Kolkata: Rules for photographic and online coverage in the accreditation guidelines for journalists wishing to cover the DLF Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches have drawn sharp reactions from the media.
The rules, released by the cricket authorities on Thursday, require photographers to upload pictures to the IPL website within 24 hours of a match, and also entitle IPL to use the images. Failure to upload images would result in access being revoked.
“We won’t be covering IPL under those terms,” said Barry Parker, bureau chief of Agence France-Presse wire service in New Delhi.
“It’s a bit severe,” said a Bangalore-based Cricinfo.com editor who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak for the portal.
In an email sent to journalists around the world, UK-based independent media consultant Andrew Moger said he plans to lodge a protest with the authorities. “You may wish to seek legal advice,” he wrote.
The guidelines say, “IPL shall be entitled to use and reproduce, free of charge, worldwide and without limit in time any and all photographs/images captured by the accredited party at any ground and the accredited party shall make the same available promptly to IPL.”
It then asks the accredited party to upload images to the IPL site and “should he/she fail to do so, the accreditation will be promptly cancelled for all future matches.”
The guidelines prohibit online use, publication or syndication of still photographic images “without the express prior written consent of IPL”.
IPL chief operating officer Sunder Raman said he saw nothing restrictive about the guidelines.
“All we are ensuring is that photos taken are not commercially leveraged,” he said.
He pointed out that photographers would not have to bear the cost of uploading pictures on the IPL website.
“It’s a non-issue. We’ll upload ourselves. What is the cost of uploading?”
But Moger, who is also the administrator of the News Media Coalition, an international organization that advocates for the media, said he would seek an explanation from IPL.
“I also plan to ask news organizations to independently evaluate whether the terms are acceptable,” he said.
There is a likelihood that Indian media will sign up to the terms, including obligations on media organizations to pay to transfer their pictures to the IPL for its unlimited use, while at the same time being denied the ability to publish those same pictures online, which will become a new benchmark, Moger wrote. “These particular rights grabs are the work of IMG (International Management Group), whose clients included all the premier events.”
IMG India’s interim head Tim Wright’s office said he was not available for comment.
IPL’s Raman downplayed the clause relating to coverage on websites, saying publications with online editions could upload photos as long as it was limited to pictures used in the print version.
In November, when the media was asked to pay to distribute photos from a series between Australia and Sri Lanka, Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse protested Cricket Australia’s demands with a boycott.
The boycott ended as the parties reached an agreement that allowed the media to resume normal coverage.