A report out of Russian-based Kommersant this morning revealed that the Rambler Group is suing Twitch for a record 180 billion rubles. At current exchange rates, the lawsuit equates to roughly $2.9 billion.
Rambler, which is no stranger to recent copyright clashes, is hoping to recover lost revenue from pirated English Premier League streams.
The company has exclusive rights to all EPL games in the Trans-Siberian nation and claims it has uncovered over 36,000 cases of copyright infringement.
The Moscow City Court will mediate a case hearing on December the 20th. According to comments from sports project manager Mikhael Gershkovic, the Rambler Group is also pursuing a nationwide block of the world’s most popular streaming service.
Ms. Tabastaeva, a spokeswoman for Twitch argues that:
[Twitch] 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.
She further confirmed that a temporary banning of EPL broadcasts is in place until Friday. Russian users make up about 7% of Twitch’s global audience placing it in an influential third position.
A number of Russian entrepreneurs have since claimed that if the lawsuit isn’t thrown out, other popular platforms like YouTube will likely be next on the chopping block.
The announcement is yet another blow for Twitch which is already taking strain thanks to its biggest streamers fleeing the platform over restrictive contracts. Not all are joining the exodus, though. At least not yet. Last week the company renewed partnerships with three of its biggest celebrities.
Moderators nevertheless now find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Too much censorship and streamers flee. Not enough and entire governments may come a-knocking.
An updated report from Kommersant indicates that the Rambler Group is willing to sign a settlement agreement. The update has not gone unnoticed from suspicious conspiracy theorists via Reddit.
They argue that the lawsuit is nothing other than a smokescreen for the government to promote local services instead. Either that or it’s just another modern-day money grab:
That sounds about right but honestly it is more probable that Rambler (or, rather, it’s current owner) is desperate for the money.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:40 PM UTC