Domain names has become a principal component in the sports
industry as business identifier, as the use of internet for the commercial
activity has increased momentously. It helps in finding the appropriate site on
the internet and helps in meliorating communication of players and teams with
the common masses. Events are broadcasted on these sites which implements the
dissemination of enormous information related to sports. This has helped in
acquiring huge market value in branding. One can note that apart from sports
clubs having sites of their own, there are some international sportsmen who
have their own sites like www.brettlee.com, www.sachintendulkar.in etc.
Cyber squatters have been given an opportunity to take
benefit of the confusion which may be attributable solely to domain names.
Because of the lack of separate domain name registration in India, one can
register the domain name as trademark.
These rights are apprehended by the Indian Copyright Act,
1957. The term for exercising broadcasting rights is twenty-five years. These
rights are usually exercised by the broadcasting companies which also allows
them to rebroadcast the same event.
According to this Act, any person not withholding the license
to broadcast from the owner: –
Rebroadcasts the broadcast.
On payment of fees cause the broadcast to be
heard or seen by the public.
Makes a video or sound recording of the
Sells these recording to the public or made any
offer to sell or hire these recordings.
Is liable for the punishment of infringement of
the broadcasting rights. Unauthorized downloading also comes under this whose
punishment is mentioned in the Section 43 of the Information Technology Act,
2000, which provides for a punishment of Rs. One crore.
Lack of a
definite legal framework in India has led to the rise of Ambush Marketing. It
refers to a company’s attempt to capitalize over the popularity of a well-known
or established event or property without the appropriate authorization or
consent of the necessary parties. It involves a third party to create an
association with the sportsmen or any event in which they are participating
without their approval. This leads to the defying of official partners and
sponsors in acquiring their share of the commercial value due to their official
designation. Ambush marketing has become a very cheap way of attracting
customers to one’s brand.
Marketing may include; –
Unofficial corporate sponsorship.
Unauthorized use of event logo or seal on the
False claims of being the official sponsors of
a particular team.
Creating unofficial films, videos or websites.
legislation for combating ambush marketing is absent in India. Most of these
cases are considered under various IP laws like copyright or trademark law.
era one can clearly notice that the competition amongst the associations and
the sports clubs is not only witnessed on the sports or event field but also in
the business for making huge profits. Sports clubs are now exploring their
intellectual property and are entering the business in the form of computer
games, merchandising, and so on. This adventure of sports clubs of earning
profits by exploiting their IP makes it essential for them to adequately
protect their IP. Protection of these IPs could take various forms such as
agreements binding by certain terms and proper conditions, registrations etc.
The IP repertoire of a sports organization is bound to grow with expansion of
its business operations and with the popularity of the team or the players the
value of such repertoire grows significantly. Regular IP audits and valuation
must be conducted in order to nurture the intellectual properties as most
business models related to the commercialization of sports and games are based on
the IP wealth of the sports clubs. Adequate protection and maintenance of IP
portfolio is also crucial.