Founded more than 16 years ago, Rojadirecta is one of the oldest and most popular linking sites for sports streaming events.
The site, which is operated by the Spanish company Puerto 80 Projects, has built a loyal user base over the years. At the same time, it has fought quite a few legal battles too.
The Spanish site famously challenged a domain seizure by the U.S. Government, with success. On its home turf, there have been some victories in court as well but, in recent years, the tide has turned.
Rojadirecta Blocked and Outlawed
Today, Rojadirecta is outlawed in Spain despite repeated appeals. In several other countries including the UK, Denmark, and Uruguay, internet service providers have been ordered to block the site.
After being outlawed in Spain, Rojadirecta was also taken to court in Italy by local media giant Mediaset (RTI). Italy’s largest broadcaster argued that the streaming portal facilitates mass infringement of several sports events, causing substantial damages to rightsholders.
The case in question was presented to the Court of Rome which reached a verdict last week. According to the court, Rojadirecta bears full responsibility for the pirating activities that take place through its site, even though the streaming activity doesn’t take place on the site itself.
Damages Award: €529,579.50
To compensate Mediaset for the damages it suffered, the court reportedly ordered Rojadirecta to pay €529,579.50 in compensation. In addition, the streaming portal must pay €24,786.00 to cover accrued interest and legal fees.
Mediaset’s attorney Alessandro La Rosa informs us that the case resolved around infringements of football matches of the Italian Serie A and the UEFA Champions League. The Court of Rome confirmed, based on EU jurisprudence, that links to third-party portals can be sufficient to invoke liability.
TorrentFreak reached out to Rojadirecta founder and operator Igor Seoane, who prefers not to comment on the matter. In the past Rojadirecta has appealed similar verdicts so it’s possible the same will happen here.
The information reported above all comes directly from Mediaset. However, a source who’s familiar with the defense informs us that the verdict doesn’t only bring good news for the Italian broadcaster.
The Court of Rome did not grant the trademark infringement and unfair competition claims, for example. In addition, the damages are much lower than the €29 million euro Mediaset presumably requested in court. These details are not mentioned in Mediaset’s press release.
If we receive a copy of the full verdict we will update the article accordingly. There is no denying, however, that the legal landscape is shifting against Rojadirecta’s interests.
Years ago the site won two lawsuits in Spain, which declared the site as operating legally under local law. More recent court decisions are unfavorable and there could be more trouble ahead.
In addition to the civil lawsuits, Rojadirecta’s operator was previously arrested on suspicion of illegal activities. Following an in-depth investigation, the Spanish authorities announced a criminal prosecution which could see Seoane facing a multi-year prison sentence, as well as millions of dollars in damages.
Update: This article was updated to include additional information provided by Mediaset attorney Alessandro La Rosa. The attorney was not able to share the verdict but shared several excerpts that confirm the earlier reporting.