A California court will rule on Twitch’s ban policy, as Twitch could be forced to more clearly define its reasons for suspensions for streamers.
Stemming from a lawsuit filed against Twitch by streamer James ‘PhantomL0rd’ Vargas, he has now filed a request to a court in California to enforce Twitch to change how it hands out bans.
PhantomL0rd won the initial court case, netting him $20,000 in the process, but he and his lawyers are pushing the case forward demanding Twitch make changes to its policies regarding how it handles its partnered streamers particularly.
The streaming platform has been criticized for some of its bans, both for inconsistency and lack of clarity. Phantoml0rd has claimed that Twitch has a secret “strike guide” for deciding bans.
Judge will rule on the future of how Twitch disciplines/bans streamers:
— PhantomL0rd (@PhantomL0rd) July 2, 2021
The most important request from PhantomL0rd’s lawyers is that “Twitch cannot permanently or indefinitely suspend partners without providing notice of the reason for the suspension and an opportunity to cure the alleged wrongdoing.”
The judge’s ruling on this request could change how the biggest streaming website on the internet conducts its business.
The full list of seven requests made by Phantoml0rd’s team:
- Twitch must lift the suspension of Varga’s Twitch account at www.twitch.tv/phantoml0rd.
- Twitch must develop and make available to partners a written policy regulating its discipline of partners. The policy must include rules governing (a) when and how account managers notify partners of rule violations, and (b) what criteria or context Twitch uses to determine when to permanently or indefinitely suspend partners, including mitigating factors.
- Twitch cannot send notices of permanent or indefinite suspensions to partners that list the reason for the suspension as “Other Terms of Service Violation,” or other similar language that does not adequately convey the reason that Twitch suspended the partner. Twitch must include the text of the applicable rule and/or strike guide entry for each such notice.
- Twitch cannot permanently or indefinitely suspend partners without providing notice of the reason for the suspension and an opportunity to cure the alleged wrongdoing.
- Twitch cannot permanently or indefinitely suspend partners for any reason not listed in the partner’s partnership agreement.
- Twitch must cease enforcing the $50,000 limitation on liability included in Section 8.4 of Varga’s Partnership Agreement, to the extent this limitation on liability exists in other partnership agreements.
- Twitch must require that partners scroll through any amendment(s) or modification(s) to its Terms of Service and click a button affirming that they have read the amendment(s) or modification(s) and agree to them before the partners may use the Twitch service.
Changing Twitch forever
If Twitch were forced to give a more publicly detailed guideline for what type of behavior it will ban an account for, it could be a huge win for streamers who claim they’ve been banned for vague reasons, or no reason at all.
The most infamous Twitch ban is Dr Direspect, whose reason for being banned was never publicly revealed. The Doc himself maintains he also does not know the reason.
If the court rules in favor of PhantomL0rd’s request, it could reopen cases for streamers who had previously been banned.
It is also possible that Dr Disrepect could return to the platform, or at the very least bring some public clarity to the situation.
For streamers on the platform now, it could ensure that they cannot be given unclear reasons for bans, such as “Other TOS violations”.