A letter signed by 108 signatories that include the largest broadcasters, sports organizations and associations for live performers demands that the European Union (EU) takes a stronger stance against what has become rampant piracy of live events. According to a 2021 report, broadcasters and organizers lose 28 billion Euro (US $27.8 billion) annually.
Other signatories include the Premier League, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the International Cricket Council (ICC), Six Nations Championship (rugby), beIN Sports live broadcaster and the French Open.
The letter urges the EU to take faster action to remove illegal live streams. The group believes that they’re currently slow to respond, taking streams down after the event has ended and the economic damage has been done, taking money away from the economy and putting it in the hands of criminals.
This request comes at a time when many fear that cost-of-living increases will encourage greater piracy, as live event consumers have difficulty paying for television and platform subscriptions. New law proposals by the European Commission have a brief window of opportunity, before the 2024 elections.
The EU recently established new rules, called the Digital Services Act, to stop illegal content that includes pirated videos. However, sports federations and broadcasters don’t believe this goes far enough. Meanwhile, the European Parliament has requested the Commission to create a law that forces hosting firms to immediately remove illegal streams within 30 minutes of notification.
According to the letter’s signers, they send out countless infringement notices to hosting services and ISPs each year, but the online companies either react too slowly or ignore the notices completely. They argue that most of the sport’s value is when it is airing live, so piracy must be addressed during this time. Chairman of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition. Otherwise, it is an “existential threat” to their industry.
EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, told European lawmakers that they planned to present new laws to address piracy of live sports streams on October 18.