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RIAA gets court order to access contact information of piracy sites using Cloudflare

By | Published on Tuesday 7 May 2019


The Recording Industry Association Of America has got itself a subpoena from a US court ordering Cloudflare to reveal any contact information it has on file relating to a bunch of websites accused of distributing music without licence.

Internet services company Cloudflare has been on the record industry’s gripe list for a while now. It’s an entirely legitimate company offering entirely legitimate services to website operators, but record labels reckon it could do more to restrict the operations of those sites among its client base that primarily exist to facilitate copyright infringement. Particularly because some of Cloudflare’s services make it easier for piracy sites to obscure their actual location.

Cloudflare has always pushed back on the idea that it should police its client list for potential infringers, arguing that it is in no position to identify what is and isn’t infringement. To that end, it has always said that aggrieved copyright owners should take their grievances to court, because it will generally respect any obligations contained within a court order (although, of course, it could always appeal said order before respecting it).

Hence the subpoena. According to Torrentfreak, the RIAA’s Mark McDevitt wrote in a letter to Cloudflare: “We have determined that users of your system or network have infringed our member record companies’ copyrighted sound recordings. Enclosed is a subpoena compliant with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As is stated in the attached subpoena, you are required to disclose to the RIAA information sufficient to identify the infringers. This would include the individuals’ names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, payment information, account updates and account history”.

As for what the RIAA intends to do with that information, the record industry trade group is somewhat ambiguous. The letter adds: “The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identities of the individuals assigned to these websites who have reproduced and have offered for distribution our members’ copyrighted sound recordings without their authorisation. This information will only be used for the purposes of protecting the rights granted to our members, the sound recording copyright owner, under Title II of the DMCA”.

Sites covered by the subpoena include RapGodFathers and Plus Premieres.