Advanced Television

beIN claims French anti-piracy success

January 26, 2022

By Colin Mann

beIN Sports France has landed a major blow in the fight against illegal theft of content, obtaining the first court decision requesting the blocking of fraudulent websites, previously identified by the channel.

As part of this decision and in compliance with the new Article L. 333-10 of the Sports Code, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) blocked the offending sites and addresses. Users of these platforms were thus unable to access illegal live broadcasts. Following this decision, France’s media regulator Arcom will now have the power to request ISPs to block any new site – identified as of the decision – that illegally retransmits live. This measure aims to reduce significantly the volume of fraudulent signals.

The decision, handed down by the Paris Court of Justice on January 20th, comes at a time when beIN Sports France is exclusively broadcasting the TotalEnergy Africa Cup of Nations, which has historically been highly pirated.

“beIN Sports welcomes the speed of the procedure and the diligence with which the blocking measures were put in place,” stated Caroline Guenneteau, Deputy General Secretary of beIN Media Gorup. “This first ever court decision is the culmination of years of work and fight against piracy led by beIN Media Group and beIN Sports France, in order to protect the intellectual property of broadcasters and rights holders, and to preserve the sports ecosystem. It is a concrete sign of the entry into force of the new legal mechanism aimed at simplifying and accelerating the blocking and inaccessibility of fraudulent sites and/or addresses broadcasting illegal content via streaming or IPTV. This major step in the history of the fight against piracy marks a symbolic turning point and gives a strong signal to all the players concerned. The objective from now on will be to determine, in consultation with all the stakeholders and Arcom, the modalities that will allow us to optimise, in the coming weeks, the timeframe for the application of blocking measures for identified sites and possible mirror sites.”

The ruling also comes after frequent warnings to the sport and broadcasting industry from beIN Media Group CEO Yousef Al-Obaidly, with the most recent one being at the Leaders in Sport conference held in Doha, Qatar in November 2021.

“In France, an anti-piracy study recently suggested 12 million French Internet consumers watch live sport illegally – that’s more consumers than Canal+ and beIN Sports, the two main broadcasters, combined,” he told delegates. “Separately, Synamedia Analysis released a report earlier this year calculating that rights-holders were missing out on $28.3 billion in revenue each year due to piracy. It is crazy how we have become immune to the scale of these statistics – just think about that figure:- what could sport do with $28 billion extra revenue in this Covid environment?!”

“Anti-piracy needs to be elevated from the backroom to the boardroom. CEOs of federations, leagues, clubs and broadcasters should be shouting about it from the roof-tops, and engaging their senior politicians on the same. Take ownership, this is not a remote problem. How possibly can sport grow when the biggest broadcasters are illegal IPTV? Let’s not wait until the point of no return – otherwise there will be no point in returning,” he declared.

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