The biggest US order against a pirate site was rewritten by Cloudflare.

Teddy Sagi
Reading time: 6 minutes

After upsetting online services like Cloudflare, the US’s most aggressive pirate site injunction has lost a lot of weight. Now modifying everything, the court is looking at a heavily changed injunction. It seems like Cloudflare drew a clear line in the sand and wouldn’t cross it.

When video and broadcasting companies go to court against pirate sites, it’s only natural that they ensure the sites don’t just go back online after their day in court.

Even the strongest injunctions can’t do miracles. Still, they make it easier to mess up a pirate site’s business so much that it may not be worth it to keep going. On the other hand, an extremely broad injunction could hurt the business of third-party services. Although they had little to do with the violation and had no way to know it would happen.

Big order, big tech problems

That’s exactly what happened when a group of Israeli video companies. They won three lawsuits and injunctions to shut down three streaming/IPTV platforms. The injunctions gave the accusers a lot of power. These includes blocking residential ISPs and doing almost anything else they thought was necessary to keep the sites offline.

Almost immediately, third-party service providers reacted. But things only got worse when Cloudflare got threat of contempt of court for not following the rules. With help from Google and EFF, the CDN company fought back, bringing the two sides back to the negotiating table.

Last week, court documents showed that the plaintiffs seemed to agree that the injunction cannot be enforced as it is now. The parties agreed to work on a new injunction that would address the concerns of both sides. As a result, the court is currently considering a new plan.

Original Injunction Undergoes change

The permanent injunction against Israel’s illegal IPTV platform. Tv started in the usual way by telling its owners and anyone else working with them that they could never again do anything that would hurt the complainants’ rights.

But by saying that the same rules apply to third-party services that may come into contact with the defendants’ operations now or in the future. The plaintiffs started to run into problems with companies like Cloudflare. Cloudflare denies that it is “acting in concern” with pirates. So, the proposed change to the injunction looks much less scary.

The first change is that enforcement powers against “third parties providing services used in Defendants’ operations” don’t exist anymore. And where the injunction used to say “Operating and/or hosting Defendants’ Infringing Website,” it now says “Operating Defendants’ Infringing Website.

But that’s only the start.

Major ISPs No Longer Required to Block Pirate Sites

Before Cloudflare got involved, the first part of the injunction that was extreme had a demand. The demand was that every ISP in the United States block the three IPTV services, not just at their current domains but also at any domains they might use in the future. As a warning against piracy, all blocked domains were also set to go to a landing page with information about how to stop pirating.

The part of the proposed changed injunction that spelled out the rules and requirements for this kind of blocking is now removed. No permission for ISP blocking, but the deletions go further than that.

The original also told all third parties “used in connection” with the pirate sites not to do so again. Not now or in the future. ISPs, web hosts, CDNs, DNS and VPN providers, domain name entities, advertising partners, search engines, payment processors, banks, credit card companies, and many more were among these third parties. They removed this part.

Dealing With New Domains

The original injunction gave the accusers a lot of power to take action against not only the domains of the pirate sites that had already been captured but also any new domains that the defendants registered to replace those that had already been seized. There was no judicial oversight over any part of the order. Including the parts that gave the government power over companies like Cloudflare.

The plaintiffs thought they could give an order without proof and that third parties had to follow it. This is not the case with the proposed injunction. When the plaintiffs find “newly detected domains,” they will have to tell the court and ask permission to change the injunction even more. After making the order, registries and registrars will receive it.

Before, the injunction said domain companies had to make domains inactive within seven days. Thet also have to set them up so that they went to the anti-piracy page for video companies. A new section says that if a registry or registrar wants to object to a disabling order, they can do so without blamed for not following the rules.

Domains that help with piracy will face punishment. But only if the court knows about it and keeps an eye on it. The proposed revised injunction includes an updated list of specific domains, such as:

israel.tv, israeli.tv, israeltv.com, israel-tv.xyz, israeltv.to, t2m.is.isr, t2m.ac, isr.dev and zira.to. Newer additions include israeltv.se, israeltv.nu, israeltv.su, isratv.ru, israeltv.am, israeltv.la, israeltv.bz, israeltv.hk, israetv.eu, israeltv.is and sini.la.

In an interesting twist, the proposed injunction also says that the people who run israel.tv and related domains can’t use certain Google Play apps. Bcause they let people access content owned by the plaintiffs that violate their rights. The pirate operators can’t use a Facebook account called “TvFromIsrael”. Also other messaging channels that were once used to help customers and share information about new domains.

An Entire Section Dedicated to Cloudflare

Cloudflare and the plaintiffs seem to have made up now that the contempt of court issue is over. The injunction has a whole section about Cloudflare. It suggests that the CDN company is willing to help the video companies, but only if they meet specific standards.

They have certain responsibilities before they can even talk to Cloudflare. They have to make “reasonable, good faith efforts to identify. Moreover, they will have to get assurance for the identified domains from hosting providers, domain name registries, and registrars.”

If the plaintiffs still need Cloudflare’s help, Cloudflare will cooperate with requests against domain names listed in this injunction and future injunctions by blocking access to:

Pass-through security services, content delivery network (CDN) services, video streaming services, and authoritative DNS services, DNS, CDN, streaming services, and any related services

On another note, the plaintiffs admit that Cloudflare’s compliance “will not necessarily stop the Defendants from giving users access to the Defendants’ infringing services.”

Since everyone agrees on the terms, the court will probably sign off on the new injunction in the next few days. Service providers everywhere will feel safe, and rightsholders will have a plan for handling similar cases in the future.

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