Last year, Texas-based model Deniece Waidhofer sued Thothub for copyright infringement after the site’s users posted many of her ‘exclusive’ photos.
Soon after the complaint was filed at the federal court Thothub went offline. This prompted Waidhofer to change priorities.
In an amended complaint Waidhofer shifted the focus to third-party services such as Cloudflare. At the same time, fellow OnlyFans creators Ryuu Lavitz and Margaret McGhee, better known as OMGcosplay, joined the lawsuit looking for retribution.
Cloudflare as Piracy Facilitator?
The trio accused Cloudflare of both direct and contributory copyright infringement. They argued that the company made copies of their copyrighted works on its servers and deliberately marketed its service to pirate sites such as Thothub.
Cloudflare clearly disagreed with these allegations and asked the court to dismiss these claims. A few weeks ago, US District Court Judge Fernando M. Olguin ruled on the matter with a mixed order.
Judge Olguin concluded that the direct copyright infringement claim was ungrounded. Even if Cloudflare temporarily stored the infringing material, there was no evidence that the company committed voluntary acts that caused the infringing activity.
The OnlyFans creators were allowed to amend their complaint with further evidence. The contributory copyright infringement claims also survived the motion to dismiss, which means that the matter could go to trial. However, a new filing shows that this isn’t going to happen.
A few days ago the models informed the court that all remaining claims against Cloudflare have been dropped, which means that the case is closed.
“Plaintiffs Deniece Waidhofer, Margaret McGehee, and Ryuu Lavitz, LLC and their counsel of record give notice that the remaining claims in this action are hereby dismissed without prejudice,” the filing reads.
In addition to dropping the claims against Cloudflare, the OnlyFans creators also dismissed their claims against the other defendants. This includes the advertising company MultiMedia, also known as Chaturbate, which was actively used by Thothub in the past.
There is no further information that explains why the case has been dropped. TorrentFreak’s request for comment remains unanswered by the plaintiffs’ attorney. Cloudflare’s press department hasn’t responded to our inquiry either.
Without further details, we can only speculate on what happened. One option is that the parties managed to settle the matter out of court. When that happens, the details of the agreement are usually kept out of public view.
Update November 4: After publication, a Cloudflare spokesperson informed us that there was no settlement agreement in this case. We have updated the article to make this clear.
A recent court ruling in a similar piracy liability lawsuit may have played a role too. A week before the models dismissed their lawsuit, a California federal court ruled that Cloudflare is not contributorily liable for copyright infringement.
In that case, Judge Vince Chhabria concluded that neither Cloudflare’s CDN service nor its IP-address obfuscation system materially contributed to the alleged copyright infringements of its customers.