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Qatar 2022: Is it a crime to watch the World Cup matches on websites that do not have the rights?

With the Qatar 2022 World Cup also comes the “need” to watch all the games. Currently, public television in Peru does not have the rights to broadcast each and every one of them, so users choose to use websites that retransmit them illegally, but for free. Are we committing a cybercrime by using these websites?

We must understand that the World Cup is an event that can only be broadcast by purchasing the rights from FIFA. That is to say, it is not a public event, since the same sports entity that organizes it is private. Even the teams that participate are part of a private entity, such as the FPF, for example. Therefore, despite what we might think, The transmission of the World Cup is not something free and free for any medium.

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Is watching the World Cup matches through web pages that broadcast live a cybercrime?

According to Juan Mario Peña Flores, a lawyer specializing in criminal law and founding partner of Estudio Peña Abogados, we do not commit any type of cybercrime just by watching these games. “I would not be committing a criminal offensesince the norm penalizes the obtaining of computer programs, whenever there is a violation of the security measures that have been established to prevent it.”, he assures in an interview with Trade.

Namely, only if we force our access to any platform would it mean that we are committing a cybercrime. For example, if we hack an account with access to this type of content or if we attack a web page that legally transmits this event. In addition, using this type of website not only encourages digital piracy, but it could also mean a danger to our cybersecurity, since you do not know where these links redirect us.

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However, if we were behind a website that broadcasts content, we would be committing a cybercrime. “It is illegal and violates intellectual property. In our country, Indecopi, in May 2021, blocked access to different websitesadds Peña Flores.

Article 39 of Legislative Decree 822 indicates the following: “No authority or natural or legal person may authorize the use of a work or any other production protected by this Law, or provide support for said use, if the user does not have the prior written authorization of the owner of the respective right., except in exceptional cases provided by law. In case of non-compliance, you will be jointly and severally liable”.

Committing this type of offense would even mean jail. “In our penal norm, in its article N° 217, the emission or transmission of radio broadcasting with a penalty of not less than 2 nor more than 6 years and with a 30 to 90 day fine”, indicates the expert.

Although the use of these web pages that retransmit content illegally is not sanctioned, it does encourage digital piracy. (Pixabay/)

Why aren’t access to these web pages that retransmit content illegally closed or blocked?

There is a difference between “close” and “block access” to these websites.. The first would mean that a judge determines that the creators are committing an attack against intellectual property / copyright, while the other would simply be an order towards the internet providers.

It is not so easy to generate a closure of a web page for the Peruvian authorities. Thus, Indecopi, the entity in charge of ensuring intellectual property, has begun to use the blocks to prevent these websites from continuing to infringe copyright.

Indecopi has already ordered the blocking of web pages that were used for the transmission of sporting events illegally and which were called ‘Fútbol Hoy’, ‘Tele Gratis’, ‘Roja Directa TV’, ‘Tarjeta Roja TV Online’ and ‘Televisa Gratis HD’”, indicates Peña Flores.

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As mentioned before, these websites were blocked in May 2021, which was a milestone as It was the first time that an authority in Latin America blocked access to 17 web pages that allowed content to be downloaded, or that illegally broadcast sporting events..

To this was added 147 web pages blocked in July 2022. A great leap for INDECOPI, since this measure had been preparing since before the confinement by COVID-19. “This important group of 147 websites is a work of more or less two years, which began before the pandemic.. High-impact sites where there was a greater number of users entering”, pointed out Fausto Vienrich, director of Copyright of INDECOPI, to Trade at that time.

Fighting digital piracy can be very difficult, as these websites often change addresses constantly to avoid legal problems with each country. For example, if one of them ended in ‘.nz’ before, the next day it could end in ‘.pe’. This would mean that the authorities would have to monitor thousands and thousands of web pages, practically every day.

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Likewise, there are also “duplicates”, where two web pages with the same name coexist, but with different addresses. For example, one of the best known cases is Cuevana. This website was created in Argentina and is currently blocked in Peru. However, there is Cuevana, Cuevana3, Cuevana Storm, etc. That is, it is no longer a single web page, but several existing at the same time.

Therefore, it is not so simple to block access to each page. To this is added that not all of them host the content, but only redirect: the so-called ‘linking’. Also, our authorities cannot simply order a blockade arbitrarilybecause these websites must have a great arrival in Peru, which means important research to do so.

Source: Elcomercio

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