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Should Cloudflare be responsible for its client’s piracy?

Have you ever wondered how companies of the size of Google and Microsoft do to load their websites almost instantly to millions of users worldwide? And how do these same companies protect their servers from attacks and intrusions? Among the many technologies used in the process, a service has stood out by offering solutions to these and other internet challenges. We’re talking about CloudFlare.

Created in 2009, CloudFlare serves not only large companies but sites of all sizes, as well as Search Results, Blogs, Torrents, CyberLocks, Tubes / Video Sites etc., bringing improvements in security and performance.

In a very simplified way, CloudFlare is a set of website protection and optimization services. The service has characteristics that resemble a Content Delivery Network (CDN). P  

In April, after US President Donald Trump signed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), the company removed and blocked Switter (social media space for sex workers). The law creates higher standards and penalties for websites that are “facilitators” of prostitution. In addition to being removed from the internet, those responsible for managing such services may be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

One of the growing debates after the adoption of the law concerns the responsibility of these platforms in the fight against piracy. Since Cloudflare, for example, is used to upload pirated content. Content that is protected by the content delivery network (CDN).

CloudFlare claims not to be responsible for any damage done by customer sites because the company only acts as an “access bridge” to content stored in the client’s main hosting provider. This, yes, stores complete and permanent copies of the sites and should be searched to bring down the content.

But there are those who claim that CloudFlare is not entitled to the legal protections granted to internet service providers such as Google, Facebook and Internet providers, and hosting. One of the arguments raised is that CloudFlare makes unauthorized copies of copyrighted material when it stores temporary copies of the content on its servers and that the company is complicit with infringements committed by its customers by refusing to cancel the services to piracy sites.

As part of protecting against denial of service attacks, CloudFlare also attempts to omit its customers’ true Internet address (IP), which prevents copyright holders from taking action against the hosting providers of those sites. Among the company’s customers is The Pirate Bay, a site well known in the piracy business.

By selectively removing Switter as well as other websites trafficking in illegal material, Cloudflare opens itself up to setting precedents of singling out websites and unfair competition or business practices. Websites that host illegal stolen copywritten material must also fall into this category and by maintaining fundamental operations for these websites despite them hosting illegal material, they are thereby becoming complicit in illegal activity.

The question now is how the Government will position itself from now on issues related to piracy and responsibility on the internet. From a protection standpoint on behalf of the musicians who have had no royalty rights, Donald Trump signed the Music Modernization Act (MMA) into law on October 11th, 2018. Signing one of the largest copyright reforms in the music industry in decades.

Our hope is that in April, May, June, or any time throughout the last year of his presidency, is that US President Donald Trump sees clear, and signs a similar act to the FOSTA Act and the MUSIC Act, and signs what we have coined the “Fight the Online “Cloud” of Piracy” Act (FOCUP). Just like the FOSTA act, we need a law that creates higher standards and penalties for websites that are “facilitators” of piracy. Hosting and or delivery without proper technologies and access for copyright holders to adequately protect themselves. As of five years ago, companies like AVForce, DMCAForce, TuneStat, DigiRegs, and other have provided tools to facilitate programmatic, and user-based copyright management and oversight controls. In addition to being removed from the internet, those responsible for managing such services should be fined up to $125,000 per infringement and could be sentenced time in prison, just like the direct violators of the copyright infringements.

For the sake of thousands of copyright holders around the world and over $500 Billion in copyright-related losses in revenue, let’s put forth worthwhile legislation. In this case for the sake of President Donald Trump himself, such as his book, ‘The Art of the Deal” which has been pirated more than 100,000 times, let’s make copyright protection “Great Again”.

Thank you and thank you Mr. President in advance.

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