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ICC firewalls its official sponsors from rights infringement

MUMBAI: In order to protect the rights of its official sponsors, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has issued an advisory regarding the use of logos, trademarks, word marks and proprietary content by the print media for the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 scheduled to take place from 12 March to 6 April.

The aim of the advisory is to protect the exclusivity granted to official partners of the ICC including Pepsi, LG, Hyundai, Castrol, Emirates, MoneyGram, Reebok and Reliance, and to bar print media from monetising ICC propriety content through non-official sponsors.

While it is not new for the ICC to issue advisory to news channels, this is for the first time that the world cricket body has issued such a detailed advisory for the print media.

In a letter sent to the Indian Newspapers Society (INS), a copy of which is with TelevisionPost.com, ICC head of legal Iain Higgins clarified the activities that are permissible as well as those that are impermissible in relation to the event, to prevent any inadvertent infringements of ICC names, marks and proprietary content by the print media.

Among other things, the ICC advisory seeks to prevent the print media from publishing any of ICC material in conjunction with any third-party advertisement.

The advisory states that other than the ICC, the partners and their authorised licensees and sub-licensees, no entity is entitled to use any (or all of the) ICC names, ICC marks or ICC proprietary content, or commercially associate in any other way, “either expressly or impliedly, including through marketing promotions, contests, advertising, fantasy games or other commercial activity with the ICC or the event.”

Print publications may utilise the official logo of the event and/or the ICC for journalistic, news reporting and non-commercial purposes, the advisory states.

Additionally, if INS members enter into a formal arrangement with the ICC’s broadcast partner to sponsor live telecasts or highlights of event matches, those publications are not entitled to use ICC names or ICC marks to promote that service as only FSS or its official licensee’s telecast service of the event in question may be promoted.

It further states that without license, publications may not:

  • Use any or all of the ICC names, ICC marks or ICC proprietary content in conjunction with any advertisement, message, name, logo, trade mark or word mark of any third party;
  • Publish any article, match synopsis, match review, or snap-shot relating to the Event or any previous edition of Event that uses any or all of the ICC names, ICC marks or ICC proprietary content in conjunction with any unlicensed ad, message, name, logo, trade mark or word mark of a third party;
  • Publish any photograph that relates to the event or any previous edition of the event that is sponsored by any third party, or contains catchphrases that refer to any third party (e.g. ‘Entity A’, ‘Moment of the Match’, etc.);
  • Publish third-party-sponsored or presented score-cards of event matches;
  • Publish third-party-sponsored capsules or tables containing fixtures, timings and/or venue details of event matches;
  • Publish any syndicated column that displays any or all of ICC names, ICC marks or ICC proprietary content and displays the name, trademark, word mark or logo of any commercial or non-commercial entity/entities;
  • Publish a special page, section or supplement relating to the event that displays any or all of the ICC names, ICC marks or ICC proprietary content in conjunction with any advertisement, message, name, logo, trade mark or word mark of a third party; or
  • Publish still images by altering or deliberately removing, replacing or obscuring any logo of a sponsor of the ICC, a participating team or a participating player.

The letter also states that if the print publications fail to adhere to the advisory, the ICC will engage with them to bring to their attention the permissible parameters of activity and work with them to resolve the matter.

“However, should such activities persist, then the publications will be deemed to have knowingly breached the exclusive rights granted by the ICC to its sponsors, partners and licensees, and the ICC may initiate further action, including legal recourse,” it stated.

With regard to electronic media, the ICC brand and content protection guidelines state that the ICC WT20 names, ICC WT20 marks and, to a limited extent and subject to the ICC WT20 Media Accreditation Terms and Conditions and News Access Regulations (and all relevant copyright laws), the news channel can use ICC WT20 footage for news reporting purposes in non-commercial editorial-only pieces without the ICC’s prior authorisation.

In certain circumstances when reporting and providing information on the ICC and/or the ICC WT20, journalists have been given leeway to use the ICC WT20 names and ICC WT20 marks to illustrate their news/editorial features subject to full compliance with applicable laws and regulations.