After the WTO published findings that Saudi Arabia had not acted sufficiently to stop the beoutQ piracy operation that ran from 2007 to 2019, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) announced initiatives to shut down 231 illicit piracy platforms and Web sites in the country. Piracy inspection campaigns and plans to enact rules to fine and jail pirates were also announced.
The 231 sites monitored by SAIP were found “downloading and watching movies and series, directly broadcasting sites of encrypted sports channels, downloading books in PDF format sites, downloading and listening to music sites and all been done without obtaining a prior license or authorization from the right holder. SAIP has also detected websites that are selling subscriptions for encrypted TV channels through softwares or illicit streaming devices (ISDs) to break barriers for the purpose of displaying materials in illegal ways.”
Coming out in support of fighting piracy, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) added to the chorus of support for efforts against piracy, saying that has “a responsibility to help fight piracy, and as a nation, we already have the rigorous governance framework to do just that.”
Why it matters
The WTO’s recent report that illegal streaming of streams and satellite feeds stolen from beIN Media by the pirate beoutQ was promoted by “Saudi nationals,” gave them no choice but to bring IP enforcement into compliance with international law. The proactive approach announced by the Saudis was really the only option.
Clearly this also is a move to place a Saudi investment fund in a better position to buy the Newcastle United football (soccer) club.
We’ll soon see whether the statements by the Saudi government’s and SAFF’s truly represent a change in tune. Truth will tell when piracy sites are shut down and the English Premier League and the management of Newcastle United feel sufficiently satisfied to allow its pending Saudi investment to go through.