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Cloudflare says the music and movie industries misrepresent its business in their notorious markets piracy submissions

By | Published on Monday 21 October 2019


After America’s Internet Infrastructure Coalition had a good moan last week about its members, like Cloudflare, being included in the piracy gripe lists of the music and movie industries, now Cloudflare itself has criticised its critics.

This all relates to the US Trade Representative’s annual notorious markets report, which aims to inform the American government on piracy issues for whenever it’s in discussions with foreign governments on IP matters.

As part of the production of that report, America’s copyright industries, including the music business, each make submissions outlining their main piracy concerns of the moment and listing the websites and companies that they believe are negatively impacting on their IP rights. And while most of those sites and companies are full-on piracy set ups, the gripe lists also include otherwise legitimate internet firms who services are used by the pirates.

Complaining about that fact, the Internet Infrastructure Coalition asked the USTR to better define a notorious piracy market, arguing that “notorious markets should not be confused with neutral intermediaries such as internet infrastructure providers”.

Now, according to Torrentfreak, Cloudflare itself has also written to the USTR arguing that its operations are being misrepresented whenever the music and movie industries are griping about their primary piracy concerns.

The newly New York Stock Exchange listed internet firm’s General Counsel, Doug Kramer, writes in his letter: “My colleagues and I were frustrated to find continued misrepresentations of our business and efforts to malign our services. We again feel called on to clarify that Cloudflare does not host the referenced websites, cannot block websites, and is not in the business of hiding companies that host illegal content – all facts well known to the industry groups based on our ongoing work with them”.

Continuing on that theme, Kramer goes onto to add that his company works with many of its critics in the copyright industries, including the Recording Industry Association Of America. For example, by helping them to identify the hosting locations of piracy sites which use Cloudflare’s system in such a way that any actual location is hidden.

The Cloudflare man then argues that one of the reasons that the RIAA et al continue to moan about his company in their notorious markets submissions is that they want to pressure the firm to “take over efforts to identify and close down infringing websites for them”. But, the legal man adds, “that is something that we are not obligated to do”.

As with the Internet Infrastructure Coalition intervention last week, it remains to be seen if Cloudflare’s letter means it won’t actually get a formal mention in the USTR’s latest notorious markets report when it is published.