The NSE has sued Hyderabad based Manshi Systems and domain name registrar GoDaddy in the Bombay High Court for providing access to the NSE NOW Platform data without paying it any money. (Source: Mint)
There is only a small problem. It seems like Manshi has gone out of business sometime last year. The website (manshi.co.in) gives you a “Coming soon” page. You may be able to access some of the internal pages, but I think that’s just legacy. Traderji has posts showing that the owner has just vanished or has shut down , all the way since July 2013.
The case hinges on the Manshi product using the NOW product, which provides data over the internet to subscribers. The NOW product is standalone but trading happens through brokers, who typically sign up with the NSE and charge their clients approximately Rs. 500 per month. Manshi also used to charge Rs. 500 per month, but none of this would go to the NSE – their software had, I think, reverse engineered the protocol that the NOW product used to communicate with the NSE server, and extracted data. Data was then fed to tools like Amibroker which can display this data in charts.
This therefore takes data out of the NSE servers and distributes them to customers, without the NSE getting paid for it. Medianama says this is not coverable under copyright as it is “hot news”
This is also a revenue leakage for NSE’s data distributors such as Global Data Feeds, iCharts or even Bloomber, and is in fact a revenue leakage for NSE, which charges the distributors a fee per user per month. This fee is only for data given to users externally – if brokers provide the same data in their own terminal, that’s fine.
It’ll be interesting to see how this case pans out, especially where Manshi is out of business.
Adding GoDaddy to the plea must be a desperate act by the NSE to involve someone they can sue for damages. However, it’s quite unlikely they are going to be deemed responsible, because most judges are sensible enough to know who the “infringement” is.
Capital Mind View: Stale data should not be charged for, especially stuff like stock prices. NSE doesn’t really chase people who display delayed data on their sites, or stock charts (like Capital Mind). However it costs serious money to disseminate real time data and providers of that data should pay the NSE appropriately.
But this will be looked upon as a case of copyright theft. It’s unlikely that NSE owns the data which is actually a traded deal price between two parties, regardless of whether NSE owns the platform. For instance, if I write a comment on any web site, the copyright to that comment is mine, no matter who the platform owner is. The data stored in a certain format could still be described as copyrightable, but Manshi did not distribute the same format – they distributed it as numbers, and numbers are not copyrightable. It’ll be interesting to see if a judgement is passed on this front.