The Paris Court of Justice granted a request by beIN Sports France to block about twenty fraudulent Web sites from illegally carrying broadcasts of the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament, for which beIN Sports has exclusive distribution rights. Piracy of this event has been commonplace.
It was the first court order made under new regulations passed in October 2021, and empowered the new French regulator ARCOM to request blockages of any Web site that redistributes stolen live programming for up to one year (under French Sports code Article L.333-10). Blocking requests can also apply to outside hosting and mirror sites (under Article L. 331-27 of French Intellectual Property Code). Infringing sites can also be blacklisted (under Article L. 331-25).
Caroline Guenneteau, deputy general secretary of beIN Media Group, congratulated the Court: “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.
Read the press release: beIN France Obtains the Blocking of Fraudulent Sites (beIN Media, auto-translated from French to English by Google Translate)
ARCOM was created in 2021 and launched in January 2022, combining the former High Authority for the Dissemination of Works and Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) with the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA)
Bckground details about how French law protecting sports broadcast got to this point were published by Chambers and Partners in 2021.
Why it matters
“This major step in the fight against piracy marks a symbolic turning point and sends a strong signal to all the players concerned,” continued beIN Media’s Guenneteau. “The objective now will be to determine, in consultation with all the stakeholders and Arcom, the methods allowing us to optimize, from the coming weeks, the deadlines for applying the measures to block the sites identified and any mirror sites.”
Nothing has been said about arrests or penalties in this particular case, but details are likely to be forthcoming.
beIN Sports and other sports broadcasters have long been victimized by piracy. beIN Media itself of course had been embroiled in the beoutQ piracy case for years, which seems to have become resolved just in the past month.