A Qatari state-owned TV station has launched a $1-billion claim against Saudi Arabia for failing to tackle piracy. FIFA and the English Premier League have also taken action over illegal football broadcasts.
Qatar on Monday announced its decision to pursue proceedings at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Saudi Arabia for violating intellectual property rights stemming from sports broadcasting licences.
The economy ministry said that not only has Saudi Arabia blocked access to Qatari-owned broadcaster beIN, it has also failed to take action against illegal broadcaster beoutQ.
“As a result of the arbitrary and discriminatory measures implemented by Saudi Arabia — beIN has suffered damages in excess of $1 billion (860 million),” said beIN in a statement.
Qatari authorities accuse beoutQ of pirating beIN content and rebroadcasting it via the Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat.
Other broadcasters have also had their content stolen, including NBC Universal, Telemundo and Eleven Sports, according to beIN.
Since June 2017, Saudi Arabia and its allies have imposed an embargo on Qatar and cut diplomatic ties for allegedly supporting terrorism, an accusation Doha has strongly denied.
Qatar has been at the center of a Saudi-led embargo.
But Qatar isn’t the only one concerned. In July, world football governing body FIFA said it would take legal action against broadcasters pirating its content, especially beoutQ, which it called a “pirate entity.”
“FIFA urges the authorities of Saudi Arabia and of the different countries where these illegal activities have been observed to support us in the fight against piracy,” it said in a statement.
The English Premier League and tennis governing bodies have also launched legal proceedings against beoutQ for illegally broadcasting content.