any other premium (by whatever name called). The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has held that any such unlicensed dissemination for a premium, within 15 minutes of broadcast of the underlying incident by STAR, amounts to a breach of STAR’s Exclusive Rights.

With the above as a background, your attention is drawn to the following:

* STAR has Exclusive Rights to deliver or provide access to the audiovisual and/or visual and/or visual feed/footage including any commentary or coverage of all BCCI Events for reception and viewing on a mobile device, including where the communication link(s) used in such delivery comprises, at least in part, mobile communications technology and/or mobile broadcast technology (“Mobile Technology”);

* No third party may use, without prior written license from STAR, any or all BCCI logos, BCCI names and any other BCCI marks (together, the “BCCI Marks”), or commercially asscociate in any other way with the BCCI Marks, either expressly or impliedly, including through marketing promotions, advertising or other commercial activity using Mobile Technology.

* No third party, without prior written license from STAR, may publish, provide or disseminate for a charge, fee or other premium, or otherwise sell or license to any person or entity, inter alia, any of the following proprietary content relating to the BCCI Events:
– ball-by-ball or other score or incident updates or alerts within 15 minutes from the moment that such updates or alerts have been broadcast by STAR; or
– live or near-live match scorecards or match score feeds of any nature.

* No third party, without prior written license from STAR, may publish, provide or disseminate to any person or entity, inter alia, any of the following proprietary content relating to the BCCI Events:
– match scorecards or score feeds using BCCI Marks;
– match schedules using BCCI Marks;
mobile applications using proprietary match content or BCCI Marks;
– audio commentary; or
– match feed or match footage.

Should you fail to adhere to the above, you will be deemed to have knowingly breached the Exclusive Rights granted by the BCCI to STAR and STAR will have no other option than to initiate further action, including legal recourse.

This letter is, and is not intended to be, a complete statement of the facts or law as they may pertain to this matter or of our positions, rights or remedies, legal or equitable, all of which are specifically reserved.

If you have any questions or enquiries relating to this letter, please do not hesitate to contact Copyright Integrity International, STAR’s right protection partner and authorised agent, at star@copyrightintegrity.com

If you with to syndicate or obtain a license to the Exclusive Rights from STAR, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Ajit Mohan at **** or call ****

We thank you for your understanding in relation to the above

Yours faithfully,
Deepak Jacob
General Counsel
STAR INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED

Note: Contact details redacted