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The Delhi High Court has restrained around 144 cable operators across the country from telecasting the ongoing cricket World Cup, which they did by unauthorisedly accessing signals of ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd (ESIPL).The court was hearing a suit filed by the company seeking an order to restrain cable operators from unauthorisedly broadcasting the tournament.

The ICC Cricket World Cup, being co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, is being telecast on ESPN, STAR Sports and STAR Cricket channels from Feb 19 to April 2.

Allowing ESIPL’s plea against the unauthorised accessing of telecast signals by cable operators, Justice Gita Mittal said: “After this order, anyone showing the broadcast of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 through any unauthorised means or any other channel will be held in contempt of court and liable for prosecution.”

The court, in an order delivered Friday and made available Monday, asked all cable operators to file a status report within a week’s time.

ESIPL in its suit claimed that the defendants, approximately 144 cable operators, are taking unauthorized connections and they are unauthorisedly accessing signals of the plaintiff without taking a licence from the company.

The court gave permission to ESIPL to take action against all other cable operators not party to the suit but unauthorisedly utilising the feed of ESPN, STAR Sports and STAR Cricket without licence.

The court said: “Restrained the 144 named cable operators from transmitting and/or telecasting in any manner whatsoever without licence from ESS (ESPN STAR Sports) the telecast of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.”

The cable operators have been restrained from telecasting or transmitting any other channel or in any other manner infringing the copyright or re-broadcast right of ESPN STAR Sports.

The court issued injunction against unnamed cable operators indulging in the illegal telecast and told police to render assistance to ESIPL to enforce the order.

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