By Paul Nicholson
September 18 – Qatar-based sports broadcaster beIN Sport which holds the TV rights to multiple sports events across 43 countries where it is distributed has joined with 10 of its rightsholders to protest against Saudi Arabian focused web channel beoutQ, which it says is broadcasting beIN’s propriety content in Saudi Arabia without permission.
The website operated by providing a series of links to live streaming of matches that are being broadcast by beIN, is a thinly veiled direct assault on the Qatari group in what is becoming the softer business and political battleground of the stand-off between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
beIN is demanding that action is taken against beoutQ and that piracy of their rights is stopped. They have written twice to the Saudi Arabian government but have not received a reply.
This follows on from a dispute that arose in Saudi Arabia for the AFC Wrld Cup Qualifiers where beIN claims it was prevented by Saudi officials from exercising their rights to the game as contractually agreed. That dispute is currently under investigation by the AFC which is also anxious to protect its own rights.
To enforce their point and in a bid to shut beoutQ down, beIN has teamed up with FIFA, the English Premier League, UEFA, Spain’s LaLiga, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) in France, the International Olympics Committee (IOC), the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the United States Tennis Association, Tennis Australia, the American National Basketball Association (NBA), as well as anti-piracy body the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA) to form a lobby group.
Yousef Al-Obaidly, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at beIN MEedia Group, said: “beIN MEDIA GROUP takes a zero tolerance approach to audiovisual piracy in all its forms and we hope that the Saudi authorities will honor Saudi domestic laws and Saudi Arabia’s international legal obligations to enforce intellectual property rights.”
On its website beoutQ says: “We do not host any video content on this site. All copyrighted content to their respective owners. We encourage all copyright owners to recognize that the links on this site are located elsewhere on the web. The embedded link refers to the video website. Please direct all copyright infringement issues to the companies that host these files and not to publish them. If you notice something irregular or some copyright abuse please send email to moc.l1540206010iamg@1540206010000021540206010yalpi1540206010
The site information says that beaoutQ is “a partnership between a Colombian and Cuban broadcasting companies, we adhere to laws in both countries. Under such laws, our work is 100% legal, and aims to counter exclusive monopolies. Main investors in the company come from Colombia, Cuba, and Arabian Gulf Countries.”
The legality of what they are doing is perhaps debateable, but the piracy of the rights is illegal worldwide.
beIN in a press release gathered supporting statements from: Philippe Le Floc’h, Chief Commercial Officer at FIFA; Timo Lumme, Managing Director of IOC Television & Marketing Services at the International Olympics Committee; Paul Molnar, Director of Broadcasting at the Premier League; Didier Quillot, Chief Executive Officer at the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP); Ben Morel, Managing Director at the National Basketball Association (NBA) EMEA; Mick Desmond, Commercial and Media Director at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which owns The Wimbledon Championships; Aaron Segal, Director of Broadcasting at United States Tennis Association, which owns the US Open,; Richard Heaselgrave, Chief Revenue Officer at Tennis Australia, which owns the Australian Open; Sheila Cassells, Executive Director at the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA); Guy-Laurent Epstein, Marketing Director at UEFA, and; Melcior Soler, Director of Audiovisual at LaLiga.
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