The European Commission has accused Saudi Arabia of “causing considerable harm to EU businesses” in its support for the pirate channel beoutQ.
In a report into the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries, the Commission says “IPR enforcement in Saudi Arabia features serious shortcomings”.
Another 12 countries are on the list including Argentina, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam.
The report states “Saudi Arabia has reportedly not taken sufficient steps to stop the infringement despite the fact that the satellite services of BeoutQ are being transmitted by the satellite (Badr-4/Arabsat- 4b) of the partly state-owned Arab Satellite Communications Organisation.”
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.”
Since October 2017, the beoutQ has been selling subscriptions to ten satellite channels carrying premium live sports content stolen from beIN and other broadcasters. beoutQ set-top boxes are being openly sold in retail outlets across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries, and the packaging and promotional materials for the set-top boxes explicitly advertise the availability of pirated premium sports content.
Satellite transmissions ceased in August 2019.