36 Afcon Games Pirated By DStv-like Broadcaster

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The 4 weeks party in Egypt is now ending this Friday with Algeria and Senegal facing each other. Unfortunately CAF (Confédération Africaine de Football) has been a victim of what’s said to be one of the biggest state sponsored piracy. CAF has recently complained that 36 Afcon games have been pirated by a reportedly Saudi Arabia pay Tv broadcaster called beoutQ. From CAF’s website:

The Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) has witnessed a new major hacking operation committed by the pirate television platform called “beoutQ”, which its flagship competition is victim, the final tournament of the Total Africa Cup of Nations organized in Egypt from 21 June to 19 July 2019.

Television broadcasts of all 36 matches in the group phase were fraudulently diverted and made available on beoutQ, with the support of the satellite provider Arabsat. Arabsat has refused to obey the requests for taking down the illegal transmissions.

CAF is not the only victim even UEFA , Premier League and other sports organizations have had their events and competitions illegally broadcasted by beoutQ.

The curious case of beoutQ

beoutQ pay TV was launched in 2017 amid a political crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia (and other Middle East countries). Qatar’s beIn Sports is the dominant pay TV broadcaster in the Middle East which holds the rights to many popular and prestigious tournaments and competitions that happen accross the world.

When political tensions reached fever pitch, Saudi Arabia banned Qatar’s beIn Sports to sell subscriptions in its country. As the Saudi’s living rooms became quite since they no longer had access to the likes of Premiere league, they reportedly introduced beoutQ. beoutQ provides access to events channels which beIn Sports holds the sole rights to in the region. beoutQ broadcasts the pirated content on it’s setboxes which are like decoders.

beIn Sports traced where beoutQ’s signal and they figured that it’s coming from Saudi Arabian satellite called Arabsat. beIN Sports (or rather, Qatar) approached a French court with this evidence and it ruled in favour of it but still Arabsat (or rather, Saudi Arabia) denies that beoutQ is using it’s signal.

Way forward

At the moment CAF only said that it’s going to join the likes of UEFA for a class action lawsuit.

CAF also intends, in compliance with its statutory missions, to join the steps taken by the main rights holders harmed (including FIFA, UEFA, AFC, Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga) and to take all necessary measures and actions against entities that commit, or are complicit in the commission of, these piracy acts, including proceedings.

The world’s biggest police, the United States has failed to take a hard line position in this matter as both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both allies. The US only designated beoutQ as a notorious market and added Saudi Arabia in the Priority Watch List for not valuing Intellectual Property. We’d have to see the US’s position on this issue when an American organization sues beoutQ for stealing it’s content.