Twitch Facing Ban In Russia As Part Of $3 Billion Lawsuit
The Amazon-owned streaming behemoth Twitch is facing a major lawsuit. According to a report from Kommersant (via VGC), Russian corporation Rambler is attempting to sue Twitch for 180 billion rubles (nearly $3 billion) and have the streaming platform blocked in Russia.
Rambler alleges that the suit is down to 36,000 case of Twitch users streaming English Premier League football matches. Rambler Group picked up the exclusive digital distribution rights to these matches in 2019 as part of a deal that reportedly cost the company around $7 million. The idea being, of course, that Russian fans wanting to watch these games would need to go through a Rambler-owned streaming platform.
It would seem that a number of fans instead opted to watch the Premier League games on Twitch. As a result, Rambler has requested that the Amazon-owned streaming platform be banned in Russia altogether. At first, at least. The company has since reportedly made a new demand that Twitch pay out 5 million rubles for each of the 36,000 instances of reported copyright infringement. However, the exact amount would be determined by the court.
A Twitch representative responded with a statement alleging that the service "only provides users with access to the platform, does not post its own content, cannot change the content posted by users, or track possible violations of rights."
The streaming giant also alleges that it took the necessary measures to stamp out any copyright violations, and that it removed a number of channels that were found to be in direct violation. This, despite Rambler failing to "send any official notifications - only screenshots of pages, and even those without specific dates", Twitch claims.
Rambler is reportedly in the process of holding talks with Twitch over a possible settlement deal ahead of December 20th, when The Moscow City Court will consider the claim of Rambler Internet Holding LLC against Twitch Interactive. Whether an amicable agreement is reached before then remains to be seen.
"Our suit against Twitch is to defend our exclusive rights to broadcast English Premier League matches and we will continue to actively combat pirate broadcasts," said Mikhail Gershkovich, head of Rambler Group's sports projects in a statement (via Reuters).
"We're currently holding talks with Twitch to sign a settlement agreement. The service has given us tools to combat pirate broadcasts and we are now only talking about compensation for damages between August and November."
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