French Recording Industry Sues SourceForge For Hosting Open Source P2P

from the yikes dept

It would appear that Société civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SPPF), a group that represents French record labels, is now trying to sue a bunch of non-French file sharing applications, as well as SourceForge. This brings up a lot of different issues, so let's break them out one by one.
  • This lawsuit came about thanks to a ruling in a French court over how to interpret a French law. SPPF contends that French law says that any application that allows unauthorized file sharing is illegal. However, what was unclear, was whether or not this law could be applied to companies outside of France. The recent ruling found that, indeed, it's acceptable to extend French laws beyond its borders. This should be seen as hugely problematic just from a jurisdiction standpoint. It's difficult to see how France can claim that its laws should apply to companies entirely outside of France.
  • Now that it's been allowed, SPPF is suing three companies who offer software: Vuze, Limewire and Morpheus. What's troubling is that even beyond an "inducement" standard, SPPF seems to be basing the lawsuits on the idea that if your software allows any unauthorized copying, then the software itself is illegal. Say goodbye to FTP and, well, the entire internet next.
  • Finally, and most bizarrely, SPPF is also suing SourceForge, which is just a hosting platform for open source developers. The problem there (according to SPPF) is that SourceForge hosts the open source Shareaza file sharing app. It would appear that SPPF did so little research in figuring out who to sue, that it seems to think SourceForge is somehow responsible for Shareaza, rather than just hosting it.
Hopefully, the courts will come to their senses and realize, on all three of these issues, that the SPPF is out of line. But given the way some courts (especially in France) have ruled in the past, that seems unlikely.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Dufus, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 7:16pm

    Fuk Frace and them frenchys.

     

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    French Toast, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 7:50pm

    Oui oui, nous rendons. Veuillez ne pas nous poursuivre.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 8:28pm

    "Hopefully, the courts will come to their senses and realize, on all three of these issues, that the SPPF is out of line."

    See there is the mistake right there, people are so arrogant and big headed especially when they hold power that the usually loose any common sense that they had to begin with.

    Here is my question, how are they going to enforce these laws? If I am in the U.S. where laws are different how or why should I care what some French judge says and how are they going to do anything to me about it unless they want to break international laws to come and get me, although I guess the U.S. would be just as stupid to listen to them and then just send me over there.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:05pm

    hey leave my emule alone.

    been using it since 2001, it be a pain to switch to a new network now.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:12pm

      Re:

      "SPPF contends that French law says that any application that allows unauthorized file sharing is illegal."

      are they going to sure Microsoft for Msn?
      Yahoo for messenger?
      and Aol for messenger as well?
      how about ICQ, or mIRC.

      all those applications CAN be used for illegal file sharing (except for IRC those aren't exactly the most efficient way, but they fall in that category)

       

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    The infamous Joe, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:21pm

    Just you wait..

    Next they'll make the leap to suing people who make hardware that runs software that potentially allows you to share files in an unauthorized manner..

    ..then they'll sue people who make people who use hardware that runs software that can share files in an unauthorized manner!

    SPPF vs. The human race! Booyah!

     

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      Cougar357 H4B, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 12:43am

      Re: Just you wait..

      You forgot the utility companies that provide the electricity to power the hardware that can run the software that could potentially share files in an unauthorized manner ;)

      I completely see your point. It's like those morons that sued McDonald's after they spilled hot coffee on themselves and got burned. Usually, when I spill a notoriously hot liquid on myself, it is hot, and I might burn myself. In the real world, that is called being clumsy...not being the victim of a corporate coffee skin burning conspiracy.

       

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        Silent-Hunter, Dec 18th, 2012 @ 3:11pm

        Re: Re: Just you wait..

        Actually, the hot coffee thing WAS the employee serving the coffee's fault. He handed it to her in such a way that forced her to spill it. So the suit was justified.

        This, however, is a bad suit.

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:33pm

    What do you think they'd do if they knew Vuze was also hosted on SF? Go for some sort of double whammy?

    Or do they already know, but not bring it up since, heck, they're already suing them both anyway? Nah.. that would require more sense than they apparently have.

     

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    Anonymous, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:48pm

    But you see good old barack obama wants to cooperate with the UN and every nation in it. So yea, i can see our government turning us all over to their courts for this, without batting an eye.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:50pm

    Thank god we elected someone that will stop shit like this, oh wait we didn't we vote for changing from a republic to socialism. O O O O O bama!

    10/04/08 will go down as the day the last president of the united states was elected.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:05pm

    Holy crap, the political fanatics are home from happy hour.

     

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    Jim, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:17pm

    No Show

    I really don't see a pressing need for any of the named companies to respond to them at all. I doubt any of said companies has any offices in said countries, and some might not have the means to send someone all the way to France.

    SF does have a mirror in France, but its just that a mirror.

     

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    Agonizing Fury, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:22pm

    Time to start my own French recording label

    Then I could sue the makers of pretty much any software that allows you to attach or upload/download files. Outlook, FTP, Internet explorer, Firefox, pretty much every useful internet application. I could make millions. Too bad I can't patent the idea, I could make millions just suing the people who try it.

     

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    Dan, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:30pm

    It's just the Napoleon complex.

     

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    mike allen, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 12:09am

    open sauce

    nn most open sauce P2P is used for downloading OS systems that appears to be what the users are about but i will check out the mentioned apps cause i never heard of them thanks SPPF.

     

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    identicon
    x, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 3:19am

    Does this not also cover any software that allows you to make a cd, or any software that lets you copy any file at all... i.e. every operating system out there?

     

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    Lucretious, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 4:28am

    God, why didn't we let Germany just plow this country into the dirt years ago....

     

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    Dennis Wind, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 5:42am

    How will they enforce it?

    This might be going hand in hand with the new international copyright laws that are being negotiated in secret.
    Someone in France sues someone in the US or Canada or ??? for copying a song and the cia/fbi/RCMP grab the culprit and turn him over the the Surtee.

     

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    Spoof, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:06am

    Next thing ya know, them Arrogant Frenchie BassTurds are going to sue the computer industry for supplying the vehicles necessary to share illegal files.....
    ya know,you know when ya know,
    Just have to have Sara go over and take care of it, I here she is good hunting buddies with the French President...

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:07am

    I'm shocked and dismayed

    It's an outrage that anyone would produce a product which could be used to hurt others ! Outrage I say.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:14am

    Whats more outrageous is that we would allow anyone to host that product! More outrageous I say!!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:22am

    Go to be someplace where it is against the law to eat snails (slimy little slugs in a shell), then get them to arrest the country of France... Makes about as much sense..

     

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    identicon
    Get A Clue, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:25am

    In France is it common for the courts to make such a mockery of themselves?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:28am

    Anybody hear any food French jokes lately???


    Yea, the French court system!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:35am

    If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times,
    The French are Morons!!!!!!!

     

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    identicon
    frenchy the french fry, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 8:15am

    Cut Em Off!

    Why don't we just isolate France so they can't leave their own boundaries on the internet. Dam* they get P.O.'d when people share their Celine Dion :P

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 8:31am

    ppft

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 8:47am

    I find it nothing short of amazing that some many persons weigh in with strong opinions (virtually all negative) without even having read a copy of the court opinion referred to in the article. They have no idea what the applicable law states, no idea of relevant prior court decisions that guide the court, no idea what the court actually decided and why, etc.

    It has been previously noted on this site that the internet has the salutory effect of stimulating reading. Unfortunately, it does not seem to impart critical thinking skills to many who rely upon it as an important source of information.

    In the law we have what is known as the "Best Evidence Rule", which basically means that the best and most reliable source of information contained in a document is the document itself, and not hearsay recollections by others that may or may not constitute an accurate representation of a document's contents.

    Since I have not read the opinion (a verified English translation of course since I am not fully conversant in French), I intend to reserve judgement unitl I can locate a verified copy and read it.

     

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      mike42 (profile), Nov 15th, 2008 @ 5:14pm

      Re:

      Yay, "Anonymous Coward" is a first year law student! He knows a "Best Evidence Rule", and therefore understands the entire French law system (even though he is not fully conversant in French) and can therefore relate this case better than anyone else.
      Sorry, but you are in the same boat as the rest of us. Regardless of your training in American, Canadian, or British law, it does not train you in French law. You are just being an arrogant jerk.

       

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        identicon
        annieimp, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 5:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Correction - If you wish to practice law in Quebec (Canada) you get the honour (horror?) of studying the Napoleonic code as well as British common law. While, unlike France, Quebec does have the presumption of innocence; for most legal dealings, it is the French system that is used.

        One benefit, you are not obliged to take the LSAT if you do not wish to practice outside of Quebec.

         

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      identicon
      Raelynn Marks, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 7:42pm

      Re: comment 29

      Okay, what? While there is quite a lot of frustrated bashing going on, the point of this article was to open a discussion about whether or not the courts in France actually believe that their laws apply to companies not based within France's borders. If that is the case, we are discussing possible outcomes and ramifications of this decision, albeit in a mostly negative and disbelieving they-said-what? sort of way. If what you are trying to say is that the people in this forum are idiots for believing this article without seeing the original information for themselves, you might consider the fact that an article is supposed to be a condensation of information from other sources. You could, if you wished to be more helpful in "imparting critical thinking skills," abstain from commenting until you found said outside sources, and then perhaps posted links to them. Or, you could go be an arrogant prick on someone else's website, leaving this particular doorway undarkened by your pointless criticism.

       

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    identicon
    some old guy, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 10:30am

    French Pop Artist

    Cut the french off the internet?

    I might literally cry if I was never able to see another Alizee video again. Seriously. Hell, almost brings a tear to my eye even when I do watch it.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

      Re: French Pop Artist

      What about Kate Ryan?

      And while we're at it, anything with a furry in it should probably be cut off into it's own interwebs too.

       

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    identicon
    Adam, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 12:10pm

    Will these idiots ban SMB, AFP, FTP, etc.? They CAN be used for illegal file exchange.

    A.

     

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    Myedvyed Polyevoy, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    Illogical extension

    If the theory is that any application which allows illegal sharing is itself, then logically the makers of software which allows copying files to disk should be primary targets for the suit. Of course, that would mean suing Microsoft, Apple, Red Hat, Mandriva, ...

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 4:37pm

    omg alizee is soooo frickin hot. thanks

     

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    mike42 (profile), Nov 15th, 2008 @ 5:30pm

    Seriously, though

    Since the government of France sees fit to allow a lawsuit against SourceForge, I think SourceForge (and any other websites concerned with filesharing, or freedom in general) should filter all French IPs. If the French people care, they will change the law. If they don't care, then there's no loss. There's just no reason (that I can think of) to expose a great hosting site like SourceForge to a risk like this.
    I further think that this should go for any country (or state) who tries to push their law onto the internet. It's a cheap and easy way (IMHO) to deal with this type of thing, Kentucky included!

     

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    identicon
    Bunny, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 6:53pm

    Depressing?

    It looks like even if RIAA is defeated in every court case in the U.S. and the laws are returned to the realm of sanity, the record companies will just use their RIAA counterpart in another country to work some jurisdiction magic over the internet. They can continue distorting the laws elsewhere and getting posse authorization elsewhere.

    As far as precendents are concerned, the U.S. already tried to shut down foreign gambling sites, so the internet jurisdiction issue is nothing new... and certainly not unique to France. China also is waging online attacks against torrent index sites outside of its borders. Seems kind of like the wild west, doesn't it?

    Every country wants jurisdiction over everything but doesn't want to give up its own jurisdiction. At some point this conflict will reach a crisis and the leaders will meet in a smoke-filled room and try to resolve their differences, but since they are all ignorant they will draw up yet another imperfect agreement designed to breathe life into obsolete revenue models and the rest of us will be screwed over for another decade.

    I wonder how many sales of music will be lost now that people the world over, fuming over the loss of services and freedoms unrelated to music, are going to be actively wishing the record companies to disappear?

     

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    Porkster, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 12:29am

    Well thats the end of Windows

    Did you know that Windows can copy files... and from other computers from a network. Bloody file sharing!!!!

    Windows will have to go!!!

    I wonder what zee frenchies are using on there computers while they are suing...

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 12:40am

      Re: Well thats the end of Windows

      lol. we both know that Microsoft would just spend up so much money in court costs that SPPF can't afford to sue them haha.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 12:38am

    limewire and other p2p programs doesn't HAVE to share illegal content. the programs were created to share, Whether its open source or not. Its the people who are sharing the content, not limewire. if French care so much about it, why don't they just take it to the French government, and force a filter on the French ISP's to block this, instead of trying to sue companies outside of France. IDIOTS!

     

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    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 2:48am

    Claiming Jurisdiction Over The Internet

    So, the French are claiming their law applies over the entire Internet. Where did they get that idea from? Did they copy it from someone else who was already doing the same thing ... like ... the USA?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 9:45am

    French

    Applying law beyond their borders? Who appointed the French as the leaders of the world? If that was true, wouldn't that technically make the Germans the leaders of the world?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 10:18am

    #44 is right

    Lawrence (#44) : you're right.

     

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    Dirtypinko, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 10:48am

    If we are going to sue a application hosting site can we please at least make it tucows that place is udder shit. Also since we are abitrarily suing sites can we shut down ebaumsworld that place steals shit from all over the internet and unlike sourceforge makes a ton in adrevenue.

     

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    JBels, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 11:43am

    They would prolly sh1t a brick if they found out about YouTube...

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 2:11pm

    Threaten to invade and they'll back down. They always do.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 4:40pm

    Cuttin the internet line

    we could just cut the line that goes across the Atlantic and the EU that way we will never do anything wrong again. :-)

     

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    identicon
    tracker1, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 8:48pm

    So, cut off france...

    Let SF, and their mirror sites cut Frech based IPs off...

     

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    identicon
    Alan, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 10:07pm

    And the difference between this and the US attempting to extradite foreign nationals for the same reason is...?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 11:47pm

    Hmmm- I agree go for the IP's

    Lets go for it - cut away their SF privileges (wouldn't that be the whole SF network, including /.?). Redirect them to a page explaining what the case is, and that until it is sorted, they cannot access or download SF software. All the filesharing stuff can do it too.

    Also I will stop buying French music - simple. I don't listen to any of that crap already! I mean seriously, do they really think the rest of the world want to share there pointless shit?

     

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    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 3:36pm

    Maybe the FCC should start fining French TV stations whenever they show nudity before 9PM. After all, if French law can apply to US companies, shouldn't US broadcast regulations apply to France?

     

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    identicon
    pcolon, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 7:55pm

    Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

    ACTA, a multi-lateral treaty currently being discussed secretly behind closed doors, might export the dangerous IPRED1 directive to the United States, which allow patent trolls in Europe to preventively freeze bank accounts of a company in case of “suspicion of infringement”.

    http://stopsoftwarepatents.org/forum/t-101929/acta-is-a-fuel-for-patent-trolls

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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