Cloudflare Responds to RIAA ⁠— “We’re Not In the Business of Hiding Companies”

Cloudflare objects to being categorized as a helper of pirates in the latest “Notorious Markets” complaint.

Copyright holder groups send the complaint to the U.S. Trade Representative every year. It calls out apps, piracy sites, and services that facilitate piracy across the globe. While Cloudflare isn’t on the list as a piracy provider, it is frequently mentioned.

Cloudflare is a content delivery network, which means it helps keep websites online under high traffic situations. It’s an extra layer of security for many sites against malicious attacks like DDoS attacks designed to take websites offline. But the MPA and RIAA don’t see it that way.

In their complaint, the two organizations write that Cloudflare helps pirates “hide” their hosting locations. The Digital Citizens Alliances says the company facilitates pirates delivering malware.

Cloudflare General Counsel Doug Kramer disputes these claims in a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative. Cloudflare says the report is not an accurate representation of how the company operates.

“My colleagues and I were frustrated to find continued misrepresentations of our business and efforts to malign our services.

We again feel called on to clarify that Cloudflare does not host the referenced websites, cannot block websites, and is not in the business of hiding companies that host illegal content – all facts well known to the industry groups based on our ongoing work with them.”

On the claims that Cloudflare helps pirates distribute malware ⁠— Kramer writes:

“Our system uses the collective intelligence from all the properties on our network to support and immediately update our web application firewall, which can block malware at the edge and prevent it from reaching a site’s origin server. This protects the many content creators who use our services for their websites as well as the users of their websites, from malware.”

Cloudflare argues that complaints from the DCA about malware are out of date.

The company admits it can’t stop all bad actors online, but continues to work with organizations as necessary.

Cloudflare says the complaint to the Notorious Markets list seems intended to pressure the service into identifying infringing websites and shutting them down themselves.

“That is something that we are not obligated to do,” Kramer says.