Cloudflare was ordered by a court in Italy to block two of its customers providing IPTV services. Providers of IPTV services broadcast content they do not have rights to, mostly content that requires subscription.
Cloudflare is one of the most popular content delivery networks and DNS providers. A CDN is a group of servers geographically optimized to provide efficient delivery of web content to internet users.
Last year, Sky Italy and the top tier Italian soccer league Serie A took Cloudflare to court, hoping the CDN would block access to two IPTV services, “ENERGY IPTV” and “IPTV THE BEST.” Cloudflare lost both cases.
The CDN provider then appealed the injunctions, arguing that as a CDN, it only acts as an intermediary for web content.
Cloudflare also argued that even if it blocked the IPTV services, they could still remain active as it does not provide them with web hosting services.
But the court was not convinced by the arguments. In the ruling, the court said that by facilitating the sites' availability, Cloudflare indeed is involved in copyright infringements, Torrent Freak reported.
“It is in fact adequately confirmed that Cloudflare carries out support and optimization activities to showcase sites, which allow the visibility and advertising of illegal services,” the court said.
That the sites would still remain active even after Cloudflare booted them from their services is irrelevant, according to the court.
The court also concluded that though the CDN is merely an intermediary for content, rights holders should be provided with such blocking measures.
The court also said that the blocking should be “dynamic,” meaning if the sites change IP addresses, Cloudflare should still block them.
“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,” Sky Italy's lawyer Simona Lavagnini said, expressing his contentment with the ruling.
The ruling is another in a recent trend of companies that simply do business with entities that are in some way infringing copyright being ordered to not comply and could open the floodgates with regards to companies that do not host any illegal content being forced to pull services from companies for the content that they host, rather than rights holders or the complainant taking up their issue directly with the “offending” party.