Update (28th Jan 2014): The interim injunction will stay, as per the Delhi High Court, following Cricbuzz and ESPNCricinfo’s refusal to pay Rs 10 lakh for a licence to provide live updates. More at Outlook. Hat Tip: Nikhil Mehra.

In our opinion, the decision to not take a license is a prudent one, because taking a license amounts to accepting that MSM has the right to prevent reporting of Cricket updates and scores. Buying a license sets a precedence for future cases, and imagine a situation wherein these websites have to buy a license to report live on all sports and events. This means that commentary will be delayed for the rest of the series.

In case you’re an app developer and have received notices like the ones STAR had sent in the past (see this and this), for coverage of Cricket on apps, please share a copy of the notice with us at nikhil at medianama dot com.

25th Jan 2014: Premier cricket websites ESPNCricinfo and Cricbuzz have delayed reporting of Cricket scores and providing ball by ball commentary online, following an interim order from Delhi High Court order, which we had reported about yesterday. This is following a case filed by Multi Screen Media, which has the TV, Internet and Mobile rights to the series, and is broadcasting the series on its TV channel Sony Six and online at Sony Liv. We checked, and here’s what we noticed:

On ESPNCricinfo
updates-cricinfo
– Delay: the commentary and scores online appears to be delayed by around 5 overs, as compared to the live broadcast taking place on TV.
– Number of balls: No ball by ball updates any more. We couldn’t spot a pattern, but it varies: sometimes there’s one update, sometimes three.
– Time Gap between updates: There’s a gap between updates, but we couldn’t spot a clear pattern here either: typically, a gap of 20 seconds between updates, but that also depends on whether the over ended or not, wherein the gap is bigger. On the right is a screenshot of a stopwatch we used to check the frequency of Cricinfo’s updates, in terms of time, for approximately one over.

cricinfo_sm

On Cricbuzz
updates-cricinfo
– Delay: The commentary and scores online appear to be delayed by 5 overs, as compared to the live broadcast taking place on TV
– Number of balls: No ball by ball updates, and like in case of Cricinfo, there is no clear pattern as to how many updates will be published with each ball.
– Time Gap between updates: No clear pattern in terms of a time gap between updates. Typically, there’s a 20-25 second gap between updates, depending on whether the over has finished or not. On the right is a screenshot of a stopwatch we used to check the frequency of updates on Cricbuzz, for approximately one over. It might not be indicative of the norm.

cricbuzz_sm

What The Court Order Does

As per the order, a copy of which is with MediaNama’s possession, the Delhi High Court has granted an interim injunction, restricting Cricinfo, Cricbuzz and RadioOne from providing:

– live/contemporaneous text match commentary of the cricket series between India-New Zealand
– exploiting or authorizing the exploitation of cricket match-related material/information/details including but not limited to current cricket score, ball-by-ball updates, score cards, score updates, alerts, etc.

The restriction applies to updates which are “contemporaneous with match situations/events, as they happen in relation to the cricket series between India-New Zealand.”

In this context, because the updates are not live/contemporaneous, it looks as if Cricinfo and Cricbuzz are within the rules.

This is the third court case on this issue of Hot News, and the second for Cricbuzz: they also have a case against STAR India, which is now with the Supreme Court of India.