Airtel bows to Sony on online FIFA World Cup streaming rights

Bharti Airtel today told the Delhi High Court that it has blocked 219 websites which were allegedly infringing the rights of Multi Screen Media (MSM), formerly Sony TV, to stream matches of the FIFA World Cup 214 as the authorised broadcaster of the event in the Indian subcontinent.

The websites blocked as per the high court's 23 June order do not include any Google sites, as these were removed after a revised list was submitted on July 1.

''Counsel for the defendant submits that defendant number 40 (Airtel) has blocked 219 websites on its servers,'' Justice G S Sistani noted in his 4 July order, while granting leave to MSM to bring to the notice of the Department of Telecommunications and the Department of Information Technology all the orders of the court 'for strict compliance''', the Court said.

As per the court's June order, 472 websites, including some Google sites, were restrained from showing FIFA 2014 World Cup matches on the plea of MSM, which had contended that it shows the matches on six of its channels, including Sony SIX, and also streams them online on its portal Sony Liv and mobile application Liv Sports (See: Delhi HC orders 472 websites blocked on Sony plaint against anti-piracy FIFA World Cup broadcasts).

Thereafter, on 1 July, the court had amended the list of sites to be restrained after had submitted a revised list.

On 23 June, the high court had also directed its registry to forward a copy of its order to DoT and DIT so that they can direct internet service providers (ISPs) to block the infringing websites.

MSM, formerly known as Sony Entertainment Television India Pvt Ltd, has claimed all rights related to live, delayed and repeat telecast and streaming of 2014 football world cup matches in the Indian subcontinent.

It had told the court that while it has written to ISPs to block the ''rogue websites'', a court order or directions from DoT would be required for the service providers to act.

The final of the world's most followed sports event is scheduled for 13 July.