Sporting heavyweights join beIN’s fight against Saudi channel

BeIN Media Group has been joined by a further eight sports organisations in its bid to shut down a pirate channel called beoutQ, which is operating in Saudi Arabia.

BeIN has exclusive rights for various sports properties in the Middle East and North Africa and has claimed that beoutQ is showing its “proprietary media content”.

BeIN last month formed an alliance including Uefa, football’s European governing body, and LaLiga, which operates the top two football divisions in Spain, as well as the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance. This group has now grown in size, with beIN claiming that Saudi authorities are doing little to clamp down on beoutQ.

The existing alliance members have been joined by world football’s governing body Fifa and club football organisations the English Premier League and French Football League (LFP). The International Olympic Committee has also committed to the alliance, alongside North American basketball league the NBA.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club, United States Tennis Association and Tennis Australia complete the list of new members.

In mid-August, beIN sent a letter requesting the Saudi Government take immediate action to investigate and prevent beoutQ’s unauthorised use of its content. BeIN said the Saudi General Commission for Audio Visual Media briefly responded that “it has not been proven” that there are unlicensed devices at sales outlets in Saudi Arabia, and that “it will take appropriate measures in the event it becomes aware of any violation of the law”.

This week – with beoutQ continuing to operate in Saudi Arabia – beIN sent a follow-up letter, calling on the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information and the General Commission of Audio Visual Media to clarify what measures have been taken against the illegal pirate operation.

BeIN said it is continuing its investigation of beoutQ and exploring all available legal avenues, including the criminal prosecution of accomplices or intermediaries.

Yousef Al-Obaidly, deputy chief executive at beIN Media Group, added: “beIN Media Group takes a zero tolerance approach to audiovisual piracy in all its forms and we hope that the Saudi authorities will honour Saudi domestic laws and Saudi Arabia’s international legal obligations to enforce intellectual property rights.

“Piracy threatens both the viability of major international sporting events that so many people work so hard to provide and the broadcast quality that millions of fans have come to expect. We continue to work with our partners across the world and with rights holders such as the Premier League, the IOC and Fifa to fight this criminal action and stamp out this damaging practice for good.”