The Delhi High Court has restrained over 300 entities, including websites and cable operators, from illegally broadcasting or communicating to the public in any manner the Indian cricket team’s tour of England from July 3, without a licence from Sony which has the exclusive rights to broadcast the matches.
In an interim order, Justice Vinod Goel also restrained the websites and cable operators from broadcasting the 18th Asian Games, scheduled to be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2, without the permission of Sony which has the rights for that event as well.
The order came on a plea by Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt Ltd (Sony), which expressed apprehensions about illegal broadcast or transmission of the two sporting events by local cable operators and websites.
The court on Friday said that Sony has made out a prima facie case for protection against illegal transmission or broadcast of both the events.
It directed the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) and the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to ensure that the Internet service providers block the websites that are found infringing Sony’s licence.
In its plea filed through advocate Abhishek Malhotra, Sony has said that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has given it the broadcast rights for the cricket series which will comprise of three one-day internationals, three T20 fixtures and five tests.
A similar licence with regard to media rights of the Asian Games, comprising more than 400 events in 40 disciplines, has been granted to Sony by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the petition said.
The company has claimed that under both licences, it has the right to broadcast the events, on a live, delayed and repeat basis within the territories of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Justice Goel also appointed four local commissioners who on receiving intimation from Sony of any defaulting site or cable operator shall first ascertain whether there is any unauthorised distribution or transmission of the events without a licence from the company.
The local commissioners have also been empowered by the court to inspect and seize the equipment being used for any unauthorised distribution/re-distribution as well as make a sample recording of the illegal transmission.
Justice Goel said that the local commissioners can seek the assistance of the police of the area concerned, if required.
With these directions, the court listed the matter for further hearing on August 30.