Hot News is hot again: VRock mobile has obtained an interim order from the Delhi High Court, which restricts the provisioning of SMS and Interactive Voice Response (IVR; voice portal) services being provided by Reliance Communications to customers, for the Indian Premier League (IPL). The order was obtained ex-parte; Justice V. K. Jain, upon hearing arguments from the plaintiff (vRock) said that an interim permission will be granted to Reliance Communications, subject to making a provisional payment of 25% of revenue earned so far by providing value added services related to IPL 4, and continuing to pay 25% of revenue earned, and subject to the same terms and conditions since vRock has agreed upon with Tata Indicom. If Reliance Communications doesn’t approach vRock for this deal, then there is an injunction preventing it from providing SMS and IVR services. Season four of the IPL is expected to end by May 28th, and the court took into account that the matter needs to be heard at the earliest. MediaNama was present at the hearing.
Explaining the concept of Hot News, Pravin Anand, representing vRock Mobile, pointed out that news such as Cricket scores is time sensitive, and while it is in outside the realm of copyright, it is a case of quasi-property; IPL has a limited timeframe. Additionally, he said that Reliance Communications (RCOM) cannot deny that the rights to Cricket scores via SMS and IVR exist, since it had itself entered into commercial negotiations with vRock for the very same rights for the ICC Cricket World Cup; talks had ended when an agreement over the amount to be paid to RCOM for the rights could not be reached. RCOM, as we had reported earlier, had acquired all mobile rights for the ICC Cricket World Cup. vRock also disclosed that it has paid Rs. 65 crore ($14.5 million) for a period of 5 years for the rights.
Please note that this is an interim order, issued ex-parte, which means that Reliance Communications was not represented.
One immediate implication of this is that RCOM will have to disclose revenue earned from providing these services to the court, if it does tie up vRock, else it will have to stop its SMS and IVR services. Secondly, the question of who owns the right to provide Cricket scores, even if for commercial purposes, lends itself to a larger debate of whether information of a public event is a case of quasi-property, and the organizer has ownership of this information. Remember that the owner of the event controls access to it.
– Updated: Indiatimes’ IPL 4 Partnerships: YouTube, vRock, Apalya, Indiagames Say Sources
– vRock Gets Exclusive Asia Cup Rights; Hot News; Partners With Indiagames, VuClip
– VRock Licenses IPL Mobile Content To Multiple Co’s; In Talks For Stake In PhoneyTunes