In June, the US Copyright Claims Board was launched.
Through this venue, hosted at the US Copyright Office, rightsholders can try to recoup alleged damages outside the federal court system.
More than one hundred and fifty cases have been filed thus far. Some of these have been dismissed for administrative reasons or opt-outs, but the board has yet to issue its first verdict.
A few days ago a new case was added to the growing pile of claims. It features popular reading app AnyStories, which allows independent authors to share their writings in public and earn revenue from them, going up against Cloudflare.
Like any type of content that’s published online, AnyStories’ content is easily copied. This is a thorn in the side of the app’s creators, Singapore company READ ASAP LTD, which has taken action in response.
From Google to Cloudflare
The company sent DMCA takedown notices to Google which removed hundreds of infringing links from its search results in response. The pirate sites themselves typically remained online, so further action was needed.
Hoping for a breakthrough, AnyStories also sent DMCA notices to Cloudflare, calling out Infobagh.com as a pirate site. While Cloudflare provides CDN services for that site, it’s not the hosting company. This means that Cloudflare generally doesn’t intervene.
Instead, Cloudflare shared the name and contact information of the site’s hosting company (24xservice) and asked ‘READ ASAP’ to follow the issue up with them.
AnyStories tried, but says that the email address provided for the hosting company didn’t work. The company wasn’t pleased with Cloudflare’s handling of the case and, on several occasions, asked the company to do more.
“As a network service provider, you have the obligation to provide us with information to help us defend our rights. You have not provided us with valid information. Our infringement is ongoing and if you do not take any action now, we will take action to protect our rights.”
Copyright Claims Board Threats
The app’s creators asked Cloudflare to contact the host on its behalf to ensure the infringing content was removed.
“Pls deal with this matter immediately, pls contact the hosting provider immediately and ask them to remove the infringing web!!!!” READ ASAP wrote.
“If you do not deal with this matter now, based on the DMCA, we have informed you several times, but you did not do your duty of care, we will directly file a claim against you at Copyright Claims Board.”
Cloudflare has no legal obligation under the DMCA to contact its customers’ hosting companies but it does forward takedown notices. However, that wasn’t enough for AnyStories, which followed up on its threats by filing a complaint at the Copyright Claims Board.
The claim lists one infobagh.com URL where a copy of a story titled “The Silver Hope” by David Travilla Tacadena is made available. However, READ ASAP stresses that infringements are causing a decline in revenues for other authors too.
With its complaint the company hopes to stop the piracy. In addition, an apology would be appreciated as well.
“We hope that the pirated websites will apologize to us and immediately remove our exclusive works. We tried many ways to leave messages often without contacting the infringing website. Finally, we tried to find the service provider, but they cannot give the invalid message and don’t deal with it,” the claim reads.
Interestingly, there is no request for monetary damages. Also, the literary work that’s listed is not yet registered at the U.S. Copyright Office, which is required before the Copyright Claims Board can take on the case.
The above means that AnyStories still has some work to do before the case can continue and Cloudflare can still choose to opt out of the proceeding. If that’s the case, the app’s creators will need to hire an attorney and go to federal court to pursue their claim.