Pic rights: BCCI likely to emulate Cricket Australia

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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New Delhi: The Indian cricket board backs Cricket Australia (CA) over a picture rights dispute that has prompted international news agencies to boycott coverage of matches in Australia, a senior official said on Monday.

Indian board secretary Niranjan Shah said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could adopt the same stance as CA for future domestic Test series.

Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse boycotted last week's first Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Brisbane after CA demanded payment for the right to distribute photographs from the event.

CA argued it owns the right to exploit photographs taken at its games and has asked the agencies to pay to license photos for editorial use.

The agencies say that the Test matches are news events and they will not pay for access to news.

Australian politicians, trade union leaders and media groups have criticised CA's demand while International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed said he hoped the dispute would be resolved amicably.

The Sri Lankan board have written to their Australian counterparts over concerns the dispute will reduce coverage should spinner Muttiah Muralitharan break the world Test wickets record in the second match starting in Hobart on Friday.

 Muralitharan stands on 702 Test wickets, six behind the record held by Shane Warne of Australia.

"What is it? They are charging only the news agencies like Reuters, AP and AFP," Shah told Reuters in a telephone interview, when asked about the issue and whether it could impact India's tour of Australia starting next month.

"(If) Private newspapers like Times of India representatives go and they use photographs for their press I don't think they are charging.

"You (agencies) are charging every press. So you are doing a business. That is what I have understood from Cricket Australia...The BCCI also want to do the same."

Cricket-mad India is the game's commercial hub and companies spend millions of dollars on sponsorship. The national team enjoys a global fan base surpassing a billion people.

Asked whether the BCCI supported Cricket Australia, he said: "I think so, yes."

He said he did not expect the Australian board to ask Indian newspapers for payment when they travel for the series.


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