Twitch sued for £2.1bn over Premier League by Russian firm

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Russia’s third-largest internet company is suing streaming service Twitch for 180bn roubles (£2.1bn) over pirate broadcasts of English Premier League games.

Rambler Group alleges its exclusive broadcasting rights were breached by the service more than 36,000 times between August and November.

It is seeking to permanently ban the Amazon-owned platform in Russia.

Twitch’s lawyer has called Rambler’s case “unfounded”.

Russia is the third-largest user of Twitch, which has more than 15 million daily active users worldwide.

Its terms and conditions state users cannot share content without permission from the copyright owners, including films, television programmes and sports matches.

The streaming giant’s lawyer, Julianna Tabastaeva, told Russian-language news website Kommersant Twitch “only provides users with access to the platform and is unable to change the content posted by users, or track possible violations”.

She added the company took “all necessary measures to eliminate the violations, despite not receiving any official notification from Rambler”.

The Moscow City Court will hear the case on 20 December.

It has ordered a temporary suspension of English Premier League streams on Twitch pending the outcome.

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“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 Mikhail Gershkovich, head of Rambler Group’s sports project, in a statement.

BBC News has contacted Amazon for comment.

Rambler bought exclusive digital distribution rights for the English Premier League in 2019, for three seasons.

It is holding talks with Twitch in the hope of reaching a settlement agreement.

Amazon holds the exclusive rights to a number of Premier League matches in the UK over the next three years.

The company bought Twitch for $970m (£585m) in 2014.