The hugely popular sports streaming and download site Rojadirecta has been declared legal by a Spanish court. The appeal of sports rights holder Audiovisual Sport has been dismissed, putting an end to a legal battle that started three years ago. The site continues to operate without having to face the threat of being shut down.
Rojadirecta describes itself as one of the world’s major Internet sports broadcast indexes. The site links to many soccer matches plus other sporting events including NBA, MLB, NFL, NPB, IPL.
The site has been operating since 2005, much to the dismay of various sports organizations who own the rights to the broadcasts. In 2007 this eventually led to legal action when Rojadirecta was reported for copyright infringement by sports rights holder Audiovisual Sport.
The company, a subsidiary of Spanish communications group PRISA (which owns Canal+, SportMania, various satellite channels, radio stations and newspapers), accused Rojadirecta of facilitating copyright infringement on various sports broadcasts by providing access to them via the Internet.
Similar to BitTorrent sites, Rojadirecta doesn’t host any copyrighted material. Instead, it indexes HTTP links to sports streams that can already be found on the Internet, and also carries links to .torrent files which are hosted on other sites.
The case of Audiovisual Sport against Rojadirecta went to court last year where the Madrid District Court agreed to provisionally dismiss the complaint of the copyright holder. The Court came to this decision after the claims made by Audiovisual Sport against the sports index were undermined by expert police evidence.
The Court further stated that Rojadirecta merely offered links to software and links that enabled users to watch the events. Even though the site carried advertising, no profits were made directly from any infringement. Previously, BitTorrent sites have been declared legal in Spain for similar reasons.
Audiovisual Sport was disappointed with the decision and filed for an appeal while Rojadirecta remained online. The appeal of the case has now been concluded. The Madrid Provincial Criminal Court sided with the earlier decision of the District Court and concluded that Rojadirecta is a legal operation.
This also concludes the legal proceedings as the case can no longer be appealed. TorrentFreak caught up with the admin of Rojadirecta who is obviously very happy with the outcome now the future of his site is secured.
“Of course we are in agreement with the verdict and with most of the legal reasoning. We neither host nor broadcast any audiovisual content, we are a sports streams index,” he told us.
“We were confident from the beginning and that is why we have never removed any links to sports events since we started our services in 2005. We have never given in to the continuous legal threats by companies from countries such as the US, UK, Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Netherlands… not even with a criminal accusation.”
Many of the site’s users have responded with relief upon hearing the good news. They can now be certain that all major sporting events (including the upcoming FIFA Soccer World Cup) will still be available at Rojadirecta.