Foreign P2P software producers might be liable under the French law

By EDRi · November 19, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

At the beginning of November 2008, a French court ruled that the US
companies that created p2p software can be sued in France according to
French laws.

The ruling refers to a case brought to court by the French music producers
association – SPPF (Societe de producteurs de phonogrammes francaises) in
June 2007, against open source software hub SourceForge with its hosted
project Shareaza and two other p2p software Vuze and Morpheus, to which
Limewire was added at the end of 2007.

On the basis of evidence provided by the French company Advestigo, the SPPF
accused the four plaintiffs of copyright infringement, for files having
being exchanged illegally via the Internet by means of their software. The
SPPF supports its case on the so-called Vivendi amendment to the French
DADVSI law which stipulates that “editing, making publicly available or communicating to the public,
knowingly and in any way, software manifestly designed to make available
to the public without authorisation protected works” could be
fined up to 300 000 Euro or sent to prison for 3 years. Until recently, the
case had been blocked, pending the court decision on jurisdiction but now,
with the decision of the French court, the case can be pursued. Filing the
case, the SPFF was asking “the immediate interruption of the distribution
and operation of the respective software” and 3.7 millions euro from
Morpheus, and 16.6 millions euro from Vuze.

One of the companies sued by SPFF is actively working in obtaining licensing
agreements from content providers and has recently won a decision from the
US Federal Communications Commission which ordered the ISP Comcast to cease
hindering peer-to-peer activity.

The story of Sourceforge is even more concerning as the hub for open source
software is the place from where many small businesses that cannot afford to
buy software get open source software. This is a vital part of the software
industry, and even the software industry’s own anti-piracy organisation, the
BSA accepts it. The music industry has a long history in fighting
Sourceforge’s Shareaza, a project for the open source development of
software for end-users, which is managed by volunteer project leaders and
developers in Europe, Australia and the US.

P2P : the French offensive against the software (only in French, 7.11.2008),5616.html

Music producers get green light to sue Sourceforge, Vuze (12.11.2008)

Record Labels to Sue Vuze, Limewire and SourceForge(10.05.2008)