The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) have signed a joint-work program with the General Commission for Audiovisual Media as the Kingdom attempts to tackle piracy.
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A SAIP press release notes that the governing body have carried out a number of inspection campaigns and have targeted electronic hardware stores, computer programs, websites and record stores who are in violation.
In June, the SAIP announced that they were shutting down 231 websites that streamed films, sports channels and music illegally and warned offenders they could face six months in prison and fines of more than £50,000.
That move was publicised just a few days after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that Saudi Arabia have not provided ‘criminal procedures and penalties’ to tackle pirate pay broadcaster beoutQ,
Remarkably, Saudi Arabia have since appealed that verdict and have also barred bein SPORTS, the Premier League’s official broadcasters in the Middle East, from being transmitted in the Kingdom.
So how does this relate to Newcastle United? In his letter of reply to Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, stated that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) walked away from their joint-bid with Amanda Staveley and the Reuben Brothers before any conclusions had to be made on disqualifying offences, such as intellectual property infringements.
Both sides acknowledge that establishing who was going to the club’s ultimate beneficial owner led to deadlock in the owners’ and directors’ test.
ChronicleLive previously revealed that the buyers offered assurances from the ‘highest possible level’ to try and establish that it was the PIF, rather than the government, who would be in charge.
However, given how the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is the chairman of the PIF as well as the country’s deputy prime minister, you can see how this proved a complicated issue.
If a breakthrough had somehow been reached, the Premier League, who previously asked the US government to keep Saudi Arabia on the priority watch list, because the governing body believed the country ‘remained a centre of piracy’, would have then had to establish whether the Kingdom’s links to piracy could be linked to the directors nominated.
Mehrdad Ghodoussi, who is PCP Capital Partners’ managing director and Staveley’s husband, sent a rare tweet earlier this month where he stated that piracy was ‘unacceptable and requires the support of governments’ before thanking the SAIP for their ‘continued efforts to stamp it out in Saudi Arabia’.
Both the consortium and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley remain committed to the deal but, clearly, there will have to be quite a bit of movement for it to successfully revived.
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