Delhi HC restrains unauthorized streaming of ICC Cricket World Cup

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Officials and umpires talk after inspecting the ground following heavy rains that delay the start of ICC Men's Cricket World Cup warm up match between Afghanistan and South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram.

Officials and umpires talk after inspecting the ground following heavy rains that delay the start of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup warm up match between Afghanistan and South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram. , Photo Credit: AP

The Delhi High Court has restrained online platforms from broadcasting and streaming the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in an unauthorized manner.

The court’s order came on a lawsuit filed by Star India Pvt Ltd and Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt Ltd which operates Disney+ Hotstar streaming platform.

The plaintiffs said they have the exclusive global media rights, including the television and digital rights for various ICC events like the World Cup, which is scheduled to be held from October 5 to November 19 in India.

They said being one of the most popular sporting events in the world, a large number of websites were likely to indulge in unauthorized dissemination of the World Cup content.

Justice Prathiba M Singh observed that undoubtedly the World Cup cricket matches were “extremely popular, especially in the Indian subcontinent” and rogue websites, which in the past have also indulged in piracy, were very likely to continue the authorized streaming of matches.

“Thus, there is a need to restrain any rogue websites from disseminating and communicating to the public any part of the cricket match events without authorization or license from the plaintiffs,” the court said in a recent order.

“Accordingly, defendant Nos. 1 to 9 (various rogue websites which are stated to be primarily hosting illegal and pirated content) are restrained by an ad-interim order from communicating, screening, making available or disseminating any part of the ICC World Cup Cricket matches on any electronic or digital platform in any manner whatsoever,” ordered the court.

If an injunction is not granted at this stage, irreparable harm would be caused to the plaintiffs, the court stated.

It further directed the authorities concerned to block and suspend the websites and clarified that if any further offending websites are discovered, the plaintiff can communicate their details to both Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Electronics and internet service provider for issuance of blocking orders.

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