HomeTechnologyCloudflare Must Block Pirate IPTV Services, Appeals Court Confirms

Cloudflare Must Block Pirate IPTV Services, Appeals Court Confirms

Last year Cloudflare was ordered to block entry to the websites of clients who provided illegal IPTV services. The CDN provider appealed the injunctions, arguing that it’s merely a neutral intermediary, but without result. Two separate orders launched over the past several days confirm that Cloudflare should block domain names and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV services.

CDN provider Cloudflare is 1 of the leading Internet companies, providing services to millions of clients large and small.

The service positions itself as a neutral intermediary that passes on traffic while making sure that clients remain secure. Its userbase includes billion-dollar companies such as IBM, Shopify, and L’Oreal, but also countless smaller outlets.

With a company of this size, it comes as no surprise that some Cloudflare clients are engaged in controversial activities. This includes some pirate websites and services, which have landed Cloudflare in court on several occasions.

Last year there were 2 prominent cases against Cloudflare in Italy. In the first 1, soccer league Serie A and Sky Italy requested Cloudflare to block the unauthorized IPTV service “IPTV THE BEST” and in a identical case, rightsholders needed “ENERGY IPTV” blocked.

Cloudflare Appeals Blocking Injunctions

Cloudflare lost both cases and was ordered to block the services in question. While the company hasn’t commented on the legal actions in detail, it decided to appeal the 2 injunctions at the Milan court.

Last Friday, the court ruled on the “IPTV THE BEST” case, confirming that Cloudflare is indeed required to block entry.

In its protection, Cloudflare argued that it doesn’t provide hosting services but merely passes on bits and bytes. In addition, it pointed out that the IPTV service could nonetheless remain lively even if its account was terminated.

Cloudflare Facilitates Access

The court was not convinced by these arguments and concluded that Cloudflare contributes to the infringements of its customer by optimizing and facilitating the site’s availability.

“It is in fact adequately confirmed that Cloudflare carries out support and optimization activities to showcase websites, which allow the visibility and promoting of illegal services,” the court concluded.

That the IPTV service could proceed without using Cloudflare is irrelevant, the court stressed.

In addition, the court confirmed that copyright holders are entitled to these types of protecting blocking measures, even if the activity of the online intermediary itself is not immediately infringing.

Dynamic Orders

The Milan court reached the same conclusion in Cloudflare’s appeal against the “ENERGY IPTV” injunction, which was decided yesterday. In both cases, the court also confirmed that the injunctions are “dynamic”, which means that if the IPTV services switch to new domains or IP-addresses, these have to be blocked as well.

While the ruling is a setback for Cloudflare, copyright holders are pleased. Attorney Simona Lavagnini, who represented Sky Italy, informs TorrentFreak that it will now be simpler to hold online services accountable for infringing clients.

“I am pleased to see the position taken by the Court, confirming that injunction orders can be addressed to all providers involved in the provision of services to those who offer illegal contents on the web.

“This principle is now general and includes telecoms as well as passive hosting providers and other services such as CDNs,” Lavagnini provides.

We also reached out to Cloudflare for a comment on these recent court orders but the company didn’t immediately reply. The CDN provider previously confirmed that it has been legally required to block several domains, without going into further detail.

With regard to earlier blocking orders, Cloudflare said that it complies with these in the relevant jurisdictions. In other words, the targeted services remain available in other countries. Whether that’s also the case here is unknown.

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