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Madras HC lifts stay on cricket scores via SMS

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MUMBAI: Cell phone operators heaved a huge sigh of relief today after the Madras High Court allowed scores of the ongoing India-Pakistan one-day international cricket series to be sent through SMS.

A single judge bench of the Madras High Court, in an interim order, set aside a 7 February order of another single-judge bench of the court that had restrained mobile phone operators, websites and other content providers from providing score updates. The restraint would have applied for four weeks, by which time the series would have been over.

Justice R Bhanumathi issed her order on a batch of 18 petitions, including those of Airtel, BSNL, Reliance Infocomm, Hutchison Essar, Idea Cellular, Aircel Cellular, Spice Telecom, Tata Indicom, Sify, Yahoo Webservices Ltd, Indiatimes, IMI Mobile, PhonyTunes.com, Rediff.com, Pyro Mobile, ON Mobile Asia-Pacific and CricInfo India.

The order also directs operators to maintain accounts of the revenues earned through the score SMS of the one-dayers so as to ensure that if the suit finally went in favour of trhe original plaintiff, the company could be compensated and it would not suffer any loss.

The 7 February order was issued on a civil suit by Marksman Marketing Services Private Limited. Marksman had contended it had secured the rights of disseminating information relating to scores, alerts and updates or other events or happenings of the tour through SMS.

In its suit, Marksman had submitted that Vectracom Pvt Ltd had entered into an agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on 29 December, 2005 for exclusive global SMS rights to the cricket matches. Marksman's contention was that cell phone operators and websites were providing information related to scores and updates without obtaining permission from Vectracom.

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