beIN Sports welcomes French anti-piracy bill
March 22, 2021
By Colin Mann
The French National Assembly has adopted legislation that gives rights-holders and broadcasters major new powers to tackle the worsening piracy pandemic in the country.
The Bill, Démocratiser le sport, was adopted in a plenary session of the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, and contains a key new legal provision (Article 10) which allows rights-holders and broadcasters to obtain “dynamic injunctions” from a judge immediately to block, remove or de-reference pirate websites and servers that illegally distribute live sports content. Crucially, each injunction will last for 12 months – without requiring time-consuming and costly reapplications – and applies not only to the initial infringing pirate entity, but to any “mirror” websites created after the publication of the judge’s decision for the following year.
Under the new legislation, the regulatory body HADOPI (the High Authority for the Dissemination of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet), has been appointed as the trusted third party that will oversee the correct implementation of the injunctions and update the register of de-listed pirate websites.
Now the law has been adopted at the National Assembly, beIN Sports – a key drafting and lobbying force behind the legislation – now hopes for a swift and efficient adoption at the Senate as soon as the parliamentary calendar allows in the coming weeks, for broadcasters’ rights to be safe ahead of UEFA Euro 2020 – for which beIN has exclusive rights to all matches in France.
In January 2018, beIN Sports was the central force in the founding of the Association pour la protection des programmes sportifs (Association for the Protection of Sports Programmes [APPS]), which now includes Canal+, Eurosport and other French broadcasters. The whole association greets the adoption of what it describes as an “innovative” piece of law, and wishes to thank the key role MPs such as Aurore Bergé, Céline Calvez and Cédric Roussel, as well as Senators such as Michel Savin, have been playing and will play in the fight against piracy in France.
“For too long, pirates have been given every advantage to continue their criminality,” asserts Yousef Al-Obaidly, CEO of beIN Media Group and President of beIN Sports France. “However this new legislation marks the start of the fightback, which couldn’t be more urgent given piracy is reaching the point of no return. For many programmes today, illegal viewing out-numbers legal viewing – which is truly shocking, especially when broadcast revenue supports the entire sports economy. beIN is doing everything in our power to reverse that trend, but we need every stakeholder in sports to follow our lead in taking zero tolerance.”
The move follows a high profile case where a French court ordered five defendants to pay €7 million in damages to beIN Sports France, Canal+ and RMC Sport, following piracy convictions. The damages award was one of the largest financial rulings issued by a French court.