Qatari pay-TV provider beIN on Monday launched a $1-billion compensation claim against Saudi broadcasters it accuses of flagrantly breaching international law by illegally showing hundreds of live sports programs.
At the same time the state of Qatar also launched an action at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, accusing the kingdom of violating intellectual property rights.
Both moves were announced in statements from the Doha-based sports broadcasting giant and Qatar’s ministry of economy and commerce, though it is unclear yet where the compensation claim will be heard.
It is the latest escalation in a long-running dispute over illegal broadcasts fuelled by a bitter and ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar has accused pirates in Saudi Arabia of industrial-scale piracy of its sports broadcasts, including this summer’s football World Cup, through one such channel called beoutQ illegally transmitting its broadcasts.
Riyadh denies the claim and says it has nothing to do with beoutQ.