The EU is releasing a list of infringing sites, and the surprising thing is not that it is full of non-infringing sites, they all do, but that it includes Cloudflare, which is a close to a core technology for the whole internet as any single company gets these days:
In mid-January, the EU is hoping to finalize the EU Copyright Directive, including Article 13, which will effectively create mandatory copyright filters for many internet websites (while, laughably, insisting it creates no such burden — but leaving no other option for most sites). One of the key arguments being made by supporters of Article 13 is that it’s crazy to think that this law will be used to block legitimate content. This is pretty silly, considering how frequently we write about bogus DMCA takedowns. As if trying to prove just how bad they are at properly classifying infringing content, the EU recently released its “Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List”, which is a sort of EU version of the USTR’s “notorious markets” list. That list has been widely mocked for basically declaring any site that Hollywood doesn’t like “notorious”, even if no court has ever ruled that it’s breaking the law.
It would appear that the EU list has the same sort of problem. For example among the sites listed in the EU report is Cloudflare, a platform used by tons of internet companies (including Techdirt) as a CDN or to protect against DoS attacks (among other things). Cloudflare is simply a tool — like a phone line — that tons of internet companies use. If some of them are doing things that are against the law, that should be on those sites, not Cloudflare. Unfortunately, the EU doesn’t seem to care.
CloudFlare is a US based company, which provides hosting service combined with other services, including CDN services and distributed domain name server (DNS) services. According to the creative industries (film, music, book publishers, etc.) and other organisations, CloudFlare is used by approximately 40% of the pirate websites in the world. It operates as a front host between the user and the website’s back host, routing and filtering all content through its network of servers. Out of the top 500 infringing domains based on global Alexa rankings, 62% (311) are using CloudFlare’s services, according to stakeholders. A sample list of 6,337 infringing domain names presented by the film industry showed over 30% (2,119) using CloudFlare’s services.
This is like claiming Verizon is a dope dealer because dope dealers use cell phones.