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.
Copyright holders have repeatedly accused Rojadirecta of facilitating piracy because users share links to unauthorized broadcasts. This has landed the site in court on more than one occasion and also drew the attention of the US Department of Justice.
In 2011, Rojadirecta’s domain name was seized by U.S. authorities as part of “Operation in Our Sites.” While that would be the end of most linking platforms, Rojadirecta challenged the domain seizure with success. After eighteen months, the domain was returned.
In the years that followed legal trouble kept coming back, however. Today, the site is blocked in several countries including the UK, Denmark, and Uruguay. Perhaps even more worryingly is that on its home turf in Spain, a criminal trial is about to start.
The legal issues in Spain are far from new. Years ago the site won two lawsuits in Spain, which declared the site as operating legally under local law. However, in 2016 the tide started to turn. A local court ordered the site to stop linking to unauthorized streams and, around the same time, a criminal investigation was launched.
Rojadirecta’s operator was arrested soon after the investigation began. He was later released but the authorities didn’t let the case go. This week, a La Coruña court announced that the matter will go to trial as there is now sufficient evidence.
Potential Prison Sentences
Local news outlet Marca reports that the prosecution will seek a four-year prison sentence for Rojadirecta founder and operator Igor Seoane, who must post bail of four million euros. A trial date has yet to be scheduled.
In addition to the operator, the prosecution will also go after five accomplices who face potential prison sentences of between three months and two years. Naturally, a site shutdown is also on the line, if the defendants are found guilty of copyright infringement.
Spanish football league LaLiga and rights owner Mediapro are listed as victims in this case. They seek a six-year prison sentence for Seoane and more than six million euros in damages.
Blocked in Spain
It is worth noting that Rojadirecta already started blocking Spanish visitors years ago following the aforementioned blocking order. The site now receives most traffic from the US, Mexico, and Latin America, and remains up and running.
TorrentFreak reached out to Rojadirecta yesterday with a request for comment. The operator said that he was not in the position to comment immediately. If a response is received we will update the article accordingly.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.