Major Russian web portal Rambler Group has filed a copyright lawsuit in Moscow City Court against Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch over illegal broadcasts of English Premier League (EPL) football games.
The company demands a “halt to the distribution of pirated broadcasts” and a record 180 billion rubles ($2.87 billion) in compensation, according to Kommersant business daily. Rambler claims there were some 36,000 cases of illegally-streamed EPL games via Twitch.tv.
Rambler has bought the exclusive rights to broadcast EPL matches in Russia for a reported €7 million earlier this year.
A Moscow City Court spokesperson told TASS that the court has ordered a temporary suspension of EPL streams on Twitch as an interim measure of protection. The ban concerns the 2019-2022 seasons of the English Premier League, according to the spokesperson.
Twitch spokesperson Julianna Tabastaeva told Kommersant that initially Rambler only wanted Twitch streams to be blocked. She said Rambler’s lawsuit is unfair because the service “only provides users with access to the platform,” while the users themselves are responsible for the content they publish, which Twitch cannot change.
The lawsuit likely sets a record in Russia in terms of damages sought in online disputes, said intellectual property expert Anatoly Semyonov. Russia is the third-largest user of Twitch worldwide.
One of Russia’s biggest web portals, Rambler, was founded in 1996. It offers web search, email, news aggregation, e-commerce and other services to the Russian-speaking community globally. It is one of the subsidiaries of Rambler Media Group, which includes major Russian news and entertainment websites.
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