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HC restrains websites from broadcasting World Cup games

June 10, 2019
New Delhi:  The Delhi High Court, in a latest interim order, has restrained over 60 websites, around 14 radio channels and nearly 30 Internet and telecom service providers from broadcasting the 2019 cricket World Cup matches.

Justice J.R. Midha’s interim order came while hearing a Channel 2 Group Corporation plea seeking a stay on audio broadcasts or streaming or transmitting of World Cup matches on over 100 platforms, including websites, private radio platform operators, Internet service providers and telecom service providers.

Channel 2 Group Corporation’s advocate Jayant Mehta and Subhalaxmi Sen told the court that these platforms are not authorised or licensed by the Channel 2 Group and they cannot make any audio or radio broadcasts, live streaming or report any live or deferred update pertaining to any International Cricket Council (ICC) event, including any of the matches of the World Cup 2019.

The advocates said that the Channel 2 Group holds copyright and exclusive rights over such audio or radio broadcasts.

Channel 2 Group Corporation has entered into an Audio Rights Agreement with ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC, which is the organiser of ICC Men’s World Cup 2019.

“Any unauthorised audio or radio broadcasts, live or deferred update, by those defendants would be illegal and amount to piracy since the plaintiff (Channel 2 Group) holds copyright and exclusive rights over such audio or radio broadcasts,” the advocate told the court.

If these broadcasts are not restrained, the Group would suffer an irreparable injury and would be left without any remedy since the event has already begun and is to continue until July 14, the counsel added.

The court was satisfied with the counsel’s submission and said that “ex-parte interim order is warranted in the facts of the present case.”

“…the Defendants (websites and other), their partners, proprietors, their officers, servants, agents and representatives, franchisees and all others in capacity of principal or agent, acting for and on their behalf are restrained from broadcasting/communicating to the public audio/ radio streaming or reporting live or deferred updates including by virtue of reporting of such event highlights in World Cup, 2019 through any means without authorisation of the plaintiff,” the court said.

It restrained transmitting or making available any match of the World Cup 2019, including live or deferred score updates through any website, application or any other digital platform through Internet, mobile and radio delivery, till the next date of hearing on September 4.

“However, any defendant complying with the interim order of this Court may relay the score update by any party, doing so gratuitously only after a time lag of 15 minutes,” the court said.

The court has asked the Centre, websites and radio channels, Internet and telecom service providers to file their replies by September 4.

The court also directed that the search engines take down or delete from their search results pages, listings of websites or URLs which are infringing the petitioner’s copyright and broadcast reproduction rights.