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India vs West Indies Cricket: “no scores, scorecards, live commentary”, STAR tells App Developers

#-HotNewsHere we go again: With (Winter) Cricket season in India about to begin, STAR India, which holds rights to domestic and international matches hosted by the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), has sent out notices to application developers, warning them against providing access to content related to the India versus West Indies series, which is being held from October 8th to November 19th.

What’s pertinent is that STAR was warned against providing ball-by-ball content, updates, live or “near-live” match score, match scorecards or match score feeds, apart from audio or text commentary. This is apart from providing match footage and audio visual content.

We’d like to remind our readers that, as far as we understand, STAR’s right to exclusively provide ball by ball commentary, alerts and score cards haven’t yet been established yet, and their case against Idea Cellular, Onmobile and Cricbuzz, is still in the Supreme Court of India. In October last year, STAR had gotten an interim injunction against Idea, Onmobile and Cricbuzz.

The case went to the Supreme Court after STAR lost at the division bench level in the Delhi High Court. A critical statement in the judgment, then:

‘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. While copyright can’t exist in Cricket scores, STAR is trying to create “Quasi Property Rights”, saying that because the BCCI is creating an event, it has the right to determine who gets to report live on it, exclusively. Our take on this issue: The War on News, Live.

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Note that this notice is similar to the kind of notices that STAR used to send earlier. For the Indian Premier League, this year, the notice was significantly different.

Before taking a decision on whether or not to comply with this notice from STAR, you should check with a lawyer.

Also read: How the Indian Super League is trying to prevent “unofficial” live coverage

Star’s notice to app developers

7 October, 2014


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BCCI Media Rights – Caution Notice

1. I am writing on behalf of STAR India Private Limited (“STAR”) in relation to the upcoming cricket series between India and West Indies scheduled to take place between 8 October, 2014 and 19 November, 2014 and being conducted under the auspices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (“BCCI”).

2. Please be advised that the BCCI has granted STAR the exclusive internet rights, mobile rights and mobile activation rights (the “Exclusive Rights”) with respect to the international and domestic matches hosted by the BCCI (“BCCI Events”) for a period of six years commencing April 2012. Further, the BCCI has authorised STAR to administer, monitor and enforce such Exclusive Rights.

3. With the above as background, your attention is drawn to the following:
• No third party may, without prior written license from STAR, deliver or provide access to the audiovisual and/or audio and/or visual feed/footage, including any commentary or coverage, of all BCCI Events, 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 BCCI logos, BCCI names and any other BCCI marks (together, the “BCCI Marks”), or commercially associate in any other way with the BCCI Marks, either expressly or impliedly, including through marketing promotions, advertising or other commercial activity using Mobile Technology;

• No third party may, without prior written license from STAR, publish, provide or disseminate for a charge, fee or other premium, or otherwise sell or license to any person or entity, inter alia, any of the following proprietary content relating to the BCCI Events:

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– ball-by-ball, or other score or incident, updates or alerts; or
– live or near-live match score, match scorecards or match score feeds of any nature;
– mobile or software applications using proprietary match content; or
– audio or text commentary; or
– match feed or match footage.

• STAR also has the Exclusive Right to sub-license the right to make available, contemporaneous, live or near-live match and score alerts and applications for commercial exploitation, through SMS, MMS or any other form of Mobile Communications Technology or Mobile Broadcast Technology.

• Any unlicensed exploitation and / or commercialisation of the above-mentioned Rights of STAR amounts to a breach of the Exclusive Rights. Further, any
manner of exploitation and / or commercialisation of the Exclusive Rights, either through user subscriptions or third party advertising, resulting in the commercial misappropriation of BCCI’s proprietary content and unjust enrichment of unlicensed third parties, shall amount to a breach of STAR’s Exclusive Rights.

4. Should you fail to adhere to the above, you will be deemed to have knowingly breached the Exclusive Rights granted by the BCCI 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.

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7. If you wish to syndicate or obtain a license to the Exclusive Rights from STAR, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Ayesha Surty at ****@startv.com or call +91 *********.

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

Yours faithfully,
Deepak Jacob
President & General Counsel
Legal & Regulatory Affairs



Our coverage of Hot News:

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24 Aug, 2012: Don’t Use Live Scores, Ball-By-Ball Alerts For Ind-NZ Cricket Series, STAR Tells App Devs
21 Sep, 2012: STAR Takes Cricbuzz Founder & OnMobile To Court Over Cricket Updates
21 Nov, 2012: Delhi High Court Says Cricket Updates Go Into Public Domain After 2 Min; Implications
22 Nov, 2012: The Digital Rights That BCCI Had Granted STAR & What Happened To Exclusivity

4 Feb, 2013: How STAR Is Claiming Rights Over Cricket Scores
15 Mar, 2013: On The Delhi High Court Judgment Granting STAR Rights To Cricket Scores – Part 1
15 Mar, 2013: On The Delhi High Court Judgment Granting STAR Rights To Cricket Scores – Part 2
20 Mar, 2013: STAR Sends Notices To App Developers After Delhi HC Judgment Grants Cricket Score Rights
23 Mar, 2013: Interim Stay In STAR Cricket Case Allows Scores On Mobile
26 Mar, 2013: On The Confusion Over The Interim Arrangement In STAR Cricket Scores Case
4 Sep, 2013: Hot News: STAR’s Claim Over Rights To Cricket Scores Rejected By Delhi High Court
7 Oct 2013: STAR Gets Interim Injunction From Supreme Court of India In Cricket’s Hot News Case
11 Oct 2013: No Live Cricket Commentary, Scores or Scorecards – STAR India Tells App Developers

4 Jan 2014: Updated: MSM Files Case Against ESPNCricinfo, Cricbuzz & Radio One For Live Cricket Updates Online
28 Jan 2014: Updated: ESPNCricinfo, Cricbuzz Delay Live Updates From India-NZ Cricket Series By 5 Overs
19 Feb 2014: StarSports.com Inks Vodafone Deal For Vodafone Sports; What Rights Exactly?
28 Feb 2014: Asia Cup: Star India tells app developers to not publish Cricket scores, updates
7 Mar 2014: STAR India Files Case In Delhi HC Against ESPN Cricinfo, Cricbuzz
10 Mar 2014: The War On News, Live
16 Apr 2014: IPL 2014 legal warning on “Proprietary Content” covers Internet scorecards, commentary & more

Note: contact info redacted from the notice.

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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