In mid-December, the European Commission published its latest Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, a report that provides an outlook on all the piracy-associated platforms on the internet. The United States has its own version that’s generally longer than its EU counterpart, but the aim behind these reports remains the same. They want to name digital platforms that cause copyright infringement and hence lead to revenue loss for the entertainment market and many other industries.
Now, digital platforms come in various shapes and sizes. While some offer copyrighted content such as mainstream movies and TV series, others only concentrate on music and video games. Others solely focus on ebooks and software applications.
However, the platform that tries to offer all types of content in all forms is The Pirate Bay. It is considered the king of the torrenting industry for many reasons, and the wide variety of content it offers is one of them.
We should mention here that the European Commission report doesn’t just name The Pirate Bay as the cause of all piracy on the internet. It names plenty of other digital platforms as well. It even lists legitimate platforms, like Telegram, that are intentionally or unintentionally causing mass piracy. Interestingly, common file-storage services such as Google Drive didn’t make the list, despite their potential to be used to host copyrighted content.
Many industries have criticized web infrastructure and domain name service providers like Cloudflare for providing their services to other platforms that engage in offering pirated content. Not only that, Cloudflare has been known to mask IP addresses for such services as well.
All of this makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to go after sites like The Pirate Bay. Cloudflare doesn’t provide contact information about the developers and administrators behind torrenting platforms as readily as content-producing companies would like them to.
For its part, though, Cloudflare has mostly maintained that it tried to take all the necessary steps such as a robust abuse reporting system to make sure that copyright holder groups can access all the necessary information to not only pursue complaints of copyright infringements with various hosting providers but also bring website operators to justice. Due to these efforts, Cloudflare wasn’t included in the new Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List.