Pro League and LaLiga forge ‘unique’ anti-piracy partnership

The Belgian Pro League and Spain’s LaLiga have hailed a “unique” partnership that will see the two parties join forces to combat audiovisual piracy of content from the top division of Belgian club football.

The Pro League has chosen to partner with LaLiga, the organising body of the top two divisions of Spanish football, due to the body’s leading status in the fight against intellectual property theft.

Through the agreement, LaLiga will provide services to the Pro League focused on sharing human and technical resources, including the innovative tools which LaLiga has been using for the past four seasons.

Part of the responsibility taken on by LaLiga is the creation of a specific research and development department for the combating of audiovisual piracy, which will go to work for the rest of the 2017-18 season with the option of extending its activities to the 2018-19 campaign.

Furthermore, the Pro League has entered into an agreement with technology company Google, incorporating YouTube’s Content ID tool into the anti-piracy campaign.

Another tool which LaLiga works with and will be made available to the Pro League is social media platform Facebook's Rights Manager, which allows audiovisual content owners to specify permitted uses and identify protected content to prevent audiovisual piracy.

Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad said Pro League clubs have put forward €115,000 ($142,000) for the deal, of which €36,247 is for this season. The costs are borne by the clubs and are excluded from the broadcast rights revenues.

LaLiga’s commitment to fighting audiovisual piracy has seen over 268,000 videos removed from social media and over 9,000 accounts blocked. Some 140 mobile applications which shared links violating LaLiga’s audiovisual rights and over 500 URLs with illegal content have been removed. In addition, almost 10,000 card-sharing servers have been disabled.

Pierre François, chief executive of the Pro League, said: “The interest in the Jupiler Pro League is bigger than ever. This unique cooperation with LaLiga shows our determination to tackle the pressing issue of piracy. Because by harming our business model, piracy harms our league, our clubs, our sport.

“Therefore, this anti-piracy campaign, together with the growing success of Belgian football and the continued investments in production technology, will undoubtedly take the interest in the Jupiler Pro League to the next level, nationally but also internationally.”