On December 7, 2022, the People’s Court of Pudong New Area, Shanghai Municipality (Shanghai Pudong Court) received an application for behavior preservation (preliminary injunction) from CCTV International Network Co., Ltd., the authorized broadcaster of the Qatar World Cup. The Court ruled within 24 hours after receiving the application and ordered Shenyang Panqiu Technology Co., Ltd. to immediately stop streaming the 2022 Qatar World Cup on the Panqiu Bar website it operated, and Shanghai Yuebao Information Technology Co., Ltd. to immediately stop setting a link on the Football Livestream website it operated to jump to the Qatar World Cup viewing page on the Panqiu Bar website.
CCTV International, the applicant, stated that it was authorized by FIFA to broadcast the 2022 Qatar World Cup program live, delayed, and on-demand via streaming, and to defend its rights. Since the opening of the Qatar World Cup, the applicant has continuously found that the “Live Soccer Network” operated by the respondent, Shanghai Yuebao Company, has set up a special popular live broadcast on the website. By clicking on the “Watch Live Broadcast”, the applicant can jump to “Panqiu Bar”, a pirate website operated by the respondent, Shenyang Panqiu Company, to watch the live broadcast of the World Cup. Both applicants set up special pages for the World Cup events, which constituted a joint infringement of copyright, with obvious malice. Therefore, the plaintiff requested the court to rule that the defendant, Shanghai Yuebao Company, immediately stop providing “Watch Live” services for the 2022 Qatar World Cup through the “Live Soccer Network” and stop providing such services as jumping to third-party infringing websites to watch the aforesaid tournament; and order Shenyang Panqiu Company to immediately ceased and ceased to provide live broadcasting services infringing upon the copyright of the 2022 Qatar World Cup soccer tournament through its website “Panqiu Bar.”
The Shanghai Pudong Court based its decision on four aspects: whether the application had a factual basis and legal basis, whether irreparable damage would be caused, whether significant imbalance of interests would occur, and whether public interests would be damaged.
The Shanghai Pudong Court held that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is an original audio-visual work. The applicant, CCTV International, has been legally authorized to disseminate the 2022 Qatar World Cup program through the Internet in the form of live broadcast, delayed broadcast and on-demand broadcast, as well as the right to sub-license, and has the right to protect its rights. The intellectual property rights it seeks to protect are stable. The respondent Shanghai Yuebao set up a “watch live broadcast” jump link for the World Cup on its “Live Soccer Network” and linked to the “World Cup” on the “Panqiu Bar” website operated by the respondent Shenyang Panqiu Company. The game live broadcast page provides the public with online viewing services of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in real time or in a delayed manner. The two respondents have a relatively high probability of infringement, and the claimant’s request for behavior preservation (injunction) has factual and legal basis.
Further, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has great social attention and influence, and the relevant event programs are highly time-sensitive popular programs with high economic value and can bring great economic benefits to the applicant. The accused conduct of the two respondents took place during the 2022 World Cup. Based on the judgment of the accused pattern of conduct, the two respondents may still use the same method to conduct online live broadcast of the World Cup in the future. If this behavior is not stopped in time, it may cause irreparable damage to the applicant’s competitive advantage and economic interests. The applicant’s behavior preservation application is not only aimed at the infringements that have occurred and are occurring, but also for the imminent infringement. The application is definite and the scope is appropriate. Therefore, the adoption of behavioral preservation measures will not cause significant imbalance of interests between the parties, and will not damage public interests.
The original announcement is available here (Chinese only).