Twitch avoids Russia ban over pirated Premier League games

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A Russian watchdog no longer plans to block Twitch over a dispute concerning pirated Premier League football games, according to the country’s state media.

Tass reported telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor had dropped its threat after the Amazon-owned service removed the offending content.

The proposed ban had been prompted by a complaint from a firm that owns the local online rights to the matches.

Rambler had claimed 36,000 cases of copyright infringement.

A lawyer acting on Rambler’s behalf had said on Monday that it was suing the US firm for 180bn roubles (£2.1bn) in damages. But another spokesman for the company subsequently said that sum needed to be “clarified”.

On Wednesday, Twitch said that Rambler had withdrawn its claim and was no longer seeking any financial compensation.

“Twitch will continue to, as has always been the case, effectively and swiftly address any violation of its terms of service with the removal of unlicensed copyrighted content,” said a spokeswoman for Twitch.

“We look forward to working together with Rambler to achieve this. We remain focused on delivering quality content to our Russian audience.”

Russia is the third-largest user of Twitch. The platform’s focus is video games but it also offers other live video streams and pre-recorded content.

Rambler bought exclusive digital distribution rights for three seasons of the English Premier League from the Russian sports broadcaster Match-TV earlier this year.

Amazon has its own interest in restricting access to the Premier League since it recently bought exclusive rights to a number of matches for its own Prime Video service in the UK.