Sports media company DAZN has appealed to lawmakers in Italy to move forward on a new proposal that would curb online copyright infringement and other instances of piracy.
The proposal would require Internet service providers in Italy to block access to a website or online service that offers illegal access to copyrighted content, including live sports.
The urging comes as DAZN works to secure a five-year contract for telecast rights to Serie A matches, starting in 2024. DAZN is competing with Comcast’s Sky Italia and Netherlands-based Media For Europe (MFE) for the events.
Officials with Serie A said initial bids for the telecast contract did not meet its minimum of €1.2 billion (about $1.3 billion) per year, which means DAZN and other media groups hoping to get the rights to those matches will have to put in higher offers.
DAZN wants to ensure there are mechanisms in place to curb online piracy before committing that kind of money. This week, DAZN CEO Stefano Azzi sent a letter to Italian lawmakers noting that instances of online piracy had increased 26 percent between 2021 and 2022, citing data from the country’s anti-piracy organization FAPAV.
DAZN has taken a leading role in combatting online sports piracy in Europe and elsewhere. In May, the company joined the Alliance for Creatiity and Entertainment (ACE) and Qatar-based BeIN Sports in creating a new task force aimed at eliminating copyright infringement by online pirates.
“Intellectual property theft of live sports content is an industry issue, negatively impacting all sports and sports fans, and it needs a global concerted effort to meaningfully tackle it,” Shay Segev, the CEO of DAZN Group, said in a statement at the time. “ACE is the natural home for the Sports Piracy Task Force, given their track record, reputation, and experience in delivering effective programs of action.”
An independent study commissioned last year claims online sports piracy costs media rights holders more than $28 billion in lost revenue on an annual basis.