16 August 2018Copyright

Saudi-based satellite company source of global piracy, claims Qatar's beIN

Technical evidence has allegedly established “beyond any doubt” that a satellite operator headquartered in Saudi Arabia is responsible for distributing pirated content.

While Saudi Arabia’s ministry of media recently denied allegations that the country is the source of pirate site beoutQ, Qatar-based beIN Media Group today said that technology conglomerate Cisco Systems, TV security company NAGRA, and broadcasting services provider Overon have “independently and definitively confirmed” that beoutQ's pirated content is being distributed by Arabsat.

Arabsat is a satellite operator in the Arab world that claims to reach more than 170 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Saudi Arabia has the largest share (36.7%) in the operator.

Cisco, NAGRA, and Overon have reportedly concluded that Arabsat’s satellites are responsible for transmitting beoutQ’s pirate channels, but beIN claimed the satellite operator has refused to switch off beoutQ’s transmissions.

This is “the most widespread piracy of sports broadcasting that the world has ever seen”, according to beIN.

The pirate site reportedly “stole” the opening English Premier League and French Ligue 1 football matches during the weekend of August 10-12 by illegally streaming games in the MENA region.

The news comes shortly after FIFA’s announcement that it engaged legal counsel to take action against beoutQ’s illegal streaming of the World Cup.

beoutQ reportedly “stole” every match of the World Cup (which took place in Russia), beIN said, before proceeding to illegally distribute the first games of the season in the major football leagues.

The media company said: “The pirate channel also brazenly promoted coverage of upcoming games it will show from LaLiga and the Bundesliga, both which start in the coming weeks, as a sign of beoutQ’s endless pipeline of piracy.”

Saudi Arabia recently welcomed FIFA’s announcement that it would be taking action against beoutQ, after previously denying that the country is the source of beoutQ.

Sophie Jordan, executive director of legal affairs and general legal counsel of beIN, said that beoutQ is carrying out “a mass-scale theft” of highly valuable IP rights in “broad daylight”.

She added: “It is time for Arabsat to switch off the pirate transmissions it has supported for almost a year; it is time for Arabsat to be made accountable for facilitating the largest pay-TV piracy organisation in the history of pay-TV.”

In June last year, several countries, including Saudi Arabia, cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

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More on this story

13 July 2018   Saudi Arabia has welcomed FIFA’s announcement that it has engaged legal counsel to take action in Saudi Arabia against the alleged pirate channel beoutQ.
3 October 2018   Qatar’s ministry of economy and commerce has accused Saudi Arabia of violating the IP rights of Qatari citizens, in a recent filing at the World Trade Organization.
7 December 2018   Saudi Arabia has said the World Trade Organization (WTO) cannot resolve an IP dispute with Qatar due to national security concerns, according to Reuters.