Hearing in the case related to using Doordarshan’s Olympic footage by news channels took place at the Delhi High Court on August 21. At the end of the hearing, it is reliably learnt that the judgment passed by Delhi High Court Judge Rewa Khetrapal was that the news channels should abide by the laws of fair dealing within the Copyright Act.
It may be recalled that Prasar Bharti had taken strong objections to news channels using Doordarshan footage of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. This move by Prasar Bharti had come as a surprise for the news channels. Prasar Bharti had issued letters to private news channels regarding unauthorised use of Olympics footage from Doordarshan. The letter had stated that Prasar Bharti had the sole rights to the Olympic Games telecast and anyone who wished to show it on their channel had to go through proper channels by coming to an agreement or pay as per the rate card.
A senior broadcast industry official, on condition of anonymity, said, “The two points that were strongly put across by the news channels was that the Olympics take place once in four years and it is in public interest to show it to the larger public as India is rejoicing her first individual Gold medal at the Olympics, courtesy Abhinav Bindra, and a Bronze medal by Sushil Kumar in wrestling, while Vijender has qualified for the boxing semi-finals.”
“The second point that the news channels put across was that by showing footage of Doordarshan with DD’s logo, the channels were actually helping move the eyeballs to DD Sports,” the official added.
The official further said, “Doordarshan argued that they had paid $3 million to buy the rights and had the sole rights for the telecast of thte Beijing 2008 Olympics Games, and if the other news channels were using the footage, it would hamper their commercial interests. To support their argument, they had a commissioned study by TAM, which showed the usage of each channel.”
Commenting on the judgment passed, BS Lally, CEO, Doordarshan, said, “The rules must be followed and everything should be done fairly and correctly.”
An official response from the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) was not available at the time of filling the report.
Prasar Bharti issues a letter to news channels over unauthorised use of Olympics footage from DD