Arcom: 3 months old and already blocked 250 illegal sports websites

Arcom: 3 months old and already blocked 250 illegal sports websites

The Audiovisual and Digital Communications Regulatory Authority (Arcom) held its first conference on Tuesday, marking the first 100 days since its inception. On this occasion, Denis Rapone, former President of Hadopi from 2018 to 2021, who became an Arcom College Fellow in 2022, presented the first concrete achievements in the field of protecting the rights of online sports content, one of the new missions entrusted to Arcom.

In addition to a differentiated response system for cultural works, Arcom now has the means to crack down on illegal live sporting services. Three months after its creation, the regulator gives the first assessment of this device, “more than reassuring, effective,” Denis Rapone welcomed.

Let’s remember the context first. Sports piracy, which affects 3 million internet users every month, has been booming in recent years thanks to IPTV systems. During the past few months, event organizers (major sports federations, audiovisual broadcasters) have had the right to urgently sue and block websites illegally broadcasting sporting events. Then, based on these recommendations, Arcom implements a system that allows it to act in accordance with the judge’s decisions with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

100 days, 5 judgments, 250 blocked services

In fact, the decision of the referee may concern one or more sites that broadcast matches of sports competitions. “Arkom is authorized to order Internet providers to block illegal services that appeared after the decision of the judge and broadcast the same competitions through illegal offers,” explains Denis Rapone.

Five judgments have already been received since January. Denis Rapone clarifies that four of them were returned in favor of Canal + and Bein Sports regarding broadcasting of African Cup of Nations, Champions League and Top 14 matches. The fifth and final decision was received last month in favor of the Professional Football League (LFP), which has exclusive audiovisual rights to League 1 and League 2 Football.

In just three months, 250 services illegally broadcasting these sporting events were blocked. They represented 63% of the illegal sports audience, Denis Rapone clarifies.

In addition, the broadcasting of sporting events is characterized by “extreme speed” with which decisions must be made in order not to intervene too late after the referee’s whistle, emphasizes Denis Rapone. He believes that delays in blocking “sometimes came up within a few hours after contacting the copyright holders.”

Arcom wants to be even more responsive and efficient. “For us, the next step is to be able to support different players, both rights holders and ISPs, so that agreements can be made between them to automate procedures (…) to further increase speed and efficiency. “, – said Denis Rapone. The issue of the distribution of blocking costs between copyright holders and Internet providers is another issue that will need to be resolved, he assured, adding along the way that he has a “good hope” to reach agreements “in the coming months.”

Digital regulation is the mission of Arcom

These are the first concrete actions to put an end to the illegal broadcasting of sports broadcasts in France. However, Arcom has many other tasks, such as characterizing illegal sites for cultural content or fighting the proliferation of mirror sites, which is a real headache for the judges.

On Tuesday, Arcom, led by its conductor Rocha-Olivier Mestre, also discussed other challenges of digital regulation. As the presidential term approaches, the responsibility of social media is one of Arcom’s big battles.

According to Benoit Loutrel, an Arcom board member, regulators are concerned about “bringing” platforms out of “self-regulation.” The rate is considered “unreasonable”, which the authorities are trying to change. To do this, he intends to build on the body of law that has been formed in France in recent years to combat information manipulation and hatred on the Internet, among other things, as well as on two future European digital texts. and the Digital Markets Act.