beIN ups the ante in piracy dispute with Saudi Arabia | Broadcast | News | Rapid TV News
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Qatar-based beIN Media has published a ‘reveal all’ website exposing what it calls “the industrial scale theft of world sports and entertainment” by pirate TV network beoutQ, claimed to hail from Saudi Arabia.
beoutQ piracy Messi 20 Dec 2018
The pay-TV operator, which holds the legal rights to broadcast much of the pirated content, said it also offers evidence on the website that beoutQ is distributed by Riyadh-based regional satellite operator Arabsat.

Launched in August 2017 – shortly after Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic and economic ties with its Gulf neighbour Qatar – beoutQ now offers subscribers 10 encrypted channels on which it illegally broadcasts live sports. Content has allegedly been stolen from major sports rights holders including FIFA, UEFA, the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, and other football leagues; to the NFL, the NBA, world tennis, Formula 1 and the Olympics.

beIN also claims every game of the Asian Football Confederation’s 2019 Asian Cup, which is currently being hosted in the UAE and features 24 national teams, has been broadcast illegally by beoutQ.

In addition to live sports, beIN alleges beoutQ gives access to entertainment content through embedded IPTV apps, through which its set-top boxes stream pirated live television and on-demand movie content from all over the world. The Qatar-based media group also claims beoutQ is now being pirated by other pirates around the world with reported accessibility of beoutQ in London, Geneva and Florida USA.

“For the past 18 months beoutQ has brazenly stolen on a daily basis the commercial rights of almost every major sports rights holder and every movie studio around the world; and attempted to sabotage our broadcast business at the same time. We have a very simple message on behalf of the whole sports and entertainment industry: we will not cease our fight against this unprecedented piracy operation until it is eradicated,” said Yousef Al-Obaidly, chief executive officer, beIN Media Group. 

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has approved the creation of a panel to investigate Qatar’s case against Saudi Arabia  and the latter’s alleged violation of intellectual property rights.

Tom Keaveny, managing director, beIN MENA, said: “What started out as a concerted and targeted campaign against beIN has now morphed into the largest commercial theft that’s ever been seen in the world of sport and entertainment, affecting everyone from the biggest organisations in sport to Hollywood movie studios and international broadcasters.

“This Saudi-supported plague of piracy represents an existential threat to the economic model of the industry because every day that beoutQ exists piracy is becoming more normalised across the world. We, at beIN, will not let that happen and this new website of evidence shines a light on the shocking extent of beoutQ’s ongoing theft. Piracy cannot pay; the international rule of law should apply to all, not the few,” said Keaveny.

In July 2018, Arabsat said an investigation carried out by seven independent satellite communications experts found no evidence that Arabsat satellite frequencies were used in beoutQ broadcasts of World Cup content, as then alleged by FIFA and beIN Media.

Saudi Arabia has consistently refuted claims that it is involved in the violation of IP rights and said it remains committed to taking action to combat content theft and protect intellectual property.