Back in 2016, Twitch announced that it was taking legal action against seven of the most active sellers of view bots, software used to make Twitch channels look as though they have more viewers, followers and fans in chat than they actually do. Now a US court has ruled in Twitch’s favour.
According to court documents filed on January 22, a California judge has ordered bot makers Michael and Katherine Anjomi to permanently shut down their software and pay Twitch a total of $US1,371,139 ($1,710,266). $US55,000 ($68,603) of the sum accounts for damages, while the remaining $US1,316,139 ($1,641,662) is the profits they made off their illicit business.
The judge ruled in Twitch’s favour on the grounds of trademark infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract, and violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
The Anjomis ran sites with names such as shoptwitch.com, twitchshop.com and twitchstreams.org, which claimed they could provide streamers with fake viewers for up to $US760 ($948) per month, according to the BBC. In its case, Twitch argued that this made it unfairly easy for streamers to earn money and clear the hurdle into Twitch’s prestigious Partner program, which gives streamers access to additional means of making money as well as better visibility on the platform and opportunities to work with brands.
Twitch claimed this all resulted in a deluge of shoddy content for its viewers. “Instead of engaging in interesting social interactions on Twitch chat, they may encounter bots spewing lists of random words.”
A court similarly ruled in Twitch’s favour last year in a case against the owner of another bot site called twitchstarter.com.