The creator of software designed to artificially inflate a streamer’s viewer count on Twitch has effectively had his business shuttered by a California judge’s ruling.
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Justin Johnson was one of seven developers who had created software through which streamers could purchase views and followers on Twitch. Twitch themselves brought the case against him and his co-defendants, alleging that the bots hurt the Twitch user experience and brand because they “make it harder for Twitch users to discover legitimate broadcasters and for those broadcasters to succeed.”
Johnson had also used the word ‘twitch’ in website domain names and social media handles promoting his bots, which Twitch claimed could trick users into assuming that they endorsed them. Twitch’s specific allegations included trademark infringement, fraud, unfair competition, cybersquatting, interference with contract and violations of two computer fraud and abuse acts.
US district judge Beth Labson Freeman sided with Twitch, ruling that Johnson must disable his services, refrain from advising others on how to create similar software, and hand his domain names and social media handles over to Twitch.
“Defendant will transfer the domain names twitchstarter.com and twitchstarter.tv to Twitch and will permanently disable the services previously offered at the websites associated with those domain names,” the order says. “Defendant will not attempt to re-register these domain names or register any other domain names that include the word ‘twitch’ or any confusingly similar word(s).”
Twitch's crackdown on bots continues: other defendants named in the suit have been served a second time by alternate means.