Twitch is suing the anonymous streamers responsible for hosting pornography on the site, among other things. The lawsuit was filed in California on June 14th, and names the streamers, "John and Jane Does 1 through 100," indicating that Twitch has not yet been able to determine their identity.
The text of the lawsuit, which was uploaded to Scribd by Polygon, states, "Beginning on or about May 25, 2019, Defendants flooded the Twitch.tv directory for the game Artifact with dozens of videos that violated Twitch’s policies and terms. This included, for example, a video of the March 2019 Christchurch mosque attack, hard core pornography, copyrighted movies and television shows, and racist and misogynistic videos. Defendants’ actions threatened and continue to threaten Twitch and the safety of the Twitch community."
The full-scale takeover of the Artifact category on Twitch posed a major issue for the Amazon-owned streaming service back in May. Twitch was deleting streams as fast as they were going up, and even went as far as to block new accounts from streaming in order to curb the amount of malicious and erroneous streams flooding into the category.
Artifact, Valve's failed card game DOTA 2 spin-off, was seeing less than 200 concurrent players during May. The Artifact section of Twitch, on the other hand, was bombarded with bots streaming cam footage of newly released movies, adult content, and just about everything else you could imagine. Why so many people participated and why Artifact was targeted for the brigade is still unclear. However, it revealed a security risk for Twitch, and now it is apparent that the company is taking this event very seriously.
We don't know at this point if Twitch will be able to identify the trolls. The lawsuit states, "Twitch will amend this Complaint if and when the legal names of such persons or entities become known." It is likely that this formal lawsuit is meant to dissuade future trolling as much as it is meant to prosecute the offenders. Clearly, this type of large scale attack was not something Twitch was prepared for.
This isn't the first time that Twitch has gotten into a legal battle with its streamers. Last year, Twitch and steamer Phantomlord sued each other over controversial Counter-Strike gambling website CSGO Shuffle. As the reach and market share of Twitch continues to grow, it isn't unreasonable to expect more and more issues to arise. As pioneers in the streaming space, it will be up to Twitch to establish a way forward and law in this lawless cyber-land.