Most of the websites operated between 2018 and 2021, attracting millions of views.
beIN Media Group and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) confirmed the shutting down of nine new piracy websites in Egypt on Thursday.
Two operators were also arrested as part of the operation, the Qatar-based group announced in a press release, noting a total of 16 police officers were involved.
The closure of the websites and subsequent arrests were conducted with the help of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior as part of a wider crackdown on content theft.
A number of domains, assets, and IT equipment were seized.
“This is another victory for sports fans, players and clubs of all levels across the sporting ecosystem. beIN is determined to support the fight against broadcast piracy throughout the region to protect leagues and fellow broadcasters,” said a beIN spokesperson.
In June, the media group and ACE detected 18 piracy operations, raising the total of illegal site closures to 27. During the same month, four new piracy websites based in Cairo were shut down and three operators involved in the crime were detained.
The previous four websites collectively attracted more than 1.8 million users from Egypt and 4.8 million others from across the world in May alone. Since the start of the year, the websites garnered 9 million users in Egypt and 24 million others globally.
The nine websites shut down in the latest operation are: yalla-shoot.today; yalla-shoot-kora.com; yalla-shoot-arabia.com; yalla-shoot-arabia.net; hdkoora.com; kooora4k.com; korawatch.com; kooralive-online.com; and alqnassport.com.
Most of those websites were operating between 2018 and 2021, attracting millions of views worldwide.
The most popular live football website out of the nine is yalla-shoot.today, active since December 2018. The illegal platform gathered 125 million visits in the last two years and slightly more than five million monthly visits.
According to beIN, the websites reached 166 million viewers in the MENA region and the US over the past two years.
beIN and ACE announced a partnership in April this year in an effort to combat the growing threat of piracy operations that target sports broadcasters. Founded in 2017, ACE is one of the world’s leading media technology companies that combat online piracy.
According to the Global Innovation Policy Center, piracy costs an annual loss of as much as $71 billion annually in domestic revenues.
Egypt was among four countries in the region – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – that imposed an illegal land, sea, and air blockade on Qatar in June 2017.
Following the blockade, Saudi Arabia banned the Qatari sports broadcasting giant, an action that was followed by the emergence of a Saudi piracy outlet called ‘beoutQ’ – a pirate bay television broadcaster that primarily simulcasted beIN Sports programmes.
However, the 10-channel piracy entity only survived for two years.
In June 2020, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that Saudi Arabia had breached its obligations under the organisation’s Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS Agreement”) by refusing to take legal action against the Riyadh-linked pirate broadcaster “beoutQ”.
The WTO also found the Saudi government guilty of engaging “in the promotion of public gatherings with screenings of beoutQ’s unauthorised broadcasts, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
However, tensions came to a head in 2021 with Doha and the quartet signed the Al Ula Agreement to restore diplomatic and trade ties, effectively ending a major regional crisis.