The American Entertainment Software Association Needs Cloudflare to Share Operator Information To Fight Piracy Websites Based On Copyright

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has turned its attention towards pirate websites in South America, seeking to crack down on illegal distribution of games. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), ESA has issued subpoenas to Cloudflare, a major internet service provider, in order to obtain information about the operators of these pirate websites. ESA, a prominent gaming industry organization in the United States, counts major companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and Disney among its members. In a recent report, ESA identified several websites involved in pirating games and is now seeking to uncover the individuals behind these operations. One website in particular has proved elusive, prompting ESA to request information from Cloudflare, which offers a range of internet services to enterprises worldwide. While Cloudflare is known for its support of freedom of speech, the company has faced criticism in the past for providing services to organizations labeled as terrorist groups by the U.S. government.


Cloudflare previously provided services to the forum 8chan, known for its anonymity but also notorious for hosting illegal content such as child pornography and discussions on random murders. The 2019 El Paso shooting, where the perpetrator confessed on 8chan, led to national outrage and prompted Cloudflare to terminate its services to the site. Cloudflare was also linked to the pirated manga website “Mangamura” in Japan, only handing over the operator’s information when faced with legal action. Despite these instances, Cloudflare generally prioritizes customer protection and only discloses information when required by law. Consequently, the consequences of the Entertainment Software Association’s recent actions against Cloudflare will be closely monitored.


You can find the ESA’s support declaration for the DMCA subpoena here (pdf) and the issued subpoena itself here (pdf).

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