SC dismisses Star India appeal against sharing of feed with DD

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New Delhi | Published: May 28, 2016 7:42:02 AM

In a setback to Star India, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed its appeal against sharing clean feed of sports events with state-owned Prasar Bharati for telecast on Doordarshan.

In a setback to Star India, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed its appeal against sharing clean feed of sports events with state-owned Prasar Bharati for telecast on Doordarshan.

This means Star will have to remove all such commercials from the feed of sports events before sharing it with Prasar Bharati for telecast. At present, Star India holds the rights to broadcast cricket events organised under the International Cricket Council (ICC) in India.

A bench comprising justices AK Sikri and PC Pant, while dismissing Star’s appeal, upheld Prasar Bharati’s stand that whosoever airs live television broadcast of sporting events of national importance must share the same with the national broadcaster free of embedded advertisements, including sponsor logos and on-screen credits.

“… the sharing of the signals has to be without any advertisements and if the advertisements are also to be included in the signals, there has to be sharing of the revenue,” the bench said.

According to the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007, a television broadcasting organisation is prohibited from carrying the live broadcast of a sporting event of national importance on cable or Direct-to-Home (DTH) networks in India, unless it simultaneously shares the live broadcasting signals, without its advertisements, with the Prasar Bharati to enable it to retransmit the same on its terrestrial and DTH network.

“Rule 3(3) takes the issue beyond any pale of doubt when it mentions that the signals to be shared with Prasar Bharati by the content rights owner or holder are to be the best feed that is provided to broadcast service provider in India and has to be ‘free from commercial advertisements’. Thus, even if it is ICC which has included those advertisements/logos, the feeds have to be without those logos/advertisements in as much as nobody can dispute that the content rights owner are content holder, i.e, ICC in the instant case has included those logos/advertisements from purely commercial angle. Thus, the arrangement between the ICC and the appellant (Star Sports), is totally inconsequential,” the judgment stated.

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