Cricket boards to combat piracy in joint initiative

MUMBAI: In an effort to combat the menace of piracy, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has come together with other boards to fight the menace and protect IPR.

Indian Premier League (IPL) CEO Sunder Raman says that a meeting took place a couple of days back in Hyderabad and the board representatives of various countries as well as sports broadcasters have agreed to work together to fight the issue.

"The music industry had also come together and formed a coalition to protect their rights. What we will be doing is similar. Our efforts have the backing of the ICC who wants to do its best to protect the interests of the sport at large. It is not just a question of the IPL being affected. We are looking at the larger picture," Raman added.

The meeting was attended by David Collier from the English board, Gerald Majola from Cricket South Africa and James Sutherland from Cricket Australia. They have all agreed to help fund the campaign with the BCCI. Representatives from ESPN Star Sports (ESS), Sony and Taj Television were also present.

Raman further says that there are three areas of copyright infringement that the coalition will look to tackle. These are trademark infringment, Internet piracy and footage violation. IPL chairman Lalit Modi had earlier raised the issue of news channels using footage beyond what was allowed.

A sports broadcaster representative says, "Basically the news channels in India take a huge amount of sports channel footage without our permission. Thus is a breach of copyright. In other countries there are regulations in place that govern what news channels do. But here there is nothing - which leads to the current mess.

"The meetings in Hyderabad were about this issue and the need for the sports industry including federations and broadcasters to work together. The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) was invited but they did not come."

Raman further adds that the boards are looking to work with the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC) to form a legal framework for the different boards. SROC operates as a forum through which sports bodies can share information and experiences. In particular, the purpose of SROC is to enable:

- discussion and sharing of best practice on key legal, political and regulatory issues;
- raising awareness of new developments and innovation in sports rights; and
- sports to take joint action to protect and promote their rights.

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