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    • 05.09.2023
    • By Alliance For Creativity & Entertainment
    Alliance For Creativity & Entertainment

    The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the world’s leading anti-piracy coalition, today announced the take-down of three commercial-scale piracy operations in Egypt that were illegally broadcasting live football matches and other content to audiences in the Middle East and North Africa. All three illegal piracy rings impacted ACE’s live sports tier members, DAZN and beIN SPORTS, as well as Shahid, a streaming service offered by MBC GROUP, also an ACE member.

    In synchronized arrests on August 28 and 29, the Egyptian police and the Egyptian Ministry of Internal Affairs took action against two operators of the ring of live sport, TV series and movie sites livehd7 and 3sktv in Kafr El-Sheikh, Egypt. The ring of sites was logging an average of nearly 18M visits monthly, with most of the traffic coming from Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Police noted that the operators grossed nearly 1M USD from their illegal activities.

    This operation follows two successful raids conducted earlier this year by the Egyptian authorities and demonstrates their continued commitment to combating digital piracy. In February, Egyptian police, in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Internal Affairs, took action against the operator of and five other domains in the region of Edkou, Egypt. The six domains combined averaged nearly 5.9 million monthly visits, with 2.3 million monthly unique visitors originating primarily from Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria.

    In a separate action in January, Egyptian police and the Egyptian Ministry of Internal Affairs arrested the operator of fal3arda near Giza, Egypt. The site had illegally broadcast FIFA 2022 Qatar World Cup games and other football matches from ACE member beIN SPORTS’ channels, among other sources. The raid resulted in the operator’s arrest and the seizure of multiple assets including more than 100,000 USD.

    The domains from all three actions are being transferred to ACE and will be redirected to the “Watch Legally” page of the ACE website.

    “The illegal broadcasting of live events poses a threat to our members, in particular to sports networks, which is why ACE considers targeting sports piracy a top priority,” said Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Global Content Protection Chief of the Motion Picture Association and Head of ACE. “I applaud the work of the Egyptian authorities in last week’s actions, during which they seized 54 infringing domains, as well as mobile phones, IT equipment and cash. These three takedowns represent a warning to illegal operators—if you engage in piracy and make money, law enforcement will confiscate the money and your assets, so it’s not a winning game. We will continue to identify and act against the illegal broadcasting of live sports matches and other content.”

    Cameron Andrews, Head of Anti-Piracy at beIN SPORTS added, “Pirate networks, including these shadowy streaming websites, are a huge problem for our industry. In the Middle East and North Africa alone, they have been costing beIN over a $1 billion USD a year and are threatening the viability of our business. It can be very difficult to identify and take action against these operators, and so we are very pleased to see these actions being taken.”

    “Taking down illegal streaming websites like protects consumers, preserves jobs, and sustains the economic viability and integrity of the live sports sector,” said Ed McCarthy, DAZN Group COO. “We are pleased that ACE’s task force has succeeded in removing which had been negatively impacting all content owners and putting consumers at considerable risk.”

    “ACE remains persistent in cracking down on piracy, collaborating closely with authorities to pinpoint unlawful operators in the MENA region. This wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of the Egyptian authorities involved, who work diligently to prevent illegal content sharing, and we are grateful to both,” said Natasha Matos-Hemingway, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer at Shahid, a leading Arabic streaming platform by MBC GROUP. “It’s no secret that piracy results in tremendous losses, not only for broadcasters, but for production companies and emerging content creators as well. As MBC GROUP, we remain aligned with ACE in its ongoing mission to protect the intellectual property rights of our creators. We are grateful to Alliance for their great work throughout the year, and we look forward to continuing to fight content piracy together.”

    This article was first published on ACE