French court rules Saudi-based Arabsat carries beoutQ signal

A French court has ruled that regional satellite provider Arabsat distributes Saudi-based pirate broadcaster beoutQ on its satellites, something that Arabsat had denied.

In its judgment on Thursday, the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris cited technical reports by digital security and technology companies Cisco Systems, NAGRA and Overon that concluded beoutQ channels were available on two specific dates last year (June 18 and 24) on a satellite operated by Arabsat.

The court noted Arabsat’s own website stated that its Badr-4 satellite covers Middle East and North Africa and extends to parts of Europe, including the far south of France.

The Saudi-headquartered satellite provider had denied that it is facilitating content broadcast by the beoutQ pirate channel.

Qatar-based beIN Media group brought the case against Arabsat. It said it initiated legal proceedings in France because it had been “unlawfully denied any legal recourse in Saudi Arabia where the pirate operation is based.”

BeIN also said that beoutQ has been pirating the ongoing Fifa Women’s World Cup in France. A consortium of major rights-holders, including Fifa, plans to launch legal action in the Saudi courts against beoutQ, which the rights-holders believe is backed by the Saudi government.