News Corp owned Star India has once again told mobile application developers to not publish Cricket scores, ball by ball updates, “incident updates” or alerts related to the Asia Cup, being held between  25 February 2014 and 8 March 2014. This isn’t the first time Star India is doing this, having previously warned application developers in August 2012, prior to the India-New Zealand Cricket series, before it took Idea Cellular, Onmobile Global* and Cricbuzz to court, and then again in March and October last year.

Once again, Star is staking claim to rights that it might not even own, and warning developers in the notice that should they fail to adhere to the restrictions placed by Star’s notice, they will deemed to have “knowingly breached the Exclusive Rights granted to STAR, and STAR will have no other option than to initiate further action, including legal recourse.” Readers might recall the Delhi High Court division bench judgment, which had rejected Star’s claims, saying that:

“Neither Star nor BCCI can be permitted to say that mentioning “mobile” rights and auctioning them, would ipso facto legitimize the parcelling away of right to disseminate information, without first establishing that the right or exclusive domain over such rights existed in the first instance.”

Essentially, this means that before you license rights, you should first establish that they exist. Following this judgment, Star had gotten an interim injunction from the Supreme Court of India, and issued a notice to App developers in October 2013 as well. Note that if you’re an app developer, you should check with your legal counsel: Our reading of the order was that it isn’t applicable to the Internet.

Note that there are two other cases going on: the first among the three was the Hot News case filed by Vrock Mobile against Reliance Communiacations; the most recent one has been filed by Multi Screen Media against Cricbuzz, Cricinfo and Radio One.

Star has also licensed rights to live stream the Indian Premier League from Times Internet, so one should expect similar legal notices from Star once that nears.

The legal notice that Star has sent to app developers:

20 February, 2014

Sirs,

Asia Cup 2014 – Media Rights Caution Notice

1. I am writing on behalf of STAR India Private Limited (“STAR”) in relation to the upcoming Asia Cup 2014 scheduled to take place in Bangladesh between 25 February 2014 and 8 March 2014 (“Event”), and being conducted under the auspices of the Asian Cricket Council (“ACC”).

2. Please be advised that STAR has acquired the exclusive media rights, including internet rights and mobile rights with respect to the Event (the “Exclusive Rights”). Further, STAR is authorised to administer, monitor and enforce such Exclusive Rights.

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

• STAR has the Exclusive Rights to deliver or provide access to the audiovisual and/or audio and/or visual feed/footage, including any commentary or coverage of the Event, through the Internet and 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 of the Event logos, Event names and any other Event marks (together, the “Event Marks”), or commercially associate in any other way with the Event Marks, either expressly or impliedly, including through marketing promotions, advertising or other commercial activity using the Internet or Mobile Technology;

• All proprietary content relating to the Event has been licensed to STAR on an exclusive basis. Any unlicensed commercial or non-commercial utilisation of the same is in violation of STAR’s Exclusive Rights and / or rights as may be further granted by STAR to its official sponsors, licensees and partners;

• In particular, please note that any unlicensed dissemination of contemporaneous match information originating from the Event, through any medium whatsoever, in the form of contemporaneous audio commentary or ball-by-
ball or minute-by-minute score updates/match alerts, amounts to a breach of the Exclusive Rights. Further, please note that any manner of commercialisation of the Exclusive Rights, either through user subscriptions or third party advertising, resulting in the unjust enrichment of unlicensed third parties, shall amount to a breach of STAR’s Exclusive Rights;

• No third party may, without prior written license from STAR, exploit or authorise any person or entity to exploit, inter alia, any of the following proprietary content relating to the Event:
– ball-by-ball or other score or incident updates or alerts;
– live or near-live match scorecards or match score feeds of any nature.
– match scorecards or match score feeds using Event Marks;
– match schedules using Event Marks;
– mobile applications using proprietary match content or Event Marks;
– audio commentary; or
– match feed or match footage.

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

5. This letter is not, 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.

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

7. If you wish to syndicate or obtain a license to the Exclusive Rights from STAR, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Sathyajit Divakaran at ***@startv.com or call ***.

We thank you for your understanding in relation to the above.

Yours faithfully,
Deepak Jacob
President & General Counsel
Legal & Regulatory Affairs
STAR INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED

Disclosure: Onmobile Global is an advertiser with MediaNama