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BCCI & Media Coalition Reach Agreement; Syndication For Editorial Use Allowed

ipl Board of Control for Cricket in India and media firms have reached a compromise after battling over Indian Premier League-related content. Sounds familiar? Last year, around the same time,  IPL organiser BCCI  and the media, under the banner of Indian Newspaper Society had a face-off. This time, the News Media Coalition, a body set up to represent global media houses, stood up against the BCCI’s restrictions on content distribution, and was refusing to cover the IPL. Following negotiations, and agreement has now been reached.

BCCI’s media accreditation revised guidelines can be viewed here. The primary clauses in the guidelines that will cause tangible changes in media coverage of the matches are:

TV: Live Not Really Live

BCCI has laid down the rule that the use of live footage is not permitted at any time and under any circumstances. Matches will be broadcast after a minimum 5 minute delay of the live telecast.

— Channels will also have to restrict their broadcast of each match to a maximum of 5.5 minutes. This will include 4.5 minutes of “LIVE” coverage and 1.5 minutes of in-stadium entertainment programme, which can not be aired before the official channel has broadcasted the post-match module.

— They may broadcast two minutes of fresh footage every half an hour, but this is again subject to the condition that it does not exceed 5.5 minutes per match. A maximum of four repeats of footage will be allowed in the news cycle. An exception has been granted in case an “exceptional incident” on the field of play, which could have immediate news value like a six or a catch.

You may not see too many of the older matches on news channels, with the use of archival clips of IPL being restricted to a maximum of 2 minutes per day till the next IPL season.

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Photographs: No Commercial Usage

While the guidelines simply state that photographs can only be used with articles or sports-related news updates and not on a stand alone basis, an amendment of the BCCI contract with IPL from the SEC filings gives a breather.

The guidelines say that photographers from media companies will have to create “still photographic pictures of a Match for editorial use on or in print media, websites and within news services such as syndication services and in the case of a news agency for their clients/customers except stand alone cricket portals provided that:
(a) they appear as still images (and not as moving images to emulate broadcast);
(b) still images are published media for editorial reporting purposes only.”

What we must note is that BCCI has not changed the fact that the photographs can not be used for commercial purposes, and for editorial purposes only. So we will probably not see any IPL stills as wallpapers, nor are we likely to see mobile wallpapers from media companies, unless officially licensed from the rights owners.

The guidelines also state that news sites are banned from putting up an unreasonable number of photos of the players or the match. How many is reasonable, according to the BCCI?

Websites Now Allowed

BCCI has signed exclusive agreements with Live Current Media and Netlink Blue to develop and operate its IPLT20.com and BCCI.tv web sites. It had previously decreed that unofficial websites dedicated to the IPL or IPL teams would not be able to use official photographs.

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Just a few days ago, they had the following clause governming rights:

Such photographic still images may be used on websites for editorial uses but not on:
a. non-editorial websites using such stills for Direct Commercial Purposes
b. Websites which are solely dedicated to the IPL or the IPL teams

Now, it has been modified to make Part (b) more specific. “b. Websites which breach the intellectual property of the IPL, for example websites that claim they are officially endorsed by the IPL and against which the IPL has initiated legal proceedings.”

So as long as the fan site or blog does not claim to be endorsed by IPL, it appears that the website owners will be fine, and can be syndicated photos for editorial use.

Video Streaming & Youtube

The guidelines state that channels can stream the matches live on their official websites – but they are not allowed to put up recorded videos of the matches. They are not allowed to use third party sites such as DailyMotion and Youtube to share recorded matches, but can upload and stream videos of the matches while they are simultaneously broadcasting on their TV channels – as it says in the guidelines, “…unless such display is live and concurrent with such News & Current Affairs Broadcaster’s live broadcast signal.” BCCI has its own Youtube channel here.

What if a spectator at South Africa records the match on his cameraphone and uploads it on Youtube? Will he be liable to be fined?

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