beIN dispute with Arabsat

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The Gulf state of Qatar is involved in a diplomatic argument with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, which has resulted in the recall of ambassadors and imposition of trade and travel bans.

The row has now extended to Qatar-based beIN Sports which has “strongly denounced” satellite operator Arabsat and its backing to the Dubai-based MENA Broadcast Satellite Anti-Piracy Coalition. beIN Sports is complaining that Arabsat is allowing an alleged Saudi Arabian piracy network and its “beoutQ” channels.

beIN Sports says that since October 2017, “the beoutQ pirates have been selling subscriptions to 10 satellite channels carrying premium live sports content stolen from beIN and other broadcasters,” beIN Media Group said in a statement.

The sports broadcaster alleges that the beoutQ set-top boxes are being openly sold in retail outlets across 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. Since February 2018, the beoutQ pirates have gone even further, distributing an illegal IPTV app that provides access to hundreds of pirated channels from around the world, argues beIN Media.

“This is a very serious development for all content owners in the Mena region, since it is leading to a high penetration and awareness of pirated IPTV services, which are a huge threat to our industry,” the statement noted.

beIN says that several rights holders have written to Arabsat on numerous occasions, providing evidence that beoutQ is using Arabsat frequencies, and asking it to take down the beoutQ channels.

beIN argues that Arabsat is refusing to take down the beoutQ channels, and thus Arabsat’s sponsorship of the anti-piracy conference is indefensible.


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