Twitch facing Russian lawsuit over soccer streaming

| Dec 19, 2019 | Copyright Law

Twitch is a streaming service that is owned by Amazon. While it handles a lot of different types of content, it appears that soccer games have been streamed on the site — at least, that is what is being alleged in a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit originated in Russia, where a company called Rambler has the legal rights to run English Premier League soccer matches on its streaming platform. The Premier League is very popular, and Rambler paid $7 million to pick up those rights.

However, they now say that a lot of users went on Twitch instead, where the games were then illegally streamed. They claim there were around 36,000 different instances of these illegal streams and that each one constitutes copyright infringement. They’re now suing to the tune of almost $3 billion — 180 billion rubles.

Twitch has countered by pointing out that it is just a streaming service. The company did not post any content of its own, including the games. They also claim they cannot “change the content” that users opt to post and that they can’t track any such violations.

In short, Twitch says that they can’t be sued because they’re not streaming soccer games at all. They’re just giving users a streaming platform, and some of those users are opting to use it for soccer content. That may not be in line with what Rambler wants, but they claim they shouldn’t have to pay for what users decided to do on the site.

Cases like this are very interesting, as they help to define legal rights as technology evolves. It will be important to keep an eye on it going forward.