The American Petroleum Institute (API), the country’s largest oil and natural gas trade body, has been granted a DMCA subpoena by a US court to target a number of pirate websites, via Cloudflare.
Cloudflare, in the business of protecting companies from DDoS and bot attacks as well as content delivery network (CDN) services, is now ordered to reveal the identities of persons behind the controversial domains, and immediately stop providing services to them.
TorrentFreak writes that what API is trying to protect here are its monetary interests related to unauthorized copying and sale of the industry standards that the association produces.
Certification of standards is among API’s chief activities, along with lobbying government and regulatory agencies; and the group is now joining the many entertainment and tech giants who go down the route of alleging copyright violations to shut down and often prosecute infringing websites.
“For decades, API has authored standards for the safety and quality of products in the petroleum and gas industry. As author, API owns the copyright in these standards and has registered the copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office,” the counsel for API writes.
“The copyrighted standards constitute a very valuable asset to API. Indeed, sales of the API standards to petroleum and gas industry professionals create considerable income for API.”
API’s DMCA application, that has now been approved, said the copyrighted standards – described as a valuable asset – are available to download without permission. In addition, the pirate sites also use API’s logos, the filing said – thus misleading consumers that they are authorized to distribute these documents.
API named several domains redirecting to E-Standards.org, where more than 1,700 standards are available in PDF files, TorrentFreak reports. API also revealed that it only sells the standards documents in the physical format – so any electronic documents must be unauthorized copies.
Now that the Delaware court has approved the DMCA subpoena, Cloudflare will have to react one way or another and do it quickly.
Citing Google’s Transparency Report, TorrentFreak makes a note of E-Standards.org having in the past ruffled the feathers of other rights holders from the standards, research and scientific sphere, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Some of the comments left on the article suggest that API keeping oil industry standards outside of the public domain – given the importance and influence the industry has on the economy and the environment – is wrong in itself, but also that E-Standards.org is far from a Robin Hood-type of operation. Instead, the site appears to be profiting from copyrighted documents that were originally made available to the public for free.