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UK MPs raise piracy concerns against beoutQ

BeoutQ, the allegedly Saudia Arabia-backed pirate TV network, has been slammed by members of the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee.

In a parliamentary session on May 10, Jeremy Wright QC, DCMS secretary of state, responded to a question from Giles Watling MP, confirming that a number of UK government departments are “pursuing this matter” and that “the [UK] embassy in Riyadh is speaking to the Saudis on this subject”.

BeoutQ has gained notoriety since its launch in 2017 for pirating hundreds of live sports events including the NFL SuperBowl, and English Premier League.

“If we want to see good quality sport, we have to make sure that people are able to protect those rights so they can carry on delivering it to us; and those that are seeking to undermine those rights of course undermine that process,” Wright continued.

“So that’s why we take an interest, it’s why we understand and sympathise with the concerns the Premier League and others have expressed and as I say there is activity underway.”

UK networks, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, have all seen their content pirated by the network.

The Chairman of the DCMS Committee, Mr Damian Collins MP, added to the discussion, saying that “the issue of beoutQ is straightforward piracy” and went on to question whether the Government was taking appropriate independent action by adding, “I’d be slightly concerned if our interest in this issue, and addressing it, is being balanced with other trade interests in the region”.  

The topic of beoutQ was first brought up in Parliament in April, with Alistair Carmichael MP, the former secretary of state for Scotland arguing that “[beoutQ’s] piracy is widespread across FIFA, UEFA, AFC, Premier League, LaLiga, and the Bundesliga; and the Government have got to work with intellectual property holders to protect sports. The Government have got to challenge their friends in Saudi Arabia and get them to take more action to protect the future of the sports and entertainment industries, and ensure that the football teams which we all love can continue to thrive.”

Yousef Al-Obaidly, CEO of beIN media group which has been one of the largest victims of beoutQ’s piracy in the Gulf region, said: “This latest development in the global fight against beoutQ is hugely significant, as it represents a critically important call from a Parliamentary Committee of MPs for the UK Government to intervene with the Saudi Government to stop the continued daily theft of valuable UK brands.”