Star Sports, the Rupert Murdoch-backed South Asian broadcaster, has hit India’s cable giant SitiCable with a legal action alleging that the cable MSO has “illegally transmitted” Star’s signals, and in contravention of its own agreements and India’s transmission and re-transmission regulations. A similar allegation has been filed against Gujarat Telelink, another cable MSO.
Star has filed a ‘First Information Report’ (FIR) which is a document that’s recognised (and often drafted) by the police and alleges a recognised offence has been committed, and sets the legal ball rolling. Siti has 21 days to respond, but according to press reports Siti is treating the allegation as a routine matter and is simply a precursor to a new round of carriage negotiations and that the dispute will be resolved amicably.
Nevertheless, Star Sports India COO Vijay Rajput, quoted by NextTV, is unhappy and says: “A huge outstanding and non-signing of agreement in both DAS as well as non-DAS markets are the two major reasons for this notice. I would like to point out here that Siti Cable has not submitted subscriber reports for any of the DAS I and DAS II markets. Also, there have been instances of piracy. Earlier in October, we had filed an FIR against Siti Vision Digital, a joint venture unit of Siti Cable Network at Saifabad police station in Hyderabad, for illegal transmission of the Star Sports channels.”