BeoutQ: Football live stream network prompts $1 billion lawsuit against Saudi Arabia

The beoutQ network has been illegally live streaming Premier League football games and Formula One races on an industrial scale

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 02 October 2018 18:21 BST
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A Qatar-based sports TV network is seeking $1 billion in damages from Saudi Arabia for the kingdom's alleged involvement in the "most widespread piracy of sports broadcasting that the world has ever seen."

BeIN Corporation claims that the pirate network beoutQ has received State support in order to grow into an advanced piracy operation that serves content to potentially millions of viewers through illegal set-top boxes.

Global sporting events have been broadcast through the beoutQ network – including the 2018 Fifa World Cup, the Formula One World Championship and the Premier League – after the pirate nework hijacked the feeds of legitimate broadcasters.

"Piracy is a major problem facing the sports and broadcasting industries. By supporting beoutQ's widespread and notorious infringement of the intellectual property rights of beIN and its partners, Saudi Arabia is setting a dangerous new precedent," said David Roney, a lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP who is leading the arbitration on behalf of beIN.

"BeIN will pursue all available legal remedies to protect its rights and secure full compensation."

A still of the Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester City that was pirated by BeoutQ

BeIN also claims that Saudi Arabia has initiated a series of "abusive measures" aimed at forcing the Qatari sports network out of the local broadcasting market and destroying the value of beIN's investments in the country.

This includes allegedly banning the importation and distribution of beIN set-top boxes and blocking access to beIN's websites and call centre.

The alleged measures stem from a diplomatic dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which has resulted in a trade boycott of the tiny gulf state.

Alongside Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017, as a result of the country's alleged support of terrorism – which Qatar denies.

“The scale and sophistication of this commercial theft – and the length of time over which it has occurred – is unprecedented,” Tom Keaveny, managing director of beIN, previously told The Independent.

“This piracy by beoutQ and Arabsat is not being carried out by a small outfit operating out of someone’s bedroom. This is theft on a massive commercial scale with multi-million dollar funding underpinning it.”

Saudi Arabia's Center for International Communication had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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