Qatar takes to WTO in beoutQ battle

Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry has claimed significant progress in the state’s dispute settlement proceedings against Saudi Arabia at the World Trade Organization in relation to the activities of pirate channel beoutQ.

State news agency QNA reported that a two-day meeting in Geneva saw a Qatari delegation warn that firm action must be taken quickly against beoutQ and Saudi satellite provider Arabsat, which is alleged to be distributing the channel.

At the weekend, the Confédération Africaine de Football (Caf) became the latest sports body to pledge it would join Qatar-based pay-television broadcaster beIN’s legal battle against beoutQ after mass piracy affected all 36 of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations’ group-stage games.

Read this: Legal action against beoutQ by Fifa and other major sports rights-holders ‘imminent’

QNA said the WTO dispute settlement proceedings relate to Saudi failures to protect intellectual property rights consistent with the Organization’s Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).

Following a second gathering, and additional written submissions by the parties involved, the WTO Panel is expected to issue a ruling in the coming months.

BeoutQ’s piracy of beIN’s Mena properties including the Fifa World Cup, Uefa Champions League and English Premier League have already damaged beIN’s operations, resulting in the Qatari broadcaster cutting roughly 20 per cent of staff in its home nation.

Despite Arabsat’s repeated denial that its satellites distributed beoutQ, a French court ruled that there were dates that it had done so in 2018.

Read this: BeIN fights back against beoutQ, and calls for rights-holder support