In a relief for Disney Star, the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has allowed the broadcaster to offer free streaming of cricket matches to mobile phone users through Disney + Hotstar. This includes the ICC World Cup matches which kickstarted on Thursday.
Last month, the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) filed a petition challenging the free streaming of cricket matches. It urged TDSAT to restrain Star Sports “from permitting its viewers to have Star Sports on their mobiles free of charge.”
Rejecting “interim relief” to the AIDCF, the TDSAT judgment stated, “Prima facie, the OTT platform is not a TV channel, nor is the respondent requiring any permission or a license from the Central Government. Moreover, looking at the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the rules framed thereunder for the year 2021, and looking at the provisions of the TRAI Act, 1997, there is no prima facie case with this petitioner.”
The judgment also noted that no “irreparable loss” will be caused to AIDCF if the stay is not granted. “Balance of convenience is also not in favour of the petitioner and no irreparable loss will be caused to the petitioner if the stay, as prayed for, is not granted,” TDSAT noted.
The next hearing is scheduled for December 18.
In June, Disney Star announced it will make Asia Cup and ICC World Cup available as free-to-view to all mobile phone users accessing Disney+ Hotstar. Earlier, JioCinema had offered FIFA World Cup and more recently Indian Premier Leauge matches for free.