An Italian court told Cloudflare that it’s public DNS resolver 126.96.36.199 must block three torrent sites. Local music industry group FIMI and anti-piracy group FPM asked for measures to stop piracy. This is the first time that Cloudflare DNS has to block pirate sites, and now that this injunction is in place, Google and OpenDNS could be next.
Copyright holders have put a lot of pressure on the famous Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare in recent years.
The company works with millions of sites, including multinationals, governments, and some of the best pirate sites in the world.
Rightsholders don’t appreciate the second choice, and some have accused Cloudflare of breaking copyright rules by letting consumers access unlawful platforms. Important Italian music industry figures responded to these concerns by going to court. Cloudflare was ordered to block multiple pirate sites hosted by its customers.
Cloudflare strongly opposes these and other blocking demands. The company sees itself as a neutral third-party service that just stores or passes along the content. Even when Cloudflare blocks sites or customers, the sites that go with them still work.
Music industry wants Cloudflare DNS ban
Rightsholders agree that there is no one way to stop piracy, but they say that Cloudflare can and should do more to deal with the problem. In a case before the Court of Milan, they argued that Cloudflare should do even more.
In court, anti-piracy group FPM and music group FIMI stated Cloudflare’s DNS resolver is a concern. This DNS resolver can access pirate sites that don’t use Cloudflare’s CDN. Because of this, Cloudflare should prohibit sites that cause difficulties on its DNS servers.
After hearing all of these arguments, the Milan Court agreed. It issued an interim injunction that tells Cloudflare to block three torrent sites: kickasstorrents.to, limetorrents.pro, and ilcorsaronero.pro. ISPs in Italy have already blocked these sites after getting an order from the local regulator AGCOM.
Landmark Injunction to Block DNS
This is the first time Cloudflare has been told to make pirate sites unavailable through its public DNS resolver 188.8.131.52. This is an essential advancement because many Italians switched to public DNS resolvers to get around ISP blocking measures. With the court order, the rightsholders can get rid of this shortcut.
“We welcome the Court’s decision which will further strengthen the ongoing infringing site blocking program performed by AGCOM in Italy, whilst also increasing the efficiency of the enforcement actions carried out by the rightsholders to protect their online content,” says FIMI CEO Enzo Mazza.
Mazza says that the court order is a big step forward in protecting copyrighted content online. It says that third-party counterparties are responsible under the EU’s new Copyright Directive and makes it clear that companies like Cloudflare can be told to follow ISP blocking orders.
So far, Cloudflare hasn’t done anything, even when AGCOM put sites on a list of sites to block. With the recent court order, the company won’t be able to do anything else because it could face penalties.
Google and OpenDNS?
In theory, other DNS providers, like Google and OpenDNS, could also be hit with a similar order. “The ruling opens the door to others that offer similar services, such as Google,” Mazza told local media.
Even though this kind of order is new in Italy, we saw something similar last year in Germany. A local court told DNS provider Quad9 to block a pirate site, but the company still appealed the decision.
Cloudflare may also reverse the preliminary Italian injunction. It must blacklist three torrent sites on its DNS resolver within 30 days. This is also true for future domain names.
In response to orders targeting client pirate sites, Cloudflare has limited its actions to Italy. The corporation hasn’t commented on the DNS blocking order, but we expect it to be enforced locally.