Sunday, February 19, 2006

SMS rights - where to from here?

India - Pakistan cricket series is over, but the SMS rights controversy stays on. During the tournament, a Chennai based company Marksman obtained a stay order from Chennai High Court to stop mobile service providers and content providers from offering cricket scores on mobile, without acquiring specific permission from Marksman.

Marksman claimed that PCB had sold the SMS rights to a Pakistan based company called Vectracom and Vectracom, in turn, had appointed Marksman for the Indian territory.

The 18 or so defendents approached the Chennai High Court to vacate the stay and succeeded. However in the judgement vacating the stay, the honourable judge has pointed out a few things which is going to be contested hotly for the next few months in higher courts. From the judgement copy I have, I quote the relevant portions:
(a) Right of providing scores/alerts and the updates via SMS Technology is the result of organization and expenditure of labour, skill and money, which is salable only by PCB/organizers.

(b) Through the SMS technology, the process of sending scores, alerts and updates amounts to unauthorised interference with the normal operation of PCB/Organiser's legitimate business.

(c) The act of Defendents in appropriating facts and information from the telecast and selling it by providing scores and alerts over SMS is nothing but endeavouring to reap the profit where they have not sown.

(d) The whole process of SMS amounts to unauthorised interference with the PCB/Organiser's legitimate business proceed at the point where the profit is to be reaped.

(e) By the act of the Defendents, they are making profit and thereby diverting the material portion of the profit of SMS which PCB would have earned.
I am of the opinion that the last word on this is not spoken yet. We are going to see the case going all the way to Supreme Court. I expect the mobile phone companies and content providers to move against this ruling.

BCCI would have already smelt an opportunity here and would probably be expecting few hundred crores as SMS rights fees.


  1. can make the best of us stand up and dance...

  2. Badri - good to 'see' you again! Good thing you've got an English language blog - it'd take me about a minute a word to read the tamil.