Server Obfuscation Explained

January 28, 2020

An online information service published an article about copyright enforcement: “Patreon Can’t Solve Its P#rn Pirate Problem.” Why can’t a service block its customers who are allegedly violating copyright?

Here’s the legal explanation:

Despite its gung-ho statement to Kotaku two years ago, Patreon now says its terms of service effectively tie its hands. “We can’t do anything,” says Colin Sullivan, Patreon’s head of legal. “We don’t enforce [copyright] because we don’t have a license to the content.” In other words, it’s legally on Patreon’s creators to enforce copyright on their own work.

Here’s a technical explanation about how Yiff Party remains difficult to pin down:

Yiff.Party’s backend is a bit of a chimera by design. Dozes employs a bit of tech called a “reverse proxy.” A typical proxy obfuscates the identity of the user accessing a server; a reverse proxy hides the identity of the server the client accesses. Between Yiff.Party’s server and the website sits another server. “’s main server stays hidden because the ‘real’ IP address isn’t being exposed since traffic is routed through a proxy,” says Dozes. Reverse proxies aren’t uncommon; large sites might use one to help them run faster. “It’s essentially a VPN, but for a website,” Dozes says. “If our real hosting provider found out they hosted the site, we would be at risk of losing all our data.”

Interesting, particularly the idea of “creators.”

Stephen E Arnold, January 28, 2020


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