December 20, 2021
It was recently reported that Cloudflare, Inc. (“Cloudflare”), a website security firm, successfully defended a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against it by Mon Cheri Bridals (“Mon Cheri”) and Maggie Sottero Designs (“Maggie Sottero”), two U.S. wedding dress companies.
Mon Cheri and Maggie Sottero initiated the lawsuit against Cloudflare after discovering that several counterfeit websites, which employed Cloudflare, were using their copyrighted images to sell dresses. The plaintiffs argued that Cloudflare contributed to the copyright infringement because the company did not end the services for the websites that infringed upon the dressmakers’ copyrighted designs, despite stating in its terms and conditions that any violation of law justified the termination of its services.
Upon review, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria found that there was no indication that Cloudflare’s services were an essential step in the infringement process. Accordingly, the court concluded that Cloudflare did not materially contribute to the alleged infringement.
Cloudflare declined to comment on the results of the decision. However, in a blog post, the company noted that “While we cannot prevent online infringement, we’ve set up abuse processes to assist copyright holders to address the issue by connecting them with the hosting providers and website operators actually able to take such content off the Internet”.
Authors: Matthew Erdman and Mark Leonard