SC rejects Star Sports plea against sharing clean feed with Prasar Bharati
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the plea by Star Sports India Pvt. Ltd. against the official broadcaster Prasar Bharati’s stand that it should get the live feed of sports events of national importance free of any commercials including sponsors’ logos.
Dismissing Star Sports’ plea, a bench of Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice Prafulla C. Pant said that there was no “merit in the instant appeal”.
Star Sports had moved the apex court against the Delhi High Court’s October 3, 2013 judgment by which it (High Court) had not accepted ESPN Software Pvt. Ltd plea against Prasar Bharat seeking clean feed of the sporting events of national importance.
But the verdict comes as another set-back for the Star Sports as it will have to take out all the advertisements including sponsor logos and on-screen credits before sharing them with the Prasar Bharati.
The issue of Prasar Bharati seeking clean feed from Star Sports is rooted in the March 7, 2013 communication by which Star Sports informed Prasar Bharati that under the mandate of Section 3 of the Sports Act that it would be sharing the live signals with Prasar Bharati of cricket matches organised by the International Cricket Council, for which it holds Indian telecast rights.
This was followed by a March 14, 2013 communication by which Star Sports informed Prasar Bharati that the live feed of cricket matches that it would be sharing with the official broadcaster would contain certain added features comprising of commercial elements.
However, Prasar Bharati on April 06, 2013 told Star Sports that under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007, it (Star Sports) was under the obligations to share the signals without any commercials.
Section 3 of the Sports Act, prohibits a TV broadcasting organisation from carrying the live television broadcast of a sporting event of national importance on cable or Direct-to-Home (DTH) networks in India, unless it simultaneously shared it, without its advertisements, with the Prasar Bharati.
Prasar Bharati in turn retransmit the same on its terrestrial and DTH network through Doordarshan.
Star Sports resisted the stand of Prasar Bharati saying that it had no control over the live signals so received which included the advertisements of the event organizer. It had contended that there was no way it could filter out the advertisements, logos and other on-screen credits that it got in the live feed in the course of the sporting event.