Earlier this week, news surfaced, which revealed Twitch, a widely popular streaming platform is being sued by a major Russian media company - Rambler, who are seeking over US $ 2.8 billion in damages following a violation of exclusive distributing rights.
Twitch, a juggernaut in the streaming industry, has made headlines once more this weekend, but for all the wrong reasons. While most news surrounding Twitch nowadays are directly connected with their ongoing battle with Mixer and the departure of some of their biggest streamers over to the Microsoft-owned streaming platform, Twitch has now found themselves in a predicament, which could reportedly cost them upwards to $2.8 billion.
Known for housing some of the biggest content creators and internet personalities in the world, Twitch has expanded their service and coverage of late to include broadcasts of sporting events. Unfortunately, that move has gotten out of the hands and caused their most recent incident, which involved a violation of exclusive distribution rights in Russia.
As reported, Rambler Group bought exclusive digital distribution rights for the English Premier League in 2019, for $7.8 million, which ultimately means that any Russian football fan who wishes to watch English football matches has to do so through Rambler-owned streaming platform. That alone did not cause any issues until the controversy ensued when several Twitch streamers started to broadcast English Premier League matches in Russia, which directly violated the exclusive rights of the Rambler Group.
As evidence for their claims, Rambler provided screenshots of over 36,000 viewers tuning into various streams, which lead to a claim of the copyright infringement that could cost Twitch a pretty penny.
The reports show that initially, Rambler demanded Twitch be banned from Russia entirely, thus preventing any Russian residents to have access to the streaming platform altogether. However, Rambler's secondary demand was for Twitch to pay a maximum fine for each of the 36,000 viewers. The total fine would equate to 180.345 billion Russian roubles or approximately $2.84 Billion in total, with approximately five million roubles (~$80,100) per each viewer.
As it stands now, there are no news whether Rambler and Twitch reached an agreement, however, the streaming giant already made their first step towards addressing the issue by removing a number of channels that were involved in the violation. All streamers, who have been caught broadcasting the content in question on their channels received a permanent ban from the platform.
Despite Twitch's ambitions to penalise the streamers and avoid further violations, Rambler is still seeking compensation for the damage which has already been done and we can expect the Russian media group to take further action to prevent another such incident in the future with establishing boundaries in the region.
The dispute between Twitch and Rambler has been delayed for a total of four times already, with the fifth hearing set to take place on Friday, December 20, where the two sides will look to find a mutual agreement. Whether the issue will be resolved by the end of this week remains to be seen, nor do we know whether Twitch will be ready to compensate Rambler for billions of dollars in damage, but one thing is for sure - Twitch's lawyers have had their hands full of work recently, seeing how Twitch is already fighting a court war with their former streamer and a notorious internet personality - James "Phantoml0rd" Varga, who is suing Twitch for damages caused by his supposedly wrongful ban from the platform.