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Copyright case testing liabilities of Cloudflare settled out of court

By | Published on Friday 22 June 2018


Internet services firm Cloudflare has settled a piracy lawsuit launched against it by porn company ALS Scan. Although not a music case, the legal battle was testing the liabilities – or not – of Cloudflare when it provides services to alleged copyright infringers.

The US record industry has been critical of Cloudflare in recent years because of the services it provides to websites that, as far as the record companies are concerned, are piracy outfits utilising Cloudflare’s tools to hide their identities and location.

In one submission to a US government report on copyright, the Recording Industry Association Of America stated that: “[Piracy] sites are increasingly turning to Cloudflare, because routing their site through Cloudflare obfuscates the IP address of the actual hosting provider, masking the location of the site”.

The vast majority of the companies using Cloudflare’s various services are legitimate of course, and the internet firm has generally insisted that it can’t be tasked with deciding which clients are illegitimate and it can’t disconnect customers simply on the say so of individual copyright owners.

ALS Scan sued Cloudflare for providing services to fifteen websites that it claimed distributed its content without licence. Cloudflare did manage to have some aspects of the litigation dismissed, but arguments that fourteen of the allegedly infringing websites were not in the US, and therefore the American courts didn’t have jurisdiction, failed.

This meant the legal battle was heading to court with Cloudflare accused of so called contributory infringement for its role in facilitating piracy sites. The case, once in court, would have tested what, exactly, Cloudflare’s liabilities are when piracy sites use its services.

However, according to Torrentfreak, both sides in the dispute have now filed joint papers asking that the case be dismissed, seemingly having reached an out of court settlement, terms of which are not known.

The court filing simply states: “ALS Scan Inc and Cloudflare Inc hereby stipulate to dismissal without prejudice of the claims and action against Cloudflare, Inc with each side bearing its own attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses”.