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posted by martyb on Tuesday October 12, @10:45AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the slow-grind dept.

Cloudflare doesn’t have to cut off copyright-infringing websites, judge rules:

Cloudflare is not liable for the copyright infringement of websites that use its content-delivery and security services, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

Cloudflare was sued in November 2018 by Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero Designs, two wedding dress manufacturers and sellers that alleged Cloudflare was guilty of contributory copyright infringement because it didn't terminate services for websites that infringed on the dressmakers' copyrighted designs. The companies sought a jury trial, but Judge Vince Chhabria yesterday granted Cloudflare's motion for summary judgment in a ruling in US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Chhabria noted that the dressmakers have been harmed "by the proliferation of counterfeit retailers that sell knock-off dresses using the plaintiffs' copyrighted images" and that they have "gone after the infringers in a range of actions, but to no avail—every time a website is successfully shut down, a new one takes its place."

[...] While the ruling resolves the lawsuit's central question in Cloudflare's favor, the judge scheduled a case management conference for October 27 "to discuss what's left of the case."

[...] A defendant is liable for contributory copyright infringement if it has knowledge of another's infringement and materially contributes to or induces that infringement, the judge noted in his ruling against the dressmakers. "Simply providing services to a copyright infringer does not qualify as a 'material contribution,'" he wrote. "Rather, liability in the Internet context follows where a party 'facilitate[s] access' to infringing websites in such a way that 'significantly magnif[ies]' the underlying infringement."

Although a defendant can be found to materially contribute to copyright infringement if it acts as "an essential step in the infringement process," this should not be interpreted too broadly, the judge wrote.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, @11:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, @11:11AM (#1186378)

    A most singular phenomenon, these days.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 12, @12:01PM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 12, @12:01PM (#1186386) Homepage Journal

    My mail lady won't be charged for delivering a counterfeit copy of Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle.

    --
    Let's go Brandon!
  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday October 12, @03:21PM (4 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 12, @03:21PM (#1186429) Journal

    So, copyright isn't able to make their cherished but unrealistic business model work, what a surprise.

    Are they also outraged over buttons?

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday October 12, @04:52PM

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday October 12, @04:52PM (#1186460) Journal

      Just the button makers.

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by FatPhil on Tuesday October 12, @06:16PM (2 children)

      The people who are being wronged here aren't selling their intellectual property - they're selling skillfully-crafted items of clothing, so they are victims of fraud and misrepresentation, not IP theft, so your argument appears misguided.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, @06:22PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, @06:22PM (#1186478)

        Which part of "copyrighted designs" are you unable to understand?

        As for those who specifically seek skillfully-crafted anything, by definition they are smart enough to know when counterfeits are of worse quality, and when (as usual) they originate from the same Chinese/Vietnamese/Bangladeshi sweatshop as the "genuine article".

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday October 14, @08:52AM

          I understand the phrase perfectly, it seems you are the one lacking the comprehension skills.
          The phrase was used because it's accurate, and it's not one I objected to, because it's correct.
          You appear to be attempting to straw man me, and pretend I've said something I've not.

          Please learn how to read, parse, and interpret sentences before trying to engage in an argument, failing to do so will make you look stupid.
          --
          I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 2) by Username on Tuesday October 12, @09:37PM (5 children)

    by Username (4557) on Tuesday October 12, @09:37PM (#1186511)

    Cloudflare has kicked a few sites off their service for being right wing competition for left wing social media sites. They already proven they can do it. Being right wing isn't illegal in this country, buy copyright violation is illegal. Why can't they kick off copyright violators?

    If there was a mall somewhere that is known for kicking out any business that voted GOP. Now, a business in that mall is selling knock off dresses. The guy who they are making counterfeits from keeps getting them shutdown but they just keep remaking the company in the same rented stall. IE Knockoff, LLC to Knockoff1, LLC Shouldn't this mall be responsible for facilitating this obvious fraud once they are notified? Isn't there an expectation that they expel an illegal enterprise? It's not like they don't evict other businesses for less.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by vux984 on Tuesday October 12, @11:13PM

      by vux984 (5045) on Tuesday October 12, @11:13PM (#1186525)

      "Why can't they kick off copyright violators?"

      They could if they wanted, they aren't legally required to.

      "If there was a mall somewhere that is known for kicking out any business that voted GOP. "

      What on earth does that have to do with anything?

      "Now, a business in that mall is selling knock off dresses. The guy who they are making counterfeits from keeps getting them shutdown but they just keep remaking the company in the same rented stall. IE Knockoff, LLC to Knockoff1, LLC Shouldn't this mall be responsible for facilitating this obvious fraud once they are notified?"

      Why stop at the land lord for leasing them space?

      Why not go after
      - The delivery trucks responsible for delivering the dresses to the store, and the shipping and rail companies for selling them container space and transporting it?
      - And the telephone company should be held responsible for providing them services that they use to place and receive orders, conduct credit card payments
      - And the banks should be responsible for providing them banking services...
      - And Staples should be on the hook because they sell them the paper they use in their receipt printers
      - And the security company should be responsible for protecting these knockoffs from shoplifters

      And its super odd to go after them only for knock offs... what if they sell legitimate products but then cheat on their taxes? Or fail to properly declare their imports at customs? Or use sweatshop labor? Or discriminate against someone? Or get caught dumping trash somewhere?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @02:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @02:43AM (#1186548)

      They did kick off some far-right sites, but they are still the last bastion for some right-wing sites. If Cloudflare dies or gets taken over, there will be nothing standing between them and total deplatforming and constant DDoS attacks. They will have no choice but to languish in obscurity on the dark web.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday October 13, @02:24PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 13, @02:24PM (#1186653) Journal

      If there was a mall somewhere that is known for kicking out any business that voted GOP.

      Bzzzzzzt! Wrong.

      Businesses don't vote.

      Cloudflare kicks off web sites (not "businesses") that have lies, misinformation and content so outrageous that they feel it in their own best interests not to do business with that web site. Now if you are saying that sites with such outrages lies and misinformation just also always happen to be GOP, then it is you saying that, not I.

      Web sites don't vote either.

      --
      Employers should not mandate wearing clothing. It should be a personal choice. It only affects me. Junk can't breathe!
    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Wednesday October 13, @03:10PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday October 13, @03:10PM (#1186667) Homepage Journal

      If there was a mall somewhere that is known for kicking out any business that voted GOP.

      Congratulations on the most idiotic statement I've seen all morning, and I was on Facebook earlier. First, there's no way to tell if someone is a Greenie, a Libbie, a Dimocrat, a Rethuglican, or someone with a brain who votes for the candidate, not the party. Second, if there was a law that said everyone had to wear a political party badge, they would go out of business without the Greedy Old Parasites as customers.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday October 13, @04:18PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday October 13, @04:18PM (#1186688)

      Why can't they kick off copyright violators?

      They *can* but why should they *want to*, if it costs them money to do so (and loses them customers)?

      If there was a mall somewhere that is known for kicking out any business that voted GOP.

      How exactly does a business vote? Is there some percentage threshold of the employees we're talking about, or the CEO personally? How would you verify it?

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
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