US government urged to take action against Saudi Arabia over beoutQ

A number of US sports and entertainment bodies, trade associations and international broadcasters have made submissions to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) demanding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia be identified as a Priority Foreign Country or be placed on the Priority Watch List due to its continued support of the beoutQ pirate operation.

Along with sports content, beoutQ has also been providing entertainment programming, with beIN Media Group having been a vocal critic of the service. Last month, Fifa and a number of continental football bodies and European leagues issued their latest statement hitting out at the channel’s activities.

It has been announced today (Friday) that beIN Media Group and Miramax film studio have made the most detailed submission to the USTR on the issue of the piracy, filing some 138 pages of detailed description and evidence. Separate submissions have been made by the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (representing 26 leading audiovisual organisations); the Sports Coalition (on behalf of six major US sports leagues); the NBA basketball league and the US Tennis Association; and international broadcasters Sky and Canal Plus.

Each submission to the US government claims that beoutQ has continued to operate its pirate operation in Saudi Arabia with the full knowledge of the country’s government. Several submissions also asserted that the Saudi government offers a “safe haven” for piracy that has now spread across Europe and the US.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Intellectual Property Alliance have also filed submissions in which they noted the threat presented by beoutQ piracy. All submissions have been made pursuant to USTR’s 2019 Special Review and are publicly available on the USTR’s website.

The latest development represents a significant step in the fight against beoutQ. European rights-holders have previously informed the European Commission and EU Member States of the piracy.

In its submission to the US government, beIN Media Group and Miramax said: “Saudi Arabia has permitted, and indeed facilitated, the operation within its territory of the boldest, most sophisticated pattern of broadcast piracy that the world has ever seen – piracy that continues to spread around the globe. While such piracy was initially focused on sports content (including US sports content), it has since expanded to cover the most popular movies and television programming in the world, much of which is produced in the United States.

“While the Saudi government could easily put an end to the widespread piracy emanating from within its borders, it has chosen not to do so. As a result, the economic damage to beIN, its rights holders, and the international sports and entertainment industries continues to grow each day. If allowed to continue unchecked, beoutQ will serve as a model for other pirates to imitate in markets around the world, with dire consequences for the media and entertainment industry that will persist long after beoutQ has disappeared.”