Back in the early days of YouTube when there were fewer algorithms policing content, Viacom sued the company for participating in copyright infringement. Now, Twitch is facing a similar situation, with the live-streaming platform being sued over pirate broadcasts of Premier League matches.
The case is being levied against Twitch by Rambler Group, which seeks £2.1 billion in damages over pirate streams of football matches, which were views more than 36,000 times. Rambler Group owns the exclusive broadcasting rights for these Premier League matches in Russia. Aside from a big payout, the company also wants Twitch to be banned in Russia.
Twitch itself was acquired for roughly $1 billion by Amazon, which seems to have put a bigger target on the streaming site. Currently, Russia is the third-largest audience on Twitch, with more than 15 million users per day.
Mikhail Gershkovich, head of Rambler Group’s sports division, has said that the lawsuit against Twitch is “to defend our exclusive rights to broadcast English Premier League matches”. Amazon itself also has exclusive rights to stream a number of Premier League matches here in the UK over the next few years.
As reported by the BBC, one Twitch lawyer has labelled Rambler Group’s claims as “unfounded”, so we’ll have to wait and see what other arguments come into play and which side a judge ultimately ends up agreeing with.
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KitGuru Says: Copyright infringement lawsuits are thrown around regularly but this is the first multi-billion pound lawsuit we’ve seen levied against Twitch so far. It is true that piracy streams have taken place on the platform, but Twitch also takes precautions to shutdown illegal streams swiftly, which should help defensive arguments.