January 22nd 2019
The following joint statement has been issued on behalf of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Football Association Premier League Limited (The Premier League), Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (LaLiga) and DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga (Bundesliga):
“Collectively, we, as rights-holders in various football competitions, condemn the pirate entity beoutQ, which continues to abuse the operations of rights holders and legitimate broadcasters through its persistent and illegal screening of events for which it has made no effort to secure the rights; the latest example of which is the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
The activities of beoutQ are a clear and flagrant breach of our intellectual property rights. beoutQ’s piracy harms not only us, as rights holders, but also our legitimate licensees and, ultimately, the fans of our competitions. Money raised from the sale of TV rights helps us to support the participants, as well as to develop and grow the sports of which we are guardians from the grassroots up. Piracy kills that investment.
We will work closely with partners and relevant authorities to enforce and uphold our intellectual property rights and put an end to this widespread piracy issue for everyone’s benefit.“
Original Article on FIFA.com
June 15th 2018
“FIFA is aware that a pirate channel named BeoutQ has illegally distributed the opening matches of 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in the MENA region. FIFA takes infringements of its intellectual property very seriously and is exploring all options to stop the infringement of its rights, including in relation to action against legitimate organisations that are seen to support such illegal activities. We refute that BeoutQ has received any rights from FIFA to broadcast any FIFA event.”
Original Article on FIFA.com
July 11th 2018
“FIFA has observed that the pirate entity named ‘beoutQ’ continues to use illegally the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ broadcast signal.
Accordingly, FIFA has engaged counsel to take legal action in Saudi Arabia and is working alongside other sports rights owners that have also been affected to protect its interest.
FIFA urges the authorities of Saudi Arabia and of the different countries where these illegal activities have been observed to support us in the fight against piracy.”
Original Article on FIFA.com
January 9, 2019
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) today condemns the pirate entity named ‘beoutQ’ that continues to illegally broadcast the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
The AFC has already instructed counsel to take legal action in Saudi Arabia and is working alongside other sports rights owners that have also been affected to protect its interest.
The AFC will continue to support its commercial and broadcast partners by protecting their contractual rights.
Original Article on the-afc.com
June 21st 2018
“UEFA strongly condemns all unauthorised broadcasting and illegal streaming activity. We are aware that a pirate channel, named beoutQ based in Saudi Arabia, has illegally distributed the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League throughout the 2017/18 season, including the UEFA Champions League Final in Kyiv on 26 May. UEFA considers that illegal piracy of live football, particularly on the scale of that being carried out by beoutQ poses a significant threat to European football. The protection of our Intellectual Property is key to UEFA and we will take the necessary steps to address the issue in order to enforce and protect the rights granted to beIN Sports, including through engaging with relevant satellite carriers in the region. For the avoidance of any doubt, beoutQ has received no rights whatsoever from UEFA to broadcast any UEFA event.”
Original Article on bloomberg.com
June 12th 2018
“The Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) reminds that, it holds, on an exclusive basis, all the rights pertaining to its competitions, including all the related matches and any related official events, without any restrictions as to content, time, place and law.
No one other that CAF is legally authorized or empowered, without the prior written authorization of CAF to use and/or exploit any media rights related to its competitions, regardless of the methods of broadcast transmission (satellite, terrestrial, IP…).
CAF has granted an exclusive license to beIN Media Group for the transmission of the main CAF competitions, including but not limited to, the final tournament and the qualifying matches of the Total Africa Cup of Nations, the Total CAF Champions League, the Total CAF Confederation Cup, the Total CAF Super Cup, the Total Women Africa Cup of Nations.
This exclusive license covers in particular the following territories: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Recently, an entity called “beoutQ” has put in place a major piracy operation against beIN Media Group. In this regard, CAF strongly condemns the practice of the audiovisual piracy of sport events, a real scourge for our industry.
CAF is determined to take all necessary against “beoutQ” if any of CAF matches is pirated.”
Original Article on cafonline.com
July 8th 2018
“BeoutQ is in no way authorized by the DFL to distribute Bundesliga content, and the DFL is already active and reserves the right to take further measures to protect its rights and the rights of its licensee.”
Original Article on beinsports.com
August 16th 2018
Ligue de Football Professionnel condemns illegal broadcast piracy of opening games of Ligue 1 Conforama and Domino’s Ligue 2 by Saudi Arabia-based ‘beoutQ’ and escalates the theft of its rights to the Directorate General for Trade at the European Commission
With the start of Ligue 1 Conforama and Domino’s Ligue 2, The French Professional Football League (LFP) is aware that matches from the competitions it organises are broadcast illegally on a pirated channel called ‘beoutQ’.
LFP is taking ‘beoutQ’ and Arabsat’s non-authorised exploitation of its products very seriously and has addressed a letter to the Directorate General for Trade at the European Commission, seeking support for investigating ‘beoutQ’ and demanding that pressure is placed on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to act and shut down the channel. The LFP has also written to Arabsat to demand that they stop ‘beoutQ’ from using its satellites to broadcast content. In addition, the LFP is examining all legal options, recourse and remedies that are at its disposal.
Didier Quillot, LFP Executive Director General: “The LFP continues to take all necessary action to defend its interests and the interests of its broadcasters. Last January we participated in the creation of the Association for the Protection of Sporting Programs (APPS) with the broadcasters, the professional leagues and the sports’ federal bodies. Pirate broadcasts, such as those routinely taking place in Saudi Arabia, attack directly at the economic heart of the sport and we have to unite in our struggle against this practice.”
Original Article on ligue1.com
Original Article on sportbusiness.com
January 18th 2019
The Premier League is aware of new evidence presented by beIN Media Group, which further demonstrates that its content is being illegally broadcast in Saudi Arabia and made available in several countries across the Middle East by an illegal pirate channel called “beoutQ”.
Like other sports and content providers, our model is predicated on the ability to market, sell and protect commercial rights.
The broadcasters and licensees who acquire these rights legitimately, like beIN Media Group, make our competition available to fans across the world, and their investment underpins our ability to support Premier League clubs in continuously working to make the competition as compelling as possible.
The League has already appointed legal counsel in Saudi Arabia to begin the process of bringing action against the parties involved in this piracy.
We have also made representations through the Sports Rights Owners Coalition to the European Commission and made the UK Government aware of the issue.
As the legitimate Premier League rights holder across the Middle East and North Africa, we will continue to work with beIN Media Group to bring this highly organised and sophisticated illegal broadcast piracy to an end.
Original Article on premierleague.com
August 21st 2018
Premier League Condemns Illegal Broadcast Piracy Emanating from Saudi Arabia
The Premier League has seen evidence showing ‘beoutQ’ a highly sophisticated pirate operation distributing illegal content in multiple territories in Middle East.
The Premier League strongly condemns the illegal broadcast piracy of its matches currently taking place in Saudi Arabia and available in multiple territories throughout the Middle East by an illegal pirate channel called “beoutQ”.
All 20 Premier League matches played during the first two weekends of the season were broadcast illegally on the channel. “beoutQ” steals content from several legitimate Premier League licensees.
The Premier League has seen compelling evidence demonstrating “beoutQ” is a highly sophisticated pirate operation which has used the services of satellite provider Arabsat to distribute the illegal content.
Global sports and entertainment broadcaster beIN MEDIA GROUP is the legitimate rights holder for the Premier League across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The Premier League recently extended the beIN MEDIA GROUP agreement to exclusively broadcast Premier League football matches in the MENA region for the three seasons through to 2021/22.
The Premier League takes piracy in all its forms extremely seriously and is committed to working with its broadcast partners and regulatory authorities in territories all around the world to stop the non-authorised exploitation of its content.
As such, the Premier League has appointed legal counsel in Saudi Arabia to begin the process of bringing legal action against the parties involved in this piracy. Given the strong copyright framework in Saudi Arabia, the Premier League is confident that the Saudi Arabian authorities will ultimately uphold its clear rights when the action is commenced.
A Premier League spokesperson said: “The Premier League has written to the European Commission as part of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition. This is just one of the measures we are taking to address this very serious issue.”
“We operate a significant anti-piracy programme in a range of countries to protect the copyright of the League and our clubs. Like all content creators and rights owners, our business model is predicated on the ability to market and sell protected rights and we will take all available action to support the investment made in the League by our legitimate broadcast partners.”
Original Article on premierleague.com
July 5th 2018
World’s Tennis Governing Bodies Join Calls To Immediately End Illegal Piracy Operations in Saudi Arabia
The world’s tennis governing bodies have joined forces to publicly condemn and call for the immediate closure of the illegal Saudi Arabian-based piracy operation, “beoutQ”. Over the past year, a whole variety of world tennis content has been illegally broadcast across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by a pirate television channel called beoutQ, which in turn distributes the content on the Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat, without any rights whatsoever to do so. The united voice of condemnation from world tennis joins the chorus of other world sports organisations that have been calling for Arabsat to stop facilitating the mass-scale piracy and for decisive action to be taken to stamp out beoutQ.
beIN MEDIA GROUP is the exclusive rights holder in the MENA region of major tennis tournaments, which are owned, operated, sanctioned or their rights sold by organisations across world tennis including the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the ATP World Tour, ATP Media, the Women’s Tennis Association, the United States Tennis Association, the French Tennis Federation, Tennis Australia; and it represents the global rights to the International Tennis Federation. It is these leading tennis organisations, extending to all four corners of world tennis, that have come together to denounce beoutQ.
Over the past 12 months beoutQ has been brazenly stealing the broadcast feeds of international tennis tournaments and distributing them illegally on a satellite provider called Arabsat. The premium sports content is then viewable on illegal beoutQ boxsets and online, in many cases for free across MENA. This mass-theft of tennis TV rights has prompted the world tennis organisations to come together to condemn and call for an immediate end to the illegal exploitation of its intellectual property.
Industrial-scale illegal piracy of this nature is of great concern as it risks significantly damaging the value of the commercial broadcast rights that tennis governing bodies and rights holders around the world rely on to fund the sport at a professional and amateur level. However, tennis is just one sport that is suffering at the hands of the piracy. Both FIFA and UEFA have issued statements in recent weeks denouncing beoutQ, joined by further condemnation from other sports, major broadcasters and rights holders around the world who have also had broadcast feeds and content stolen.
The case of beoutQ is especially troubling due to the unparalleled sophistication and the extensive period of time over which the commercial-scale theft has been allowed to continue.
Bernard Giudicelli, President of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said: “beIN MEDIA GROUP has a strong track record of providing the very best tennis programming not only across the Middle East and North Africa, but also within France itself. As the exclusive rights holder for Roland-Garros in the MENA region, we fully support beIN MEDIA GROUP in taking action against illegal streaming in all relevant territories, and we are looking at all measures available to eradicate the unauthorized broadcast of our content by the Saudi-based illegal service.”
Original Article on usopen.ORG
July 5th 2018
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President said: “The protection of our broadcast rights is critical to the health of our sport. beoutQ is a pirate service which has not been granted any rights, via ATP or ATP Media (as the official broadcast arm of the ATP Tour), to broadcast any ATP World Tour content whatsoever – those rights belong to beIN MEDIA GROUP in the MENA region. ATP and ATP Media take copyright infringement extremely seriously and we stand firmly alongside beIN MEDIA GROUP as we look to protect our broadcast rights in the region.”
Original Article on atpmedia.tv
July 5th 2018
Katrina Adams, Chairman of the Board and President of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) said: “beIN MEDIA GROUP is a key strategic partner of the USTA and we are truly disappointed by the flagrant and illegal piracy of our content taking place in Saudi Arabia and across the region through beoutQ and Arabsat. This is highly damaging for tennis and to the USTA’s mission of supporting the growth of tennis. We strongly oppose audiovisual fraud in all its forms and stand united with beIN in our desire to fight the harmful practices of illegal streaming and copyright infringement.”
July 5th 2018
David Haggerty, President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) concluded: “Broadcast rights are a primary source of funding for the future of tennis and are vital in helping the ITF and its member nations create the champions of tomorrow. As a global partner of beIN MEDIA GROUP, we request that the Saudi Arabian government and authorities use all their powers to close down beoutQ and to stop Arabsat from carrying this illegal broadcast of tennis’ intellectual property.”
July 5th 2018
Craig Tiley, CEO and Tournament Director of Tennis Australia (TA) added: “Piracy is a major concern to all global rights holders, including Tennis Australia, because it risks corroding the value of the broadcast rights that we rely upon to fund our tournaments and grass roots initiatives designed to increase participation. beIN MEDIA GROUP is our rightful broadcast partner and the audacious piracy taking place in Saudi Arabia is setting an incredibly dangerous precedent. We will be providing all our support to beIN and relevant authorities as further attempts are made to stop beoutQ from operating.”
July 5th 2018
Steve Simon, Chairman & CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said: “Piracy is extremely damaging for all sports and entertainment property rightsholders. We work closely with our licensees to protect our content from illegal distribution. We fully support our licensee beIN MEDIA GROUP, and others in our industry, in their efforts to stamp out piracy for good.”
July 5th 2018
Commenting on the unlawful use of its proprietary commercial rights Richard Lewis, Chief Executive of the AELTC said: “Wimbledon is a brand beloved by millions and the protection of our copyright is of the utmost importance to us. In MENA, the right to broadcast The Championships is exclusive to beIN SPORTS. We take the copyright infringement by beoutQ extremely seriously, and, alongside the other tennis governing bodies, we offer our support to beIN SPORTS as we look to protect our broadcast rights in the region.”
Original Article on wimbledon.com
September 6th 2018
An NBA spokesman said the league stands by beIN in its effort to “stop the unauthorized distribution of NBA content on beoutQ.”
Original Article on wsj.com
September 30th 2018
Timo Lumme, Managing Director, IOC Television and Marketing Services: “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is aware of the troubling development in Saudi Arabia of the piracy of sports content, including Olympic content. The IOC takes the threat of illegal piracy of Olympic content and IP incredibly seriously.
Our exclusive broadcast partner in Saudi Arabia, and across the whole Middle East and North Africa region, is beIN MEDIA GROUP. Revenues generated from our broadcast partnerships provide the most important source of funding to support the staging of the Olympic Games, the athletes and the development of sport around the world. The illegal distribution of Olympic content in Saudi Arabia by beoutQ is ultimately cheating the athletes and the global development of sport. Our understanding is that the unlicensed distribution of sports content via satellite has been facilitated by beoutQ via Riyadh-based provider Arabsat.
We will continue to work with, and seek assurances from, the relevant authorities, Olympic Movement stakeholders, and our broadcast partners around the world, to ensure that individually and collectively we are taking all steps necessary to protect the official broadcast of the Olympic Games from attempts of illegal piracy.”
Original Article on ft.com
June 19, 2018
We take intellectual property infringement seriously. We are working closely with FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, to protect our rights.
Original Article on bloomberg.com
June 19, 2018
It has come to our attention that there has been illegal distribution of Eleven Sports channels to beoutQ’s device. This unauthorised streaming of Eleven Sports’ services seriously infringes our intellectual property rights.
We stand firmly against content piracy in any form and we take violations of this nature extremely seriously. We are looking into this issue and we will take the appropriate course of action.
Original Article on bloomberg.com
And an additional statement provided to media:
“The biggest threat to sports rights values is piracy. The kind of thing that is going on in Saudi Arabia is piracy on an industrial level. This is a big illegal operation and we have to take a position of principle – as must others in our industry. We are completely unpolitical in this yet have still had our rights stolen. If the battle against piracy is lost, the value of sports rights will fall to the floor. Pirate sites are not going to pay the wages of professional players, or fund football academies and facilities, or reduce the price of tickets for fans, or – most importantly – help the development of grassroots football in local communities around the world. The illegal piracy we are seeing in Saudi Arabia undermines the whole football ecosystem.”
Original Article on broadbandtvnews.com
Professor Daniel Gervais, Milton R Underwood Chair in Law at Vanderbilt University – June 13th 2018
Commercial-scale piracy is a plague. If tolerated, over time it can destroy an industry.
A particularly troubling example is starting to take root in international sports broadcasting – particularly soccer. The widespread piracy currently spreading throughout the Middle East has largely been ignored. It has been overshadowed by a wider diplomatic dispute between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Qatar, and including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain. Regardless of this geopolitical context, if left unchecked, the piracy we are seeing perpetrated threatens the future of international sports broadcasting around the world.
Let’s start with the basics. Professional sports organisations, such as soccer’s global governing body Fifa, which organises the World Cup, depend in large part on the ability to sell exclusive broadcasting rights to generate income. Without this stream of income, those organisations and the professional sports they support likely could not exist.
This is also true of sports events that require massive infrastructural investments – the Olympic Games, for example. The ability to sell broadcasting rights, in turn, depends on the existence of exclusive rights of copyright. As the noted international legal scholar Charles McManis rightly stated: “Sports organisations must police their copyrights because of the immense value that rests within the exclusive right of broadcasting.”
he international legal framework is relatively straightforward. Copyright law must comply with rules contained in the Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), of which both Qatar and the KSA are members. A fundamental principle of the TRIPS Agreement is that countries cannot discriminate against foreigners. Under a rule known as ‘national treatment’, WTO Members must provide ‘no less favourable’ treatment to nationals of other WTO Members than they provide to their own nationals. WTO Members must also protect copyright and provide adequate enforcement options.
How are these rules applicable to the situation emanating out of the Middle East? Fifa has granted exclusive World Cup broadcasting rights in the MENA region to Doha-based BeIN Sports. BeIN also has exclusive rights to England’s Premier League, FA Cup final and the Uefa Champions League, amongst others. BeIN uses encryption to protect its signal and make it available to subscribers, as satellite and pay-per-view services do all around the world.
The diplomatic dispute between Qatar and the KSA, which began last summer, led to what is effectively a ban of the BeIN service in the KSA. This normally would mean that this signal would not be available in the KSA. Under international rules, WTO Members are allowed to censor content – for example in cases of morality – but this is not censorship. If there were grounds for legitimate censorship, the censored content would simply be unavailable, and KSA authorities would be expected to take action to enforce the ban.
However, the BeIN signal isn’t censored in the KSA – after all, the signal is simply broadcasting soccer matches and other sports content. Instead, BeIN’s content is made available by a service widely available in the KSA known as BeoutQ, which has found a way to decrypt the BeIN signal, which it then transmits via ArabSat to its subscribers. To do so, it sells decoder boxes embossed with the BeoutQ logo, and subscriptions to the BeoutQ service. Tweets promoting the BeoutQ service use the rhetoric of professional pirates who describe all intellectual property rights, especially patents or copyrights, as ‘monopolies’ that must be dismantled.
The satellite broadcaster, ArabSat (headquartered in the KSA), has reportedly refused to take any action to discontinue the pirated transmission. BeIN has tried to enforce its rights in the KSA only to find that it and other Qatari-headquartered international companies have no access to the KSA legal system.
There is little doubt that the professional broadcast of a match, with creative choices made as to which camera and which angle to use, the editing and selection of clips for replays, selection of shots, the use of split screens, commentary, merits copyright protection. As the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) (again, of which both Qatar and the KSA are members) guide makes clear, ‘rebroadcasting or cable distribution of a broadcast without authorization and usually for commercial purposes including “bootlegging”’” are acts of piracy.
The continued existence of the BeoutQ service, ArabSat’s facilitation of that service, and the failure of the KSA (including its judicial system) to take action against this piracy likely amount to multiple violations of the TRIPS Agreement: by failing to provide national treatment; by failing to protect copyright rights in broadcasts and works contained in those broadcasts; and by failing to provide adequate enforcement options to BeIN. It is BeIN that has been targeted for now for political reasons, but any international broadcaster could be next.
If this situation continues, the logical consequence will be that the sale of exclusive broadcasting rights to sports and other events will be significantly more difficult in the future. Devaluing the key asset of rights-holders in the financing of many important events is self-evidently a threat to fans, athletes, and the organisations that support them. Allowing pirates, and those facilitating those pirates, to get away with large-scale piracy for political reasons creates a poor precedent. Multilateral rules are meant to avoid these unfair situations. Those rules are being openly flouted and the future of international sports broadcasting is at stake.
Original Article on sportspromedia.com
Original Article on gulf-times.com