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SC raps Star India; rules in favour of Prasar Bharti on sports signal sharing

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SC raps Star India; rules in favour of Prasar Bharti on sports signal sharing

In a major blow to Star India, the Supreme Court of India rejected its appeal challenging the Delhi High Court verdict to share clean live feed without any commercial with public broadcaster Prasar Bharati or share revenue if signals have advertisements.

The Delhi High Court had in 2013 held that whosoever airs a live broadcast of sporting events of national importance must share the same with Prasar Bharati without any commercials.

Prasar Bharati in its petition in the High Court had claimed that the feed being provided contained commercial enhancements. But the private broadcaster said that the commercial enhancements were not advertisements and the enhancements were in any case being inserted by ICC. However, Prasar Bharati insisted that a clean feed be provided to it.

While senior counsel Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Star Sports, Prasar Bharati was represented by Attorney General Mukul Rohatagi.

The apex court held that the prohibition in Section 3 of the Sports Broadcasting Signals (mandatory sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007 (Sports Act) is not only against advertisements of the broadcast service provider. It is also a prohibition against the content rights owner and holder. Therefore, it was immaterial as to who inserted the enhancements. Under the Act, the signal to be provided had to be free of advertisements.

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