Intellectual Property Rights in Fantasy Sports – A Critical Analysis

Intellectual Property Rights in Fantasy Sports – A Critical Analysis

  By Jashaswee Mishra (DSNLU, Vizag)

What are Fantasy Sports? 

Fantasy Sports are online forecast games where the dream gamers (people playing the game) set up a virtual group of genuine games players like players from the Indian Premier League (IPL), English Premier League (EPL) the National Basketball Association (NBA), and so on These gamers are classified “Chiefs” and they structure a group of major parts in a particular association, who procure focuses dependent on genuine measurements that are changed over into dream focuses. Administrators acquire dream focuses dependent on the players’ exhibitions, all things considered, sports. Every Manager plays against different Managers and their groups. These chiefs deal with a list by adding, exchanging and offering players to frame their group. 

There are two sorts of fantasy sports that are predominant. The first is the season-long draft framework and the subsequent one is the day by day dream alliances played by the players around the world. 

In Indian fantasy sports stages like Dream11, My Circle 11 we for the most part see the day by day dream form being utilized. Supervisors pay a section expense to participate in a challenge, the prize cash for which is foreordained by the stage. Taking the case of cricket; focuses are acquired on an assortment of measurements like the runs scored by a batsman, wickets taken by a bowler and gets/run-outs exacted by a defender. The administrators need to choose a commander and bad habit skipper among the 11 players and their presentation ordinarily brings some additional focuses. Toward the finish of the match, the Manager with the most elevated focuses dominates the match. 

Unmistakable Fantasy Sports stages in India 

There have been many fantasy sports stages in the offing in India, however it was Dream11 that become wildly successful and advocated dream sports in India. A portion of the other applications, for example, MPL, My11 Circle, My group 11, Fancode, Fancy11 are battling out in the market which as of now is in flood with the quantity of new players participate. Dream 11 has been the primary Fantasy Sports stage that has entered the association of unicorns in India. They have likewise been at the bleeding edge with regards to legitimate suits as numerous bodies of evidence have been recorded against it and some are as yet forthcoming. 

How does “fantasy Sports” work in India? 

The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) is the self-administrative industry collection of Fantasy sports in India. FIFS has been set up to secure buyer intrigue and plan best practices for Fantasy Sports in India. FIFS likewise distributes a Charter for Online Fantasy Sports Platforms which sets out the guidelines for the members.

For an online fantasy sports stage (OFSP) to be considered for affirmation by the Governing Council, the Operator is needed to get and present an assessment and assessment from the Innovation Committee of the FIFS on the proposed challenge as a ’round of ability’. In the new Rajasthan High Court ruling, the Court saw that FIFS as of now has more than 35 of the biggest dream sports organizations as individuals, which take into account 99% of the dream sports clients in India. 

As per the contract, the individuals need to get a legitimate permit and approval for the utilization of outsider protected innovation rights which incorporate player pictures, photos, brand names, and so on its foundation. Individuals need to acquire a permit and approval to guarantee any authority relationship with any game’s overseeing body, player, group or competition. FIFS has likewise received the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) rules for self-guideline of the advertisements.

Lawful Issue around internet Gaming in India 

The Public Gaming Act, 1867 is a focal law that forbids running or being responsible for a public betting house in India. Be that as it may, under the Constitution of India, State lawmaking bodies have been depended with the ability to outline state-explicit laws on wagering and betting. According to the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, the State Governments have been approved to make laws on wagering and betting. 

Fantasy Sports, which have been ordered as Game of ability, fall in a different class and the State Gambling enactment of different states (except for Assam, Odisha and Telangana) avoid round of expertise from the ambit of betting. 

“Expertise” V. “Possibility” 

The principle lawful obstacle looked by internet gaming organizations in India is whether it is a round of ability or a round of possibility. Nations have received various ways to deal with characterizing possibility and ability. India has followed the US model by applying the “prevailing element” test. The Satyanarayana case and the Lakshmanan case were the primary situations where the “ability versus possibility” question was tended to. The Courts were of the assessment that no game exists which can have ‘expertise’ as the individual factor to decide the outcome. In State of Bombay v. R.M.D.C., the court propounded that if a game contains the two components, for example expertise and possibility, it would be viewed as a round of ability. 

Ability versus Chance as seen through Fantasy Sports 

Bringing setting into dream sports, the primary inquiry was whether picking a group of 11 players out of 22 was something a player did on expertise or whether it was the player taking risk by choosing the arrangement of players. The Court interestingly had settled this inquiry on account of Varun Gumber v. UT of Chandigarh and Ors, explained that: “Playing of fantasy game by any member client included framing of a virtual group by him which unquestionably required extensive expertise, judgment and prudence. The member needed to survey the overall worth of every competitor/sportsperson as against all competitor/sportspersons accessible for choice. He was additionally needed to examine the principles and guidelines of the strength of competitor or player and shortcoming moreover.” 

The High Court made its position clear that Dream 11 is totally a round of expertise and held that dream sports didn’t add up to betting. The Court additionally added that Dream 11 was leading a business action ensured under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. 

IP Rights: Use of Players’ Names, Team Logos, and so forth 

Another issue that encompasses dream sports stages is the utilization of the players’ names and the group logos in their foundation. Fantasy sports stages utilize players’ names, group logos and so on to empower the members to pick explicit players from explicit groups. We know about the way that IP laws empower players to have certain IP rights including picture rights. 

Dream sports are worked around the alliances/competitions and the members (players) in that and not around explicit players and there are consistently business game plans between the stages and the groups/groups which empowers the stages to utilize their IP. In addition, the utilization of these players’ names and pictures by dream sports stages is to a great extent to distinguish those players and the utilization of their names, pictures don’t in any way recommend support of the dream sports game.

Since Indian courts haven’t especially managed instances of exposure rights as to dream sports, there is less legitimate statute accessible on this issue. 

Legal Developments identified with “Fantasy Sports” in India 

Two years after the Varun Gumber case, the lawfulness of Dream 11 was addressed again in the Bombay High Court on account of Gurdeep Singh Sachar v. Association of India case. The Court again favored the past judgment and noticed “The members don’t wager on the result of the match and only assume a part similar to that of selectors in choosing the group. The focuses are scored by the members for the whole span of the entire match and no piece of the match.” This was an intriguing investigation done by the Bombay High Court which further reinforced Dream 11’s case. Dream 11 again got the opportunity to be vindicated in 2020 where the Rajasthan High Court excused the PIL which contended that the said application was engaged with wagering on cricket match-ups. 

Fate of Fantasy Sports in India! What lies ahead? 

As of late in D Siluvai Venance v. State,the Madras High Court has called for stricter guidelines for web based games. The Court showed worry by bringing up how adolescents are being pulled in to play such web based games where some prize cash is included. The Madras High Court likewise sent a notification to MPL diplomat Virat Kohli and My11Circle minister Sourav Ganguly for advancing web based gaming applications. It is significant that the applications referenced above incorporate dream sports as well as have online rummy-which was the significant purpose of dispute in the Siluvai case. 

Andhra Pradesh was the furthest down the line state to boycott dream sports completely when the investment funds and exemptions for ’round of ability’ from the arrangements of the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act were discarded. 

The choice of the Bombay High Court has been tested under the watchful eye of the Supreme Court as of now. The Supreme Court hosts gave notification to all the gatherings for hearing the new conflicts. Thus, it very well may be said that the eventual fate of online dream sports remains in a precarious situation until the Supreme Court settles on the forthcoming matter.

We live in a profoundly directed vote based framework represented by the standard of law. Further, at the focal point of our majority rule government is our arrangement of licensed innovation laws-copyright, brand name, licenses, privileges of protection, and privileges of exposure. In spite of the fact that fantasy associations are an anecdotal arrangement, it compares with genuine expert groups. It manages insights dependent on genuine data from live games, players’ names, group’s names, group logos, etc. The contest lies with which components are the licensed innovation of the partners in question. Likewise, regardless of whether utilizing these components would comprise an encroachment of the privileges of partners. The potential IP laws managing dream sports are; on the whole correct to exposure, copyrightability of measurements and brand name encroachment. 

Right to Publicity and Trademark Protection 

In Dream 11, if an individual needs to settle in a group of their decision they would pick the best 11 players from the forthcoming game.

It is first basic to understand what falls under Right to exposure and privacy as well. It is perceived as a privilege of a superstar to utilize, control and disallow the illicit utilization of their character. It incorporates the big’s name, resemblance, and voice, just as different parts of their character. Presently, would the player’s exposure rights likewise incorporate execution measurements, alongside their names, similarity, and individual qualities are muddled. Notwithstanding, this predicament has been cleared by US courts. It was held that the player had the privilege of exposure over their exhibition measurements. Subsequently it forestalls any business utilization of such components of exposure rights. 

Unexpectedly, for another situation, the Court held that there is a critical public interest in the data passed on by the class and that the utilization of a superstar’s resemblance to advance a connected item would not be violative of their exposure rights. There is vagueness with the utilization of exposure rights. However, this vagueness emerges when these player measurements or pictures are utilized for business gains. Dream sports administrators can contend that use of such components of exposure rights would just be for nominative use. Nominative utilize would be admissible to the extent the player’s picture or insights are sensibly important to distinguish the player. Nominative utilization emerges as an essential result of the use of realities by dream sporting event administrators. Regularly, such utilization gets by regardless of openly accessible player measurements being changed over into “dream focuses” or comparative appraisals in the dream sporting event.. Along these lines such utilization, when accomplished for nominative use and with appropriate permit it would not comprise as IP encroachment. 

The utilization of enlisted brand names as logos and names by dream sporting event administrators may likewise be covered under the protection of nominative reasonable use or denominative use. The protection is relevant in situations where an imprint is utilized by an outsider only to recognize the result of the enlisted brand name’s owner. On account of imagination sports, the brand names are neither utilized in an uncalled for way, nor in an unfavorable way to the enlisted Trademark. They are simple intends to address the player and consequently don’t make any disarray for brand name encroachment. 

Copyrightability of Sports Statistics 

It is normal understandingthat utilizing the player’s picture, names, similarity, and organic data require licenses from singular players or their associations. Dream sports administrators additionally need to take a permit for utilizing group names and group logos. However, would the utilization of measurements which includes data about the game-play and traits, require licenses also? The passing exactness of a footballer might be simple numbers or authentic data for a layman. In any case, for a dream football chief that is fundamental data to settle on choices of picking that player. Insights or realities have been of existential significance to the activity of imagination sporting events since their inception. This data might be gotten from a specific source or openly accessible information. Such realities may welcome a copyright encroachment guarantee from the owner. Accordingly, the assurance of copyrightability of realities gets pivotal.


Watching sports, the focal point of fantasy games has brought numerous new fans that had never been completely inundated in supporting a club, or been normal adherents of the game. The general idea of this game depends on “outmaneuvering” your adversary, utilizing your insight. Accordingly, as more devotees/fans were pulled in to the game, it made interest among various partners like alliances, clubs, supports and media. The rise of this wonder gives an extra flash to countless individuals. They feel engaged by having the alternative to be a more thing than simply an “rocker” head supervisor. The ascent in the quantity of imagination sports administrators shows how it is quite possibly the best methods for fan commitment. New brands have been entering the market and right now settled dream sports administrators have seen an untouched high. Dream sports stages are about measurements. There is a ton of investigation done by the specialists including the player’s examination, the group examination, the information accumulated progressively and the client’s information. With Dream 11 having figured out how to get themselves out of a legitimate tussle in regards to betting, has made ready for new participants in the business. Notwithstanding, there is one steady lawful vagueness drifting over these dream sports administrators. That is of IP encroachment claims coming their direction. It is in every case better for these administrators to have approved licenses set up and keep their working encroachment free. Fitting measures are taken in IP insurance of such dream games at first to save a great deal of issue later on. Each little component of imagination sports could be dependent upon IP encroachment. Be that as it may, with essential advances taken, dream sports could take fan commitment to the following level.

Thusly, it gets appropriate to comprehend the legitimate parts of imagination sports which will be lawfully secured by Intellectual Property Rights (“IPR”) of the proprietors and might be tended to by the Indian legal executive in the forthcoming years. The Indian law compactly and enough backings the privileges of the administrators or creator of such dream sports, now and then more than the games associations and competitions coordinators directing such games in all actuality. The utilization of realities and character privileges of the sportspersons to prompts intricacies in the always advancing field of laws administering IP rights. It additionally influences the attractiveness of the games, substance of the presence of the players, proprietors, associations, competitions, telecasters, promoters and backers. The immaterial estimation of the players is critical as well, as they contribute a lot of time and expertise to build up such acknowledgment and prominence. 

Hereafter, it is imperative to address the issue that whether current realities and characters are the IP of the proprietor or the engineer of such dream sports and furthermore whether such administrators are encroaching the privileges of the owners as they are the primary clients. In this manner, comprehend that the utilization of such realities and character by the game administrators may comprise an infringement of IP laws under the purview of India. For this reason, the article investigates the situation of imagination sports and IP in India concerning insights, logo and pictures and character privileges of players.

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