UEFA is the international body that governs football throughout Europe.
The organization, which is part of FIFA, has the rights to several major competitions and tournaments including the European Championship, the Nations League, and the Champions League.
These events are good for billions of dollars in broadcasting rights. With these types of figures at stake, UEFA is also keeping a close eye on piracy. This job has become increasingly complex, with newer forms of piracy including live streaming taking off in recent years.
In the past, we have covered some of UEFA’s anti-piracy efforts. For example, the organization obtained site and service blocking orders in the UK. In addition, it cracked down on pirate streams directly and even sent pre-piracy warnings to some sites.
UEFA Seeks New Anti-Piracy Partner
UEFA doesn’t do this alone. The organization enlists experts to help it protect its content and for the upcoming years, is looking for a new partner. In a request for proposals, published yesterday, UEFA invites anti-piracy experts to respond to a new tender that covers the upcoming years up to and including EURO 2024.
This period covers all the major UEFA events and competitions that are frequently pirated. The task of the prospective anti-piracy partner is to ‘minimize’ piracy where possible while striking a balance between effectiveness and cost. The tender shows that EUFA is concerned with both live and non-live piracy.
Targeting Live Piracy
Targeting live piracy includes real-time monitoring. In response, the anti-piracy partner will have to send takedown notices, issue cease-and-desist letters, and use other takedown tools.
These live takedowns should rely on fingerprinting. This will not just speed up the recognition of content but it will also avoid false positives where possible. False positives should also be avoided by using whitelists of approved broadcasters, UEFA notes.
“To enhance the speed and effectiveness of matching performance and to avoid any ‘false positives’, the relevant Bidder(s) shall be expected to operate a content verification system (e.g. fingerprinting) to guarantee that the identified content is UEFA material,” UEFA explains.
The live piracy ecosystem goes further than just individual streams. It also covers illegal apps, which must be removed from various marketplaces, piracy-enabled open-source media players, blocking orders that need to be updated, as well as illegal IPTV services.
Concerning IPTV, UEFA requires the bidders to sign up with pirate IPTV services at their own cost. These services should be closely monitored to gather evidence and intelligence. Any further actions with regard to these services should be coordinated in cooperation with the football body.
Non-Live Piracy is Addressed As Well
When it comes to non-live piracy there are similar requirements. Here, takedown notices and cease-and-desist letters have to be sent, and there’s a strong focus on illegal piracy apps as well.
In addition, the anti-piracy partner will have to ensure that unauthorized UEFA content is not available through popular search engines.
While targeting piracy directly is important, the proposed services of the anti-piracy partner go beyond that as well. The prospective partner will also assist in legal action by gathering evidence, providing witness statements, and assisting in police actions.
Support for Lobbying Efforts
Similarly, the company’s expertise will also be used to assist in UEFA’s lobbying efforts going forward.
“Supporting UEFA in any lobbying or corporate communication initiatives UEFA may wish to undertake in respect of the relevant form(s) of Internet Piracy including, for example, by collating supporting evidence, preparing presentations etc,” UEFA writes.
A copy of the full request for proposals is available here. The deadline ends early September after which UEFA will analyze the bids and invite several bidders to provide further information. This process may also include multiple rounds of anti-piracy tests and demonstrations.