Television

Cricket: DD moves court against ESS; hearing on 5 April

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NEW DELHI: The cricket comedy show continues to roll on. Pubcaster Doordarshan moved the Delhi high court on Saturday, getting the court to restrain ESPN Star Sports from airing cricket-related shows packaged as highlights of the Indo-Pak one-day series.

The court injunction also means that ESPN and Star Sports would not be able to air a much-publicised highlights package of the first one-dayer at Kochi today evening till further hearing in the case.

Confirming the development, ESPN India MD RC Venkateish told Indiantelvision.com, "DD's last minute moves (on Saturday), which also included amending the terms of usage of cricket clips, has forced us not to air the highlights package of the first one-dayer at least. We'd await a court directive."

According to Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma, which manages DD, considering the stand that ESS had been taking on cricket, there was "no option left, but to approach the courts." This case will be now heard on 5 April.

Though Prasar Bharati has not moved the court against other TV channels, which had been liberally using DD-generated cricket footage for their respective programming, including news bulletins, it hopes that the move against ESS would "deter others from undermining its commercial interests."

Earlier, DD has refused part payment for cricket clips from the likes of ESS as it felt it was a "pre-emptive action." Asked to clarify the issue, Venkateish admitted something to this effect had happened, but could not add details as the matter was being "handled by (ESS') Singapore office."

Last month DD had sent legal notices to 16-odd TV channels, pointing out that using cricket clips, generated by DD, at the rate of Rs 6,000 per minute for full shows was a breach of the terms set for usage of news clips.

After receiving the legal notice, while some channels had apologised and offered payment, others had sought further clarification from DD.

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