#-HotNewsSubtle differences in the pre-emptive legal notice, or rather, a “letter of advance notification” that went out yesterday from Copyright Integrity International, a body representing the legal interests of the “BCCI – Indian Premier League”, when compared with previous notices sent by the same firm:

1. Inclusion of Internet services: Previous notices have focused largely on mobile rights and mobile activation rights, but given that the scope of the Hot News cases has been expanded, following lawsuits from Multi Screen Media and STAR, the BCCI-IPL is now looking to also control what content is published and distributed on the Internet.

2. Use of content for journalistic purposes allowed, but not commercial:The relevant portion of the notice:

“Other than TIL and the Approved Sub-licensees, no entity operating or making available an internet portal service, mobile telecommunication service, mobile application service or value added service is entitled without license from TIL or any of Approved Sub-licensees to make unlicensed commercial use of any or all of the IPL Names, IPL Marks, and IPL Proprietary Content, other than for activities that are primarily journalistic in nature, activity and scope, and such entity may not commercially associate in any other way, either expressly or impliedly, including through marketing promotions, contests, advertising, fantasy games or other commercial activity, with the BCCI or Pepsi IPL;”

Our Take: this notice appears to have taken into account concerns we had raised earlier about the creation of quasi property rights through the STAR lawsuit (read: The War On News), which would adversely impact journalistic work. While, on paper, this might appear to be a concession, we believe that it is a concession only on paper. There is no clear way of defining what exactly are “activities that are primarily journalistic in nature”, and the ambiguity in that definition still gives BCCI, IPL, STAR and MSM the leverage to define journalistic activity as they please. Even if (and we don’t think they will do this) they concede that compilation of Cricket scores live for sharing with readers online is journalistic activity, the mere creation of quasi property rights, in our opinion, is a step in the wrong direction, and will open media businesses to lawsuits.

3. Proprietary Content definition

– for “publish, provide or disseminate for a charge, fee or other premium, to profit in any other way (including through advertising) from or to otherwise sell or license to any person or entity”, IPL Proprietary Content is:
“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 the Pepsi IPL official broadcaster; or – live or near-live match scorecards or match score feeds of any nature.”
– for “publish, provide or disseminate to any person or entity”, IPL Proprietary Content is:
“match scorecards or match score feeds using IPL Marks; – match schedules using IPL Marks; – mobile applications using proprietary match content or IPL Marks; – audio commentary; or – audio-visual match feed or match footage.”
– Also not allowed is making available an internet portal service, mobile telecommunication service, mobile application service or value added service, “mobile content such as SMS, MMS, alerts, games, etc., related to the Pepsi IPL.”

Note that it is “mobile applications using proprietary match content” OR “IPL Marks”, not AND, and more importantly, the phrase “related to the Pepsi IPL” makes the last point ambiguous and arbitrary.

On The Roles of TIL and Copyright Integrity International

The notice points towards a Times Internet email address (we’ve redacted it), for licensing rights. As we’d explained last month, the Times of India group is in a curious situation: they’re a media businesses launching a Cricket website that would want to publish scores, scorecards and provide running commentary online, and at the same time, they’re license holders (at least for this IPL), and for the time being, wedded to the consortium trying to prevent others from doing this.

It’s worth noting that before TIL sublicensed these rights to STAR India (for the current IPL), app developers didn’t receive notices related to content for the IPL, only other BCCI events. Copyright Integrity International is an entity that has previously mentioned in notices sent on behalf of STAR India in the past (see this and this). Another probable case in point, a “Copyright Integrity” sent  164 notices to Twitter between January and June 2013.

IPL 2014 rights holders

Bear in mind the Delhi HC judgment that BCCI cannot license rights that it does not have. This case is currently in the Supreme Court, and delays in a decision being taken on this matter mean that it is likely that the injunction is applied to every subsequent tournament until then, including this one. There are four court cases going on at present: one,twothreefour.

– STAR India: “TIL has sublicensed to STAR India Pvt. Ltd. the right to: stream live (with 5 minute delay) audiovisual match content & archival audiovisual content, send text/SMS based score alerts and provide audio commentary (excluding via IVR) from the Pepsi IPL”

– Digivive: TIL has sublicensed to DigiVive Services Pvt. Ltd. the right to stream on mobile instruments, live (with 5 minute delay) and archival audiovisual match content from the Pepsi IPL.

– Seven3Rockers: TIL has sublicensed to Seven3Rockers Technologies Pvt. Ltd. the right to provide mobile text/ SMS/ MMS/ IVR based score alerts, archival audiovisual content and IVR-based audio commentary for content originating from the Pepsi IPL matches.

The Legal Notice

Sirs,
Indian Premier League 2014 – Use of logos, trademarks, word marks and proprietary content by internet and mobile
service providers

We represent the legal interests of the BCCI – Indian Premier League (“BCCI-IPL”), a sub-committee unit of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (“BCCI”), and write to you seeking your organisation’s co-operation and support in relation to the upcoming Pepsi Indian Premier League 2014 (“Pepsi IPL”), scheduled to take place between 16 April, 2014 and 1 June, 2014.

As you are likely aware, in order to stage an event of such scale, the BCCI-IPL contracts with official broadcasters, commercial partners and licensees and, in turn, grants them exclusivity of association with the Pepsi IPL, as well as exclusivity of usage of proprietary names (“IPL Names”), proprietary marks and logos (“IPL Marks”), and other proprietary and protected content (“IPL Proprietary Content”). It is incumbent upon the BCCI-IPL to protect this exclusivity and thereby the rights it has granted to its official broadcasters, commercial partners and licensees. The BCCI-IPL is the owner of all IPL Names, IPL Marks and IPL Proprietary Content.

Through this letter of advance notification, we intend to clarify what constitutes permissible and impermissible activity in relation to the Pepsi IPL, so as to prevent any inadvertent infringements of IPL Names, IPL Marks and IPL Proprietary Content by internet portals, mobile service providers, mobile application platforms and value added service providers.
In this context, we request you to note the following.
• Times Internet Limited (“TIL”) has been granted exclusive internet rights, mobile rights and mobile activation rights (the “Exclusive Rights”) by the BCCI-IPL with respect to the Pepsi IPL;

• Please note the following:
In this context, we request you to note the following.

TIL has sublicensed to STAR India Pvt. Ltd. the right to: stream live (with 5 minute delay) audiovisual match content & archival audiovisual content, send text/SMS based score alerts and provide audio commentary (excluding via IVR) from the Pepsi IPL

TIL has sublicensed to DigiVive Services Pvt. Ltd. the right to stream on mobile instruments, live (with 5 minute delay) and archival audiovisual match content from the Pepsi IPL.

TIL has sublicensed to Seven3Rockers Technologies Pvt. Ltd. the right to provide mobile text/SMS/MMS/IVR based score alerts, archival audiovisual content and IVR-based audio commentary for content originating from the Pepsi IPL matches.

STAR India Pvt. Ltd., Digivive Services Pvt. Ltd. and Seven3Rockers Technologies Pvt. Ltd. shall hereinafter be referred to as the “Approved Sub- licensees”.

• Other than TIL and the Approved Sub-licensees, no entity operating or making available an internet portal service, mobile telecommunication service, mobile application service or value added service is entitled without license from TIL or any of Approved Sub-licensees to make unlicensed commercial use of any or all of the IPL Names, IPL Marks, and IPL Proprietary Content, other than for activities that are primarily journalistic in nature, activity and scope, and such entity may not commercially associate in any other way, either expressly or impliedly, including through marketing promotions, contests, advertising, fantasy games or other commercial activity, with the BCCI or Pepsi IPL;

• Other than TIL and the Approved Sub-licensees, no entity operating or making available an internet portal service, mobile telecommunication service, mobile application service or value added services is entitled without license from TIL or any of the Approved Sub-licensees to publish, provide or disseminate for a charge, fee or other premium, to profit in any other way (including through advertising) from or to otherwise sell or license to any person or entity, inter alia, any of the following IPL Proprietary Content:
– 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 the Pepsi IPL official broadcaster; or – live or near-live match scorecards or match score feeds of any nature.

• Other than TIL and the Approved Sub-licensees, no entity operating or making available an internet portal service, mobile telecommunication service, mobile application service or value added service is entitled without license from TIL or any of the Approved Sub-licensees to publish, provide or disseminate to any person or entity, inter alia, any of the following IPL Proprietary Content:
– match scorecards or match score feeds using IPL Marks; – match schedules using IPL Marks; – mobile applications using proprietary match content or IPL Marks; – audio commentary; or – audio-visual match feed or match footage.

• Other than TIL and the Approved Sub-licensees, no entity operating or making available an internet portal service, mobile telecommunication service, mobile application service or value added service is entitled without license from TIL or any of the Approved Sub-licensees to publish, provide or disseminate to any person or entity, inter alia, mobile content such as SMS, MMS, alerts, games, etc., related to the Pepsi IPL.

• You are hereby informed that the BCCI-IPL fully intends to and will enforce its rights against the unlicensed commercial utilisation by third parties of the IPL Names, IPL Marks and IPL Proprietary Content in contravention of the Exclusive Rights granted by the BCCI-IPL to TIL.

• Should you fail to adhere to the above, we will engage with you to bring to your attention the permissible parameters of activity and work with you to resolve the matter. However, should such activities persist, you will be deemed to have knowingly breached the Exclusive Rights granted by the BCCI-IPL to TIL and we will have no other option but to initiate further action, including legal recourse, on behalf of the BCCI-IPL.
For your information, the BCCI-IPL has engaged the services of a specialised agency to monitor the usage of IPL Names, IPL Marks and IPL Proprietary Content by internet portals, mobile telecommunication service provider, mobile application platforms and value added service providers during the Pepsi IPL. Further, the IPL 2014 Brand and Content Protection Guidelines are available for your reference at:
http://www.iplt20.com/brand-and-content-protection-guidelines.

As you will understand, the BCCI-IPL must act to protect its and its official broadcasters’, sponsors’ and partners’ rights.

Should you wish to obtain a license to undertake any of the above activities or have any other questions or concerns, please contact Times Internet Ltd. at ***@timesinternet.in.

We thank you for your understanding in relation to the above and look forward to your co-operation in ensuring that premier events of this nature continue to be part of the cricketing calendar.

Sincerely,
R. Gopalakrishna Head – Legal & Business Affairs Copyright Integrity Advisory (India) Pvt. Ltd.