back to article What do Nginx, Twitch... and the English Premier League have in common? Russians. It's always the Russians

Internet TV network Twitch, which lets anyone stream stuff from video games to programming, is being sued for allegedly illegally streaming English Premier League matches in Russia. Rambler Group, the Russian media giant that owns exclusive rights to show Premier League matches in the Putin-led nation, has filed suit for $2. …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    Wait a minute

    "all of which are stored on servers outside of Russia. No other products are developed within Russia."

    So let me get this straight : this is a Russian company, developing software in Russian for Russians, and they store all their builds on servers that are not in Russia ?

    Are they afraid that Putin is going to march in with a cohort of Stormtroopers and demand they hand over their code ?

    I get that you can store anything almost anywhere these days, but they say don't have a single line of code residing anywhere in Russia. That's weird.

    1. Ian Bush

      Re: Wait a minute

      "Weird" is not the word I would use. As they live in The People's Democratic Kleptocracy of Russia I would use either "sensible" or "brave", and I haven't decided which yet

      1. sbt Silver badge
        Devil

        In Russia, the government steals from you!

        I would use either "sensible" or "brave", and I haven't decided which yet

        Why not treat yourself and use both?

        1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

          Re: In Russia, the government steals from you!

          Why not treat yourself and use both?

          Sensibly brave, or bravely sensible?

      2. danya023

        Re: Wait a minute

        These days I'd say that the very idea of doing IT business in Russia is "brave" and not "sensible" at all, what with this and the nginx situation and whatnot.

        At this time I'm pretty much convinced that Rambler are pulling a sort of "get rich quick" scheme with this, and the reason is probably because they themselves are nearly bankrupt. Either that or they're going down and they're taking the entire Russian IT industry with them.

        If anyone's interested I've found a list of the lawsuits that they're currently in: https://www.mos-gorsud.ru/mgs/services/cases/first-civil?participant=%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%B1%D0%BB%D0%B5%D1%80 -- "Истец" is "Plaintiff" and "Ответчик" is "Defendant".

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Wait a minute

      "Are they afraid that Putin is going to march in with a cohort of Stormtroopers and demand they hand over their code ?"

      I think that is what Dobby already did.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait a minute

      "Are they afraid that Putin is going to march in with a cohort of Stormtroopers and demand they hand over their code ?"

      Putin?--no. But tough guys/cops/lawyers/tax officials working for some oligarch who is on the Putin administration's list of friends and benefactors? Yes, that can and does happen. If you are developing original IP/business in Russia and are not sure you are paid up with the right people, then I think keeping as much of that IP/business records outside of Russia as possible is a prudent step to take.

    4. iron Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Wait a minute

      > but they say don't have a single line of code residing anywhere in Russia.

      Except they don't. They say the master builds of those products are outside Russia and they don't develop anything else in Russia but that leaves lots of room for branches, forks, current dev copies, non-master builds, etc residing in Russia.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Wait a minute

      Nginx is open source software available and in use world-wide, I believe it is no the second most common webserver after Apache. It isn't only in Russian and it isn't only for Russian web hosters.

    6. phuzz Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Wait a minute

      "this is a Russian company, developing software in Russian for Russians"

      No, that quote is from F5, a (mostly) American company, producing software in English (and Russian) for people all over the world.

      Just go back and re-read the last paragraph again.

  2. tiggity Silver badge

    I get a bit bored

    Of all this do more to stop piracy.

    There's no easy way to check livestreams do not match a current live sport event, so all a company can do is wait for someone to report it.

    There are lots of false positives (and negatives) when trying to match known in advance (and "fingerprinted") content such as a Hollywood film, so no real chance to spot live, previously unknown content, TV streams

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I get a bit bored

      You can surely be aware of high-profile live streams and keep a look out for those hand-picked streams live. You can check the stream title/description and try to fingerprint and have some human operators checking suspect streams.

      You might not get them all but you can then argue you are trying. And I for example would quickly get bored if the stream I was following got canned every few minutes making me look for another one repeatedly.

      Heck you can even just have human operators trying to find the streams like normal 'punters' do - clearly these streams aren't hard to find. How many streams can one person take down in an hour - a lot?

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: I get a bit bored

        "Heck you can even just have human operators trying to find the streams like normal 'punters' do"

        Exactly this. If it was that hard to find the streams, then nobody would be watching them and this wouldn't be a problem.

        Sure, someone could set up a private forum and keep the links to a trusted group of friends, but that wouldn't make much of an impact and it's unlikely any of the companies involved would even notice.

        1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

          Re: I get a bit bored

          The hard part is doing this for all commercial streams, worldwide, and that's what is going to be demanded next. I know it, you know it, Twitch knows it.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: I get a bit bored

      "There's no easy way to check"

      So? This is exactly the problem with a lot of modern tech companies. It may well be the case that it's not easy to check and moderate user-posted content on your platform (or to background check your drivers, monitor room rentals, have your scooters comply with road laws, etc.). That does not mean you don't have to do it. You do not have the inherent right to make money from whatever zany scheme you've come up with. If it turns out that providing a streaming/social media/whatever platform is not profitable if you run it properly within the law, that is entirely your own problem.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: I get a bit bored

        Exactly. Too many of the IT startups think that the laws don't apply to them. They just plough on, knowing that they are acting illegally, but they don't worry about it until they get pulled up in court for it, then it is usually too late to implement a cost effective solution, because, instead of implementing what they knew they had to do from the start and scaling it up and knowing how much it costs and whether the system is ever going to be a money maker, they just cross their fingers and hope and nobody notices and that, once they are big enough, they are too big to fail.

    3. Joseba4242

      Re: I get a bit bored

      It's perfectly possible to match live streams with extremely low rate of false positives.

      Other major platforms (YouTube, Facebook) implement this; Twitch hasn't made the investment.

      You need to be careful what you match against though - for example remove ads in the reference stream.

    4. ibmalone Silver badge

      Am I correct in...

      Am I correct in thinking that the protections for live sports actually reside mostly in logo copyrights and trademarks? Could be an interesting application of GAN to strip that out live if so...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kleptocracy? Oligarchs?

    Coming to an ex-EU country near you soon - without scrutiny.

  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Trollface

    I've got a better idea...

    Why don't the premiere league live stream the stuff themselves?

    (stick with me here).

    Aim to get as many punters in a country as possible then kill the feed before it looks like a goal will scored. Rinse, wash and repeat to howls of anguish.

    Extra points if they record all the users viewing the streams then send appropriate enforcement types to send letters, legal action etc.

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