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Thu 31 May 2018 10:13 AM

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Oman bans pirate decoders ahead of FIFA World Cup

Omani official said the decoders, called beoutQ, were banned because they violate its law on intellectual property

Oman bans pirate decoders ahead of FIFA World Cup

Oman has banned the import of decoders that would allow viewers to watch pirated versions of World Cup matches transmitted by broadcaster BeIN Media, an Omani official said Wednesday.

"The import of these decoders, called beoutQ, was banned because they violate the law on intellectual property," said the official on condition of anonymity.

The move comes amid an increasing war of words over broadcast piracy in the region, ahead of the World Cup which begins on June 14, and against a backdrop of a Gulf diplomatic crisis.

BeIN Media has called on football's governing body, FIFA, to take legal action against what it called pirate broadcasters in Saudi Arabia ahead of next month's tournament.

BeIN claims its expensively purchased broadcast rights for major sporting events in the region are being undermined by pirate broadcasters operating out of Saudi Arabia.

A sophisticated Saudi bootlegging network known as "beoutQ" - using a signal from Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat - had been illegally transmitting its broadcasts, BeIN claims.

Sources in Oman said BeIN has sent requests to several countries asking them to ban "beoutQ" decoders.

Earlier this week, BeIN called for FIFA's intervention.

FIFA said it takes "violations of its intellectual property very seriously".

BeIN plans to show all 64 World Cup matches in the Middle East and in North Africa.

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