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Illegal live broadcasting of World Cup prohibited by BIC

english.bjinternetcourt.gov.cn | Updated: 2023-04-03


Case summary

On the eve of the Qatar World Cup final, the plaintiff, a network company which was the exclusive copyright holder of the game's broadcasting in China, filed an preliminary injunction application at the Beijing Internet Court (BIC). The company found that a mobile app, operated by a Beijing-based company, had been providing a livestreaming service of the World Cup without authorization. The plaintiff requested the court to order the defendant to stop the infringement as soon as possible.

Considering the urgency of the matter, the BIC made the verdict and delivered it on the same day of receiving the request, ordering the defendant to stop the service immediately, which they did. 

Tips from the judge:

With the rapid development of the sports event economy, cases of sports event right holders requesting act preservation before or during litigation are increasing, as they seek prompt and efficient right remedy. In handling this case, the court adopted an active and prudent judicial approach, and made a timely decision to preserve the right holder's legitimate rights and interests in accordance with the law. An in-depth analysis of specific factors in the review of the application was provided, which could serve as a reference for the trial of similar cases. 

A scholar's perspective:

According to Wang Qian, professor from the East China University of Political Science and Law, this is a typical case of the people's courts accurately grasping the legislative spirit and making timely rulings of act preservation. The value of live broadcasting of sports games, such as the World Cup, lies in the suspense and the timing. The value for the finals is far more than that in the knockout and group stages. If the right holder gets the legal remedy after the final games, its losses would probably be too much to measure and compensate. The BIC's ruling in this case was prompt and decisive, which avoided potentially huge losses by the infringement, and protected the right holder's rights and interests to the largest extent.