The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (“MIB”) on 9th May 2022, notified certain events as sporting events of national importance.Key Aspects
Under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 (“the Act”), no content rights owner or holder and no television or radio broadcasting service provider shall carry a live television broadcast on any cable or Direct-to-Home network or radio commentary broadcast in India of sporting events of national importance, unless it simultaneously shares the live broadcasting signal, without its advertisements, with Prasar Bharati to enable them to re-transmit the same on its terrestrial networks and Direct-to-Home networks.
Accordingly, content rights owners, holders, television and radio broadcasting service providers would now be required to simultaneously share the live broadcasting signal, of these notified sporting events of national importance, without advertisements, with Prasar Bharti.
The 9th May 2022 notification supersedes previous notifications of sporting events of national importance made on 1st March 2021.
Broadly, the sporting events of national importance notified by the MIB on 9th May 2022 include:
- All Olympics Games
- Commonwealth Games
- Asian Games
- Specified events relating to Cricket, Tennis, Hockey, Football, Badminton, Kabaddi, Khelo India Games and other events relating to shooting, archery and international events organized by National Sports Federations recognized by the Government of India.
Under the Sports Broadcast Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Rules, 2007 (“the Rules”), an event of national importance once included in the list shall remain a sporting event as such for a period of four years from the date of its inclusion unless deleted or withdrawn earlier.Our Take
The present notification broadens as well as clarifies the scope of sporting events of national importance. For example, previously, in relation to cricket, the list included official One-Day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team as such Test matches are considered to be of high public interest by the Central Government. However, the list notified on 9th May 2022 now includes all official One-Day, Twenty-20 and Test matches played by the Indian Men’s and Women’s Cricket Team and all International Cricket Council Test matches featuring India.
Mandatory sharing of live broadcasting signal of sporting events of national importance with Prasar Bharti is intended to increase access of the general public to view these events. From an intellectual property rights perspective, a balance would need to be maintained between public interests and the rights of content owners, while notifying events as sporting events of national importance.Links:
Notification dated 9th May 2022 – https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/Notification%20of%20sporting%20events%20of%20national%20importance%20.PDF
Previous Notifications dated 1st March 2021- https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/SO%20975%28E%29%20DATED%2001.03.2021%20%28OTHER%20GAMES%29%20AND%20SO%20976%28E%29%20DATED%2001.03.2021%20%28CRICKET%29.pdf
Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 - https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A2007-11_0.pdf
Sports Broadcast Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Rules, 2007 - https://upload.indiacode.nic.in/showfile?actid=AC_CEN_29_41_00007_200711_1517807323539&type=rule&filename=g.s.r._687_(e)_dated_31.10.2007-sports_rules_2007.pdf