DD seeks legal recourse against 'illegal telecaast'

NEW DELHI: India's pubcaster Prasar Bharati has threatened to take legal action against unauthorised use of its sports-related software by private satellite channels. Most satellite channels however today defended themselves, saying they were acting well within their rights of telecast.

Delivering the keynote address at a round-table here on 'Intellectual Property Rights for Broadcasters and Performers' Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma had earlier said the case would be filed in the courts within next two-three days. He stressed the need for a change in mindset about copyright in India, where it enjoys a scant regard.

Prasar Bharati's latest move assumes significance in the light of several private TV channels making unauthorised use of the India- Australia-New Zealand tri-series cricket footage, for which Doordarshan has exclusive terrestrial and satellite rights.

Sarma's contended that it has been observed that several news and current affairs channels are using the DD footage, exceeding the normal 45 seconds to one-minute limit, in their programmes, and earning money through sponsorship.

Doordarshan has rights to all Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) organised cricket matches in India upto September 2003. Prasar Bharati has already released caution notice advertisements in leading newspapers across India, against pirating of its cricket software.

When team contacted some private satellite channels, the response was cautiously defensive.

According to a spokesperson for ESPN, "We have the rights for (airing) the highlights of the tri-series. We understand the value of acquisition of software and don't breach any copyright laws on the sports channels."

Sahara Samay and Aaj Tak, however, were not available for comments. "We don't have the rights for airing the highlights, but we show the clippings during our bulletins, taking care to keep well within the 45 seconds time limit," says Star News brand manager Keertan Adyanthaya.

A spokesperson for Zee News on the other hand said that "every footage of the triseries we use is paid for."

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