The Delhi high court has restrained 92 cable operators from Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Tripura, Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar and Punjab from telecasting the football World Cup matches without legal consent from ESPN-Star Sports who have the sole right for telecasting the matches in India.
Elaborating on the order, Rajesh Kaul, associate vice president, affiliate sales, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd said, "No other channel, whether pay, free to air or terrestrial, is authorized to provide, show or distribute the World Cup telecast within India."
Also carriage, reception or distribution of the World Cup coverage by any multi-system operator, cable operator, sub-operator without written authorization from ESPN-Star Sports is a violation of copyright and illegal. Strict action will be taken against operators who violate the court orders, Kaul added. Post the court order; police raids have already begun.
"The illegal telecast was causing a loss to the company, so we approached the Delhi high court and the single judge restrained 92 cable operators from showing the World Cup matches," he said.
The 92 cable operators across the country were broadcasting by means of wireless diffusion, many free to air international channels, thereby infringing the copyright of ESPN-Star Sports.
S C Iyengar, another vice president of the company, said the TRPs of the World Cup matches was constantly on the rise. "On the first day itself we had 5.8 TRP, which was more than that for cricket. The India-West Indies cricket series had around 3.5 TRP," Iyenger told rediff.com.
However, Iyengar refused to divulge the financials of the World Cup telecast or its marketing strategy. "All I can say is that I will not be a loser at the end of the World Cup next month," he said.