Wednesday, February 8

wronging rights

I haven’t bought the rights to write this, but I’m going to ahead and say it anyway.

I can’t for the life of me understand how the PCB could sell “global SMS rights” for the Pakistan-India series. A certain Vectracom went ahead and lapped it up, as must be, of course, anything that has the Pakistan- India tag. Marksman Marketing Services thought they too had hit the bullseye by grabbing the said rights for India, as must any rights that are attached to anything India- Pakistan. Now a Chennai court has inexplicably held up the appeal by these Marksman sharp shooters and stopped any score updates by mobile networks in India.

There was a period of time where I thought- am I missing something here? But I realised that this is simply unfigure-outable- how can anyone own the rights to disseminate this information? This logic can be extended indefinitely- forget live scores on the net, updates via RSS or tickers at the bottom of news channels- not unless these guys buy the rights to do it.

You could, of course, call a friend who’s watching it on telly and ask him, but listen- just be sure he has obtained the rights to tell you, ok? You never know…


worma said...

you're right. Something similar happened to me yesterday when I first read this :-) But there's a 'commercial' angle to it too (so the friend who tells you over the phone should not charge you for it :-)

But still, I agree. This is 'news' or information....and I don't think someone can hold rights to news reporting. Or we would have companies vying for the exclusive reporting rights to Israel-Palestine region (boy...would that be worth a fortune!). BBC sports reporter reading out scores would be sued :-)

The Indian courts, like all around the world, will come to grips with techonologies by trial and error. This is the learning curve.

akr said...

hey worma...long're all over now:)

I have a gripe with the courts, but what I dont get is what was the thinking (and/or precedent) behind selling the rights in the first place. They don't make sense to me.

worma said...

yeah...long time....btw you do visit the new home of sightscreen?

About 'selling' the rights, you've to remember that those rights were sold by PCB. And technology, especially new technology, is not the area of competence of our boards really. Even in Europe I hear cases like 'exclusive 3G rights' for football tournament being sold. Which apparently means that the operator can, holding those rights, exclusively send MMS, streamed videos etc of the games....but the catch is, its only 3G rights. Someone else can send the same over GPRS :-)

This is what I meant by the new technology, and the learning curve. Ofcourse some people/agencies are at a totally different point on that curve.

shakester said...

yeah get that completely. the new Indian tenders are full of such examples. think the courthearing is on monday (to listen to the mobile operators' side of the story) and it should pretty much be back to normal then. Plus- the guys at this MMS place were fast asleep through the tests I suppose...

of course I vist the sightscreen blog dude. checkout the sidebar. I find it a bit restrictive in participation though. Ven ehgough I have a rediffmail account, its cumbersome to get (yet ANOTHER) blog going!

worma said...

oh ok...I was tricked by the title you put up for sightscreen ;-)

yes the MMS guys were probably not much interested in tests, they realised its not big business. Not in terms of mobile alerts, that become more crucial for ODIs. Lets see how the court responds to the COAI petition...hope they see sense.

And yes, the participation at sightscreen is not comfortable....but nothing compared to posting on it :-))

akr said...

well anyway the content on sightscreen has always been relevant to me- not the gargantuan commenting! :)

and oh- I am sure there's nothing like posting on it, worma- dont rub it in! :)

worma said... got me wrong...ofcourse being able to post there is great ;-)...but what I meant creating posts using that interface is much more painful than just commenting (that it doesn't have an editor with html options is the 'smallest' problem!)

Zainub said...

Interestingly enough, I just received an SMS from my mobile phone operator offering a brand new service, here is what it says:

"Dear Customer,
Now you can join in the India-Pakistan series with Mobilink by simply dailing 1220 to listen to live cricket commentary, charges are Rs. 5+tax/minute.

This is in adition to score updates I can chose to recieve at any time by sending a message to another code.

And BTW this last service is not restricted to my phone operator only, other services like Ufone can also ask for score updates via SMS.

So not entirely sure who has these global SMS rights anyway.

worma said...

zainub: it can be so that the operators in Pakistan have already obtained the rights from the holders (Vectracom or whatever..). Even in India they have sold the rights to MMS, and MMS went to court saying that operators should 'seek permission' from them..i.e. pay them their share of pie. I don't think these companies (Vectra.. and MMS) bought the rights to provide the service themselves.

And that audio commentary via mobile thing is just one way around. There are many other technical ways of 'by-passing' the 'global SMS rights' which these companies claim to have (e.g. there is another technology, similar to SMS, but not really the same, and is supported by most of the mobile phones...and in that case too the recipient gets a text 'message' on the screen. but its not SMS :-) ). Which is why, I think, this whole issue is way messier than e.g. tv right holders.

akr said...

wroma: er...oops:)

Zainub- yup- the idea of the 'rights' is to sell them to any/all mobile operators whoa re interested in buying them , they are not exclusive. Anyhow, i think after a while they will not even be existent. they make no sense. but worma is right- all additional technology in the subcontinent is in a seriously ambiguous area...