Saturday, February 11, 2006


The whole issue of copyright over cricket score SMSes is a “trial balloon” floated by the BCCI, according to a source, and the firm that has taken mobile phone companies to court is a front. The essential argument made by this firm (Marksman Marketing Services Private Limited) is that if there are audio rights and video rights why cant there be textual rights? So the BCCI is testing the waters to see if the courts will allow rights over text. It will obviously mean more money for the Board of control for cricket (or commerce) in India. Heres a gist of what both sides are saying – For all practical purposes, lets just call them – BCCI and Mobile Co.’s

BCCI: Scores constitute ‘hot news’ that I as the owner of a match can exploit.
Mobile Co.’s: Its hardly ‘hot’ because there is a delay in transmission of the SMS by atleast 4 minutes and Sec.13 of the Copyright Act has not been amended to include any concept of ‘hot news’.

BCCI: There is a shelf life to the news and by giving latest updates you are commercially exploiting my information.
Mobile Co.’s: Rubbish! Its not ‘your’ information and we get the news from TV so the scores are already in the public domain.

BCCI: It is an intellectual property
Mobile Co.’s: A cricket score is NOT intellectual property!

BCCI: If mobile phone companies make a tidy sum giving these updates, why should I – the owner of the event forego the right?
Mobile Co.’s: It’s a value-added service in larger public interest. We create the SMS so why should we pay you!

And so on and so forth. . . This is unchartered territory even in highly sophisticated sports marketing and the matter is likely to go all the way up to the Supreme Court resulting in a landmark judgment.