European Commission report highlights ’serious shortcomings’
A European Commission report has criticised Saudi Arabia for “causing considerable harm to EU businesses” by Saudi-based beoutQ , which reportedly provides illegal access to European sports programming including Premier League football.
FIFA, the AFC, UEFA, the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, LFP and the Premier League hit out at beoutQ last year, saying their IP rights had been breached on a systematic and widespread basis by beoutQ which has been transmitted using satellite infrastructure owned and operated by Arabsat.
A new European Commission report sets out 13 priority countries which “the EU will focus its action” regarding the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries, including Saudi Arabia.
It highlighted “serious shortcomings” in Saudi Arabia’s protection and enforcement of intellectual property.
The report said: “Saudi Arabia was selected because of its global role as a regional transit country for counterfeit and pirated goods destined for the EU, and because stakeholders report high-scale satellite and online piracy and ineffective enforcement measures to tackle them.”
The report also noted even though beoutQ channels have not been distributed over satellite since August 2019, beoutQ boxes are still widely in circulation in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, and continued to provide illegal access to third-party IPTV pirate apps.
European Commission commissioner for trade Phil Hogan said: “Protecting intellectual property is critical for the EU’s economic growth and our ability to encourage innovation and stay competitive globally. As much as 82% of all EU exports is generated by sectors which depend on intellectual property. Infringements of intellectual property, including piracy, threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs in the EU every year.”
Commenting on the report, Yousef Al-Obaidly, CEO of beIN MEDIA GROUP said: “The European Commission’s latest report adds to the existing calls (including at the highest levels of the US and UK governments) calling on Saudi Arabia to uphold the rule of law. As the biggest buyer of media rights in world sport, this is nothing to do with politics – it’s commercial theft, plain and simple. We are not rallying against Saudi Arabia, we are rallying against any nation, company or individual who steals sports content
The Saudi government has always denied any involvement or support of beoutQ and piracy in general.