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Twitch viewbot makers ordered to pay nearly $1.4 million in lawsuit loss

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The makers of a Twitch "viewbot" that enabled users to fraudulently rack up large viewer counts and thereby get into its lucrative Partner program have been ordered to pay nearly $1.4 million to the company for trademark violation, unfair competition, cybersquatting, and breach of contract.    

Twitch filed suit against Michael and Katherine Anjomi, and several other defendants, in June 2016, alleging that their viewbots caused harm to legitimate broadcasters by "decreasing their discoverability," and also to the platform itself by diminishing "the quality of the experience community members have come to expect." According to this BBC report (via Kotaku), the Anjomis charged as much as $760 per month for their services, which were offered through shoptwitch.com, twitchshop.com, and twitchstreams.org. 

"Encounters with bots damage Twitch users' experiences on Twitch. For example, users may be disappointed that they are led to poor quality content through Twitch's game directories, and instead of engaging in interesting social interactions on Twitch chat, they may encounter bots spewing lists of random words," the original complaint states. 

"As a result, Twitch may lose its carefully developed reputation as the premier service for quality social videogame content, the ability to attract and retain users, and the goodwill of the community." 

The botmakers, who did not present a defense, were ordered to pay (opens in new tab) $55,000 in statutory damages to Twitch, and another $1,316,139, representing the profits earned through the sale of their services. They must also (opens in new tab) disable their botting services, turn over their domains to Twitch, and never use Twitch again, even for legitimate purposes. Naturally, they have also been forbidden from making any new viewbots in the future. 

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.