back to article Judge rejects claims Cloudflare should be held responsible for customers' copyright infringement

Cloudflare is not liable for any copyright infringement for content hosted on websites its content-delivery network supports, a US federal judge ruled this week. The San Francisco-based concern was sued by wedding dress and gowns wholesalers Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero Designs in 2018. Every time those two businesses …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

    Okay, first of all, obviously they do. Duh.

    But really, the judge is perfectly right. Attacking Cloudflare for hosting infringing sites is like attacking those who make roads for facilitating a criminal's getaway.

    Sorry, Cloudflare is not responsible for what its customers put on their websites. That's normal.

    I do indeed hope that this will put paid to future lawsuits on this subject. Yes, playing whack-a-mole is certainly not fun for copyright holders, but they're not going to attack the electricity company for providing electricity to the servers, now are they ?

    Oh wait, it's the USA, so they could give it a try.

    1. bigtimehustler

      Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

      That's very true, the electricity thing is right on the money. Electricity suppliers have facilited most goods and financial crimes in the past 90 years. They should obviously be shut down.

    2. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

      The don't host the servers. Thats the thing. All they do is cache content from hundreds of *thousands* of servers they are not legally responsible for.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

      But really, the judge is perfectly right. Attacking Cloudflare for hosting infringing sites is like attacking those who make roads for facilitating a criminal's getaway.

      The problem with your analogy about road makers is that it is fundamentally the same argument as "guns don't kill people, people kill people", or that social media sites like Facebook, and even so-called bulletproof website operators, should not be held in any way responsible for the content that they serve. Perhaps you hold both of these beliefs too, which would be fair enough, but they don't really cut much ice with many people.

      I haven't read the full judgment, but the judge's reasoning described in the article is quite different - "The plaintiffs have not presented evidence from which a jury could conclude that Cloudflare’s performance-improvement services materially contribute to copyright infringement". i.e. As far as it can be imperfectly applied to your analogy, Cloudflare's road improvements did not help facilitate a criminal's getaway.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

        it is fundamentally the same argument as "guns don't kill people, people kill people"

        Yes, you are right. But that doesn't change the correctness of this ruling.

        The guns argument is about whether the law should make selling guns illegal, or impose various restrictions (licences, background checks, reporting, ...) on the process. In no case is there any suggestion that gun shops who follow the relevant laws should then be held responsible for deaths by guns.

        Similarly, there could be a reasonable discussion about whether network acceleration should be illegal because it facilitates copyright infringement. But there is no case that Cloudflare (or even Facebook) should be held responsible for the content served using their service.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

        "I haven't read the full judgment, but the judge's reasoning described in the article is quite different"

        I've read it. The judgement is in terms of what the plaintiffs were actually claiming.

        The nub of the complaint against Cloudflare AIUI is that it made the website load faster. In terms of the analogy it's like blaming the road makers for laying down black top over a rough track which enabled a faster getaway. Long story short - it didn't make any difference, they'd have gotten away anyway.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

        "the same argument as "guns don't kill people, people kill people", or that social media sites like Facebook, and even so-called bulletproof website operators, should not be held in any way responsible for the content that they serve."

        Absolutely not. Cloudflare host the data and present it as requested, they are (almost) a dumb pipe facilitating traffic. Facebook is a very active curator of it's feed. Every single post, feed, ad, etc etc that everyone sees on Facebook is specifically selected by Facebook's algorithms to maximise that person's engagement, and so Facebook is acting as an editor and therefore should be (is*) responsible (and legally liable*) for every tiniest smidgen of content that anyone sees on Facebook.

        *in a perfect world

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

        I actually AVOIDED using the gun analogy to support the O.P's. argument. Have my downvote.

      5. ES-Trainwreck

        Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

        Trollface

        >>Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

        >>But really, the judge is perfectly right. Attacking Cloudflare for hosting infringing sites is like attacking >>those who make roads for facilitating a criminal's getaway.

        >The problem with your analogy about road makers is that it is fundamentally the same argument as >"guns don't kill people, people kill people", or that social media sites like Facebook, and even so->called bulletproof website operators, should not be held in any way responsible for the content that >they serve. Perhaps you hold both of these beliefs too, which would be fair enough, but they don't >really cut much ice with many people.

        >I haven't read the full judgment, but the judge's reasoning described in the article is quite different - >"The plaintiffs have not presented evidence from which a jury could conclude that Cloudflare’s >performance-improvement services materially contribute to copyright infringement". i.e. As far as it >can be imperfectly applied to your analogy, Cloudflare's road improvements did not help facilitate a >criminal's getaway.

        With your logic, it would make sense then that Cloudfare can now be the conductor, engineer, and run all the major Fortune 1000 railroad systems combined.

        What happens when the conductor decides to turn the content arbitrarily in the direction of rail way that goes off a cliff? Or better yet, a day to day internet user who isn't a bot, but gets his content redirected to an arbitrary locale, at the time the conductor desires.

        All is highly switchable to "third" man in the loop, while the internet is great for keeping "stateful" connections - those are called "secured". Transparency means, you have so many hops, and time to live, not setting a user up as a hostage to an non-engineered, non-credentialed or non-regulated set of cables, switches, or disaster prone region of the world.

        And for that matter what if I want to "upload" data to my service - the speeds are 1990's dial up modem speeds, why? Download is great, but how do you keep a stateful and secure connection without know where the IPV4 or IPV6 connection gets tunneled without a MAC instead a Lexical search.

        I see missing from Cloudfare almost identical regulatory standards any railroad company is mandated with. And it's only short time before it catches up. Much is confusing to any legal officer, but once you look at it from a railroad Conductor or Engineer perspective, you will see the same exact issues, which in essence would you want Cloudfare directing your train down some unknown path???

    4. Joseba4242

      Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

      As others have commented the problem with the "roads" argument is that is justifies any and all support for criminal activities.

      Take banks for example. With the same "roads" argument you could say that banks are just providing the transport of money (legal and illegal) just like roads provide transport for goods (legal and illegal). So banks shouldn't have to do any money laundry and customer checks and should be allowed just to serve any customer.

      Some may think that this is right but it's certainly not a majority view.

    5. jollyboyspecial

      Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

      "Attacking Cloudflare for hosting infringing sites is like attacking those who make roads for facilitating a criminal's getaway."

      Cloudflare don't even host the sites in question. Those sites just use some of Cloudflare's infrastructure cleverness.

      You may as well sue every single ISP in the world on the grounds that they allow access to these sites.

      1. Draco
        Big Brother

        Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

        >> You may as well sue every single ISP in the world on the grounds that they allow access to these sites.

        Of course they should be held liable - we can't allow people access to illegal material - and ISPs are the primary means by which people are introduced to the seedy criminality that is the Internet. These noble, law-abiding (and naively gullible) citizens are turned onto the path of plunder and piracy. And having been so depraved, these former citizens continue their antisocial spiral and become the saboteurs - the rogues - who will destroy civilization from the inside. It is a rot and cancer that MUST be eradicated. Think of the children.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "We agree with the district court’s reasoning"

      Attacking Cloudflare for hosting infringing sites is like attacking those who make roads for facilitating a criminal's getaway.

      I had a few other analogies in mind, but this one is pretty clear and "a good match" where comparisons are concerned.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    FAIL

    Missing the point

    Cloudflare and their fans like to use analogies like postal service, road builders, and power companies. Illegal stuff happens and it's nobody's fault. What if a road builder knows that they are building a road for a criminal to move stolen goods? What if the postal service knows that packages from a certain individual always contains stolen credit cards, illegal drugs, or weapons? How about if a customer asks for more power delivery to their illegal poppy greenhouse and opioid factory? Yeah, they'd all get in trouble.

    Cloudflare has no defense because they know exactly who their criminal customers are and they willingly profit from it. Cloudflare even goes the extra mile to help their criminal customers stay anonymous after crimes have been reported to them.

    At least once a month I get spams for clusters of obviously fake stores on Cloudflare. They have a cloned dozens of websites, JavaScript malware, display fake security certifications, and are taking credit cards with zero encryption. Cloudflare gives zero fucks when told about it. That's when they start breaking the law.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missing the point

      When it comes to making money off of pirating music or movies, Cloudflare loses in court, because the music/film industry is bigger. (Although nobody at Cloudflare would go jail, as a single individual downloading a single ripped item of IP could face.)

      "Cloudflare and RIAA Agree on Tailored Site Blocking Process" [ torrentfreak ]

      Wedding dress designers - an honest business if there ever was one - are small fry, so they lose in court. Crony capitalism. Cloudflare goons are happy to sell out their fellow citizens trying to make an honest buck. Lowest of the low.

      1. msobkow Silver badge

        Re: Missing the point

        No, Cloudflare loses in that case because the very act of *transporting* the music and movies and tv shows is illegal under copyright and the US legal system. They would NOT, however, lose in Canada, because we don't try to hold providers to blame for what their users and clients do with the products and services they sell. We go after the one who is actually PERFORMING the illegal activity, and the RCMP have had a lot of success with shutting down Chinese piracy in Canada both at storefronts and online.

        The US is just lazy and inefficient. They have no national police force with the resources and mission to tackle the problem, so they try to dump the issue on other people in society, like Cloudflare and *American* courts that have nothing to do with *Chinese* pirates.

        *We* work *with* the Chinese to take down drug labs and pirates, even though they'll never serve time here in Canada, they do in China. Good enough. Another piece of scum out of the world's way for a few years...

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Missing the point

          We go after the one who is actually PERFORMING the illegal activity

          This. The person who is performing the illegal activity is the one who should be punished... why is this so hard to see? The fact that they are out of your jurisdiction is a problem for treaty resolution, not one of setting the lawyers on whoever is nearest and has even a peripheral connection.

          The US seems to have a blame anyone but me culture... the reason people will copy existing products, with varying degrees of similitude but always at a cheaper price than the original, is that most people *don't care* about the label - and they will buy things that look like the original if they can get it a buck or two cheaper.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Missing the point

            Cloudflare & goons MAKES MONEY off of being a portal for criminals. Aiding and abetting. You are ripping off your fellow Americans. Zero respect for that racket. It's not even like you need the extra money - just pure selfish greed. Despicable traitors.

            1. captain veg Silver badge

              Re: Missing the point

              What the court seems to have misunderstood (or the prosecution failed to explain) is that reason why the counterfeiters use Cloudflare has little or nothing to do with "providing technical services to those sites" and everything to do with obfuscating where the offending content is hosted.

              You can argue that it's a failure of DNS, but the fact of the matter is that when the DNS records point directly to the hosting company, as is usually the case, then you can easily find out who to complain to, and reputable hosters have acceptable use policies that explicitly prohibit illegal and antisocial behaviour. When DNS leads you to Cloudflare you're stuck. They are completely unresponsive to complaint.

              -A.

        2. Snake Silver badge

          Re: Missing the point

          No, Cloudflare loses in that case because the very act of *transporting* the music and movies and tv shows is illegal under copyright and the US legal system. They would NOT, however, lose in Canada, because we don't try to hold providers to blame for what their users and clients do with the products and services they sell. We go after the one who is actually PERFORMING the illegal activity, and the RCMP have had a lot of success with shutting down Chinese piracy in Canada both at storefronts and online.

          The US is just lazy and inefficient. They have no national police force with the resources and mission to tackle the problem, so they try to dump the issue on other people in society, like Cloudflare and *American* courts that have nothing to do with *Chinese* pirates.

          Let's use an analogy to examine this topic from s different light, something that hasn't occurred to most people.

          If an author writes a book that plagiarized, violated the copyright, of another book, and is published.

          Ok, who violated the copyright? The writer who wrote the book, or the publisher who distributes the work for him?

          Easy to say "They are lazy and do it wrong", but using analogies of traditional methods like print instead of electronic like the web shows it isn't cut and dry. If, classically, a publisher is shown as being as liable for copyright infringement when they produce and distribute a work with the violation, why should a distribution system that is only based on a different technology get an automatic and assumed "free pass"?

          I'm not saying that this topic is VERY, VERY complicated. Making a host liable for the speech of its users can be a HUGE trap on regards to freedoms of thought and speech. But it's amazing that, almost everyone, is currently trying to hold Facebook's feet to the fire of keeping their users, their content creators, in line - because doing so currently agrees with most people's personal or political objectives. But then they say "Hands off!" when the same tactic is attempted against a website...that isn't Facebook.

          Well, which one is it?

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Missing the point

            "If an author writes a book that plagiarized, violated the copyright, of another book, and is published[, o]k, who violated the copyright? The writer who wrote the book, or the publisher who distributes the work for him?"

            Good analogy. Let's use that. They are both liable, and for a very specific reason. Both of them know what is in that book. The publisher knows because the publisher reviewed it. The publisher employs editors for that purpose, because they're restrictive about what they publish. They therefore know a crime is being committed.

            Here are some people who are not liable: the paper mill, the printer, the bookbinder, the delivery driver, the book storage warehouse, and the book shop. Here are some people who might or might not be liable: the literary agent, the illustrator, the copy editor (if there is a separate editor who looks for typos and grammatical problems), and the contents of the acknowledgements section.

            The thing which determines whether those listed under "might be liable" are or not is whether they know the crime is taking place. For the same reason, the people listed under "not liable" are there because they don't know about the crime. And that is the situation here. CloudFlare is useful to criminals, but it didn't design itself in that way, it is useful to law-abiding people as well, and it doesn't know which is which. In addition, they comply with the laws that currently exist which restrict what services they can provide.

            If you want service providers to individually monitor what the customer is doing in order to more quickly enforce the law, you can pass a law to that effect. Such laws have been proposed before, but most countries don't have one. In my opinion, that's a very bad idea, but if enough people disagree, you can do it anyway. Until you do, don't expect companies to voluntarily do so.

            1. Snake Silver badge

              Re: knowledge and the law

              Well, as you know, prosecutors will willingly remind you that 'Ignorance of the law is not a defence'. Knowing, or not knowing, that you are violating a law [somewhere] does not get you out of penalty for breaking such law.

              Such is the operation of our systems.

              You are correct, the paper mill is not responsible as they created blank paper only. The bookbinder is actually responsible because that is part of the publication process and is therefore employed by the publisher et al. The delivery driver and the book seller could be considered an accessory, but they do not bother with prosecuting such 'distant' events and consider them 'innocent' as they were completely unaware of the conditions under which this item was created.

              "Created" is a good word. CloudFlare helps "create" the web presence of the violated material in question. But, OH BOY, is this a issue a disaster waiting to happen. How exactly *is* CloudFlare supposed to enforce a topic such as copyright? Have a database of every single word ever printed by man, and a cross-reference to its copyright status?? The best they can do is respond to take-down requests when they are presented.

              Best I can say: I'm glad I'm not the one making these judgement calls.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: knowledge and the law

                Many crimes do in fact require that the person doing them must know that they are committing a crime. It doesn't always apply, for instance the author who committed the plagiarism doesn't have to know that it's illegal, but someone who binds the book does not know of its contents and would not be charged because they didn't commit a crime. Usually, it's the accessory or aiding charges that require knowledge, and that's the charge that would be leveled against most of the people on the "might" list.

      2. Jonathon Green

        “ Wedding dress designers - an honest business if there ever was one …”

        You *so* do not want to go there…

        If ever there was an industry which I’d cheerfully see boarded and sunk with all hands by pirates it’s the wedding industry and all who sail in it.

        Guilt-tripping vulnerable young people (and their families) into sinking tens of thousands of pounds (or dollars, or whatever) in debt to pay for a shallow consumerist orgy of single use froth at a point where they’ve got far better things to do with their time, money, and energy is an honest business in the same way as dealing crack, and just about as useful.

        I’ve seen relationships destroyed and families torn apart by this shit…

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: “ Wedding dress designers - an honest business if there ever was one …”

          Wait, are you talking about the wedding industry or the music industry?

          1. Jonathon Green

            Re: “ Wedding dress designers - an honest business if there ever was one …”

            You mean I have to pick one?

            Tough call…

      3. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Missing the point

        Not enough upvotes.

        While suing Cloudflare is frivolous bollocks, American corporations and the civil courts are as corrupt as it gets in the history of mankind.

    2. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Missing the point

      I originally read this story on another site, and on there they mentioned that the infringing website is only using a free Cloudflare account, so Cloudflare aren't even making money off this user.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Missing the point

      "Cloudflare and their fans like to use analogies like postal service, road builders, and power companies. Illegal stuff happens and it's nobody's fault."

      It very obviously is somebody's fault. It's the fault of those who post the stuff to the website. However the plaintiff's lawyers will argue (to the plaintiff) that the most they can be sued for is pennies because that's all they have but here's a big corporation, Cloudflare. They have money. The fact that Cloudflare is simply, blindly passing 1s and 0s along, just like the ISPs or anyone else in the transmission chain is not made obvious to the plaintiffs until they go to court. They lose but no doubt their lawyers still get paid.

      The best way of stopping it would probably be to send cease and desist letters to the hosting companies. That would give them the option of suing if the offending material isn't taken down but unless the hosting company ignores it there's no money to be made out of that.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Missing the point

        > The best way of stopping it would probably be to send cease and desist letters to the hosting companies.

        This is true. But how do you identify the hosting companies when they are hidden behind Cloudflare's anonymising service?

        -A.

  3. msobkow Silver badge

    "We can't sue Chinese con-artists, and you have technology and money, so guess what? We're tagging you 'it' for our lawsuit." *drags greedy knuckles*

    1. Martin Silver badge
      FAIL

      I don't think that's at all fair.

      "We can't sue Chinese con-artists, and we're losing money as a result of the illegal activity of said Chinese con-artists. You, however, are enabling the Chinese con-artists, and making money from them, without trying to do anything about their illegal activity. Hence, we're going to try a lawsuit on you to see if we can persuade you to do something about this."

      Not greedy - just getting sick of being ripped off.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Stop

        Incorrect

        Suing the toll road for damages is utterly insane.

        They have no idea what's on the trucks, and no real way of finding out while still being able to provide the legitimate service. They aren't Customs and Excise.

        Have they also sued the USPS for transporting the finished goods?

        Asking the court to tell the toll road not to allow certain individuals or companies to use their road would be reasonable, and far more likely to win.

        Cloudflare would of course shut down specific accounts if so ordered by the court.

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      I am not entirely comfortable that clothing and fashion should be copyrightable. The point about fashion is that people want to wear the latest and greatest thing that everybody else is wearing. I don't see that copyright helps in that market.

      Ultimately fashion leaders want people to copy them and people want copies that's what the fashion is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I am not entirely comfortable that <books> should be copyrightable. The point about <books> is that people want to <read> the latest and greatest thing that everybody else is <read>ing. I don't see that copyright helps in that market.

        Ultimately <authors> want people to copy them and people want copies that's what <copyright theft> is.

        1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

          Analogy mismatch

          The analogy between <fashion item> and <book> is that there exist saleable copies of copyrightable prototypes of both items. The wedding gown could very well be a copyrightable design, and people who want to have copies need to license the design. Similarly, publishers have to do a copyright deal with authors in order to sell copies of the book.

          I suppose that the OP was remarking on the curious situation that a novel clothing design does not become 'a fashion' until it has been copied extensively so that many people can wear it. The book analogy would not be the situation where a book becomes a runaway best-seller, more as if a thousand authors started writing stories using the original characters and scenario. Fan fiction, come to think of it.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge
  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever happened to John Bunt?

  5. sketharaman

    Aiding and Abetting

    Had the plaintiffs gone after the hosting or payment service provider of the alleged copyright-infringing websites, I somehow think the judge's decision might have been different. In one Michael Connelly novel, the outsourced digital marketer of an escorts agency website gets sued for prostitution. The court's verdict was that, the digital marketer is culpable if s/he takes its fees in the form of a commission on the escort agency's sales but is not culpable if they receive a flat fee. End of the day, this debate revolves around the exact remit and boundary of "aiding and abetting", which, as we all know, is a crime like the original crime.

  6. Martin Silver badge

    A lot of support for Cloudflare here...

    ...and not a lot for a relatively small bridal wear company.

    What happened to a bit of sympathy and support for the little guy?

    For the avoidance of doubt, I don't think it's unreasonable that Cloudflare won their case - apart from anything else, it opens a huge can of worms.

    However...

    Every time those two businesses shut down copycat retailers that were ripping off their dress designs and selling the clothes online, new websites would pop up to replace the counterfeiters.

    It must be so frustrating to find that your hard work and design is just being ripped off for profit, by people who are making no attempt to do anything more than leech off someone else's hard work. And if Cloudflare aren't making any attempt to be proactive in stopping this happening - or, worse still, making it easy for people to do this - I can't blame the bridal company for being upset with them.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: A lot of support for Cloudflare here...

      Because it's not Cloudflare's fault. The blame lies solely on the website stealing the IP.

      1. Martin Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: A lot of support for Cloudflare here...

        I didn't say it was Cloudflare's fault. I said I'd like to see a bit of sympathy for the little guy.

        I've had, at a very trivial level, my own IP stolen. People have copied stuff I've put on the internet, word for word, and passed it off as their own. It feels pretty shit. I can't imagine what it must be like to see people actually nicking my designs, which actually keep me in food and shelter, and selling them as their own. It's no wonder they are casting around for someone to try to help them stop this happening.

        And, as far as I can see, Cloudflare aren't doing anything to even try to stop it. They are just saying "Nothing to do with me". No wonder the bridal company are are pissed off.

        I get that they are probably suing the wrong people. I get that Cloudflare probably can't do much about this. I just think that a bit more sympathy is called for.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: A lot of support for Cloudflare here...

      "What happened to a bit of sympathy and support for the little guy?"

      A few things happened. The most important one is that they decided to sue someone who isn't guilty. That kills sympathy fast.

      It's certainly sad to see someone lose out to a criminal, and I would not in any way support the criminal, but it isn't automatically the case that any victim of crime is otherwise sympathetic. I know nothing about the company other than what is in the article, and the only decision I see was one I don't support. For all I know, this is a copyright troll whose fashion designs are general enough that they sue everybody small enough to extort. I won't assume that, but it's as possible as their being otherwise blameless. Therefore, I must make my decision based on the limited facts at my disposal or go researching to find more.

  7. Sixtiesplastictrektableware Bronze badge

    As Cloudfare is a host, if they start rooting through sites for criminals, wouldn't they get burned for discriminating against user content at some point?

    However, I suspect that if the vested interest was higher profile like say, Hugo Versace or Jordashing, the first concern would diminish significantly.

    Did not a great writer once greatly write (or maybe steal 'cuz I dunno where it comes from) or type or even scrawl on a bathroom stall:

    Twas ever thus?

    1. hayzoos

      lack of understanding - part of the problem

      Cloudflare is not a host. Cloudflare is a CDN content delivery network which still doesn't describe basically what they do. They allow faster, more reliable, and less latent delivery of the content hosted on any website. Irrelevant to the discussion, they have branched out to related services. Their ability to deliver in such a manner precludes them from examining the content they are delivering.

      They are not the sandwich shop, they are the doordash. The wedding dress company may as well be suing DHL or UPS or FedEx for delivering the counterfeit goods.

  8. jollyboyspecial

    What you're dealing with here is a bunch of Chinese counterfeiters. Going after them is almost impossible. You can't sue them in the US courts as they have no jurisdiction. You can't sue in the Chinese courts because the Chinese courts don't care.* So you try to sue somebody in the US. They could have chosen to go after the couriers who delivered the counterfeit goods, but they chose to go after Cloudflare. In this case there is absolutely no difference. Some people have failed to read the story and claim that Cloudflare were hosting these sites. They weren't. If you can't understand Cloudflare's services then go away and read up on them rather than blaming Cloudflare for providing a service they don't actually provide.

    *There have been plenty of cases where manufacturers have sued in the Chinese courts because some Chinese manufacturer is selling a poor quality facsimile of a western product and the Chinese courts have found in the counterfeiter's favour. One famous case was a car manufacturer (BMW I think) sued in the Chinese courts somebody who was selling something that looked remarkably like one of the complainants SUVs. The court stated that there was no similarity in the designs.

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