Twitch has decided to take legal action against multiple users over allegedly flooding the Artifact, Valve’s under performing card game, category on their platform with explicit content. In a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California, Twitch is suing “John and Jane Does 1-100” for trademark infringement, breach of contract, trespass, and fraud over posting things such as “a video of the March 2019 Christchurch mosque attack, hard core pornography, copyrighted movies and television shows, and racist and misogynistic videos.”
According to the lawsuit, the first of these incidents occurred “on or about May 25, 2019.” By this point in time the Artifact category was dwindling in popularity, so these users took advantage of this and began to allegedly upload this explicit content under this category.
Twitch tried to combat these users by removing the videos and accounts. However, these users fought back and allegedly used bots to “to create accounts and disseminate offensive material as well as to thwart Twitch’s safety mechanisms.” The users also allegedly used bots to boost the popularity of these explicit streams to reach more of Twitch’s audience.
With a constant barrage of new explicit streams appearing after being taken down, Twitch would even take extreme measures to try and combat these users by banning all newly created Twitch accounts from streaming for two full days. After this, the company forced some accounts to have two-factor authentication. However, these users would find a way around this as well. Instead of continuing to create accounts, these users would allegedly begin using old accounts or purchasing accounts from other users.
While Twitch believes there are multiple users committing these acts, none of these users are currently known. Thus, the need for the use of John and Jane Doe moniker. According to the lawsuit, “Doe 1 is a person or entity responsible in whole or in part for the wrongful conduct alleged herein who has operated an account on the Twitch Services under a pseudonym.” For the other Defendants, the company “believes that each of the Defendants participated in, ratified, endorsed, or was otherwise involved in the acts complained of, and have liability for such acts.” Twitch plans to update the lawsuit if or when the legal names of these users are ever revealed.