Calls for EU crackdown against pirate TV service

Sky and the BBC have demanded that the European Commission take legal action against a Saudi Arabian pirate TV and streaming service that gives UK viewers access to premium content from their networks illegally.

The network BeoutQ offers illegal access to Premier League football and a variety of Sky and the BBC’s most popular shows including Game of Thrones, Killing Eve and The Bodyguard.

The service has expanded rapidly from a Saudi only streaming website to an international piracy operation that entered the public eye this summer when they illegally showed every World Cup match.

The BeoutQ service is transmitted internationally on 10 channels by the Saudi-headquartered satellite firm Arabsat, which counts the Saudi state as its largest shareholder, and also offers streaming.

The UK networks have now penned letters to the European Commissioner for Trade, Anna Malmstrom backing the formal EU protest to the Saudi government.

According to The Guardian, the BBC’s letter highlights the impact the illegal services will have on subscriptions to these services, it says: “The availability of the BBC channels and content via BeoutQ’s pirate activity will adversely impact BBC Studios’ ability to license these channels to partners throughout Europe and also the ability of our European partners to sell subscriptions to their television services.”

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC group is committed to combating piracy of its channels and content worldwide and actively work with our media partners in fighting against piracy.”

Sky have also thrown their weight behind the upcoming protest, in their letter they highlighted the damage that the rapidly growing pirate service BeoutQ would cause to European broadcasters.

BeoutQ currently embroiled in legal action against another television network, Qatar based BeIN Media Group has filed a $1bn dollar lawsuit over their illegal coverage of high profile sports content including the Premier League, Champions League and NBA, which beIN sports hold the legal rights to.

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