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  • Matthew Spencer - Tech Journalist

US federal judge ruled copyright infringement claim against Cloudflare

Cloudflare was recently caught up in a copyright infringement case which a federal US judge ruled. Cloudflare is a content network and DDoS mitigation service provider. The brand itself is trendy; approximately 25 million HTTP requests are served per second on average via Cloudflare services. The platform helps individuals and organizations of over 100 countries, including 250 cities.

This week a US federal judge ruled against the copyright infringement claim against San-Fransisco based company Cloudflare. The appeal was made by designers of wedding dresses, gowns and formalwear. Maggie Sottero Designs and Mon Cheri Bridals wholesalers sued the company back in 2018, and since then, no sufficient proof was gathered against Cloudflare. The company distributes network software that is used globally, and their claim was clear.

According to section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), specific protective measures are given for liability causes. According to the Cloudflare copyright original complaint, “Plaintiffs are two of the largest manufacturers and wholesalers of wedding dresses and social occasion wear in the United States.”

The news came to our attention when Cloudflare published an article explaining the issue with in-depth details. Copyright holders sought the company liable for infringing content on the website with their service. But what they fail to understand is that Cloudflare does not host the content. It is just a platform that helps connect from every part of the world-defying DNS and any other blockage. To keep the free and open internet motive active, it plays a significant role.

So, when disputers found copied and used photos used elsewhere, they took action against Cloudflare. They do not control copyright issues or have authority over any content or infringement issues. Cloudflare helped connect many copyright holders with hosting providers to solve the problems among themselves.

Cloudflare said, “The plaintiffs in the case sell wedding dresses online, and they asserted that other websites illegally used their copyrighted pictures of the dresses while selling knockoff dresses. In a quirk of US copyright law, most fashion designs are not copyright protected, while pictures of those designs can be protected.”

The US district court judge went through the matter and, after deep consideration, forfeited the infringement case against Cloudflare. The court explained the issue fantastically about what happened on their end to make such a decision. In this regard, they said Cloudflare’s services did not “significantly magnify” copyright infringement issues.

It’s not Cloudflare’s first rodeo with copyright disputes. Regarding the event, Cloudflare head of risk Patrick Nemeroff said, “Over the years, copyright holders have sometimes sought to hold Cloudflare liable for infringing content on websites using our services”, and it doesn’t make any sense.

Organizations and even individuals also use Cloudflare subscriptions for transparent web segments, which was no different. In response, the company spokesman said they highly discourage this kind of claim because it is a waste of time for both parties as they aren’t hosting copyrighted content. They provide a way for everyone to access open content, and people can be anonymous over the internet.

Cloudflare has a dedicated app with Google DNS, which is quite popular itself. Fenwick and West worked closely with Cloudflare to resolve the issue. They are Cloudflare’s first line of defence for lawsuits of this nature as both understand what is at stake and the motive behind the business. Cloudflare principles allow them to “help build a better internet” via reliable web services. Security is greatly prioritized for the users and subscription holders.

Making copyright claims against such services can be portrayed similarly to disputing a VPN service that only grants access where the user dint have that previously and there is nothing wrong with it.


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