Cricket updates through SMS to continue

Thomas K. Thomas

Sticky wicket


BCCI had

last week issued a legal notice on mobile operators for offering cricket updates through SMS.

Executives from

Bharti Tele-Ventures and Reliance Infocomm say BCCI cannot not claim ownership over cricket and all information about the game.

New Delhi, March 15

Cellular operators are planning a counter to defy the notice sent by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) and continue to offer cricket updates through short messaging service (SMS). The Cellular Operator's Association of India (COAI) is understood to be taking up the issue on behalf of all the operators and may slap a counter notice on BCCI on the grounds that it did not require any prior permission for offering updates of events.

BCCI had last week issued a legal notice on mobile operators for offering cricket updates of the ongoing India-England series to their subscribers through SMS. A legal notice sent through BCCI advocate Mr Ankur Chawla had asked operators to refrain from similar activities in future without obtaining prior permission of the board. BCCI said that cellular operators could get into a commercial agreement with the cricketing body, otherwise, it led to unauthorised violation of the rights of the BCCI and illegal interference with the its legitimate business.

Executives from cellular companies such as Bharti Tele-Ventures and Reliance Infocomm, however, said that BCCI could not claim ownership over cricket and all information about the game.

They said that the industry was planning to challenge the BCCI notice.

The BCCI notice stated that the Indian cricket board had exclusive television rights, Internet and SMS rights and all other similar rights for all test and one-day matches played in India.

The notice also said that operators were continuing with the live updates despite being aware of the recent interim order passed by the Madras High Court, where operators were apparently found to be in violation of the SMS rights exclusively granted by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 16, 2006)
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