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Russian firm sues Twitch for $3 billion over illegal Premier League soccer streams

If you want to watch soccer on Twitch, you better do it legally

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The third largest internet provider in Russia, Rambler Group, recently filed a suit against Amazon-owned Twitch for $3 billion (180 billion roubles). Rambler Group claims that Twitch breached Rambler Group’s exclusive broadcasting rights of Premiere League soccer matches numerous times since August, 2019.

According to a translation of Rambler Group’s accusations via the BBC — originating from the Russian website, Kommersant — Twitch breached Rambler Group’s exclusive streaming rights more than 36,000 times in 2019’s final months. Rambler Group seeks to ban Twitch entirely from Russia over the breach, as Rambler Group purchased exclusive English Premier League streaming rights for Russia earlier this year.

Twitch’s lawyer for the suit — Julianna Tabastaeva — told Kommersant that Twitch isn’t responsible. “[Twitch] only provides users with access to the platform and is unable to change the content posted by users, or track possible violations,” she said.

Twitch has not responded to Polygon’s request for comment.

Tabastaeva also told Kommersant that Twitch did everything it could to eliminate violations — despite never receiving an official notification from Rambler Group. In Twitch’s terms and conditions, streamers and viewers are prohibited from sharing content under strict copyright laws — including sports matches like the English Premier League. In fact, Twitch launched a lawsuit in June against anonymous users for illegally broadcasting porn and gory content on its platform. In a recent filing, Twitch’s lawyers said it had identified some of the anonymous users in that lawsuit.

In a public statement, a spokesperson for Rambler Group, Mikhail Gershkovich, defended the suit. “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 Gershkovich. Gershkovich also said the company is “currently holding talks with Twitch to sign a settlement agreement.”

A court in Moscow City will hear the case against Twitch on December 20, 2019.

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