Cloudflare has yet against struck in a copyright lawsuit that finally pushed the CDN provider to make a reasonable move. A complaint filed by the Universal Music GmbH against Cloudflare has received a court injunction to hold the company responsible for its customers’ actions. This in particular for asking Cloudflare to remove access to pirated music served on a site, where Cloudflare defended but failed.

Cloudflare Held Responsible For Pirate Content Hosting

Cloudflare has made its mark in the internet space for being the best CDN (content delivery network). While it tries to be a neutral service provider by acting just as a middle man, it’s always blamed for some actions of its customers. This happens widely in the entertainment industry, where some clients host infringing content.

And since Cloudflare is made to anonymize them, it masks such pirates’ identity. Any complaints made by the rights holders to Cloudflare regarding such contents were simply passed by to the clients, which they don’t respond often. While this continued for long, a recent court action had a different outcome. A complaint filed by the Universal Music GmbH (Germany) is where it all has started.

The Music group initially appealed to Cloudflare in June 2019, where it asked the CDN provider to take down the music URLs on, a site served by Cloudflare, it responded with a denial of any action of its customers. Further, it provided the contact details of the concerned site owner to deal with them directly.

Later, a court hearing held in December 2019 at the Cologne District Court, has an order passed directing Cloudflare to be held responsible for any of its clients’ actions, like in copyright infringements by DDL-Music. Further in January 2020, the same court has made a preliminary injunction against Cloudflare, almost ending its practices.

It ordered that in case of not taking any action in Universal Music GmbH’s case, it will be asked to pay a fine upto € 250,000 ($270,000) or the MD of Cloudflare be jailed for upto six months! While this shivered the company enough, the preliminary injunction was now made permanent, thus applying to all such cases.

This was confirmed by the BVMI (German music industry group) that, the Cologne Higher Regional Court’s judgement will hold Cloudflare for any infringing actions made by their clients, provided that it failed to take any action even after complaints by the rightful owners. While this may not be applicable to the outside world, at least in Germany, Cloudflare has to be cautious.


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