Cloudflare Under Pressure to Unmask the Operators of 24 Pirate Sites

By Bill Toulas / May 31, 2021

Cloudflare has received a DMCA subpoena request from the MPA (Music Publishers Association) and ACE (Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment), ordering the revelation of the identities of the operators/owners of 24 pirate websites. Cloudflare has been identified as the provider of website security, DDoS mitigation, and content delivery network services for these websites, and so the company may be holding the real identities of those who have registered with it. The subpoenas were signed off by the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California.

The domains that are included in the list are the following:

In the exhibit to showcase the violations that take place on these above websites, we see films and series such as Harry Potter, CSI:NY, Grey’s Anatomy, Godzilla vs. Kong, Frozen II, Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984, Joker, and The Queen’s Gambit. All in all, we see the works of a wide spectrum of studios and producers, and the examples given concern titles that had significant commercial success.

As for the domains themselves, most are enjoying high traffic volumes, so the ACE is looking to target international sites now with a global audience. We see torrent indexers, streaming platforms, IPTV domains, and central subscription portals in the list. A notable example is IPtorrents, a platform that has been around for almost a decade now - blocked (in the UK, India, and Australia) and targeted by rightsholders repeatedly, yet remains elusive.

As always, the subpoena requests full names, payment information, account updates, account histories, IP addresses, physical addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses. Cloudflare definitely holds this information, but the question of whether it is truthful and valid is always a big one. Oftentimes, these sites register to services by using false documents, through other people, or the operators simply reside in countries that don’t have extradition agreements with the U.S.

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