SPPF – The Bastille of the Internet: Vuze, Limewire and SourceForge Get Sued

Does anyone know the French for “bullshit”? I think it spells S-P-P-F.

Four US-based companies that develop peer-to-peer applications see themselves dragged in legal battles by French record labels. The companies and applications in question are Vuze, Limewire, Morpheus and Shareaza (the latter which motivated the labels to also accuse the open source development platform SourceForge).

Société civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SPPF), a representative organization for a number of record labels in France, emphatically holds the four file-sharing applications responsible for mass copyright infringement, apparently overlooking the fact that the companies themselves are not actually committing any illegality and the software can be just as well be used for legal distribution of files. It’s just a matter of how the user chooses to use it.

What the record labels have against the Limewire and the other companies alike is their being accountable for the distribution of software that enables the unauthorized access to copyrighted content. Now the translation – this basically means, in their opinion that any application developed for the purpose of sharing files is necessarily linked to an illegal activity and should be banned. Not the same thing happens in U.S. where companies are liable themselves for copyright infringement only if they’re somehow promoting this activity to their users.

TorrentFreak detailed the whole issue legally speaking:

Recent French legislation which inspired the labels to go after the P2P companies, suggests that all P2P applications must have a feature to block the transfer of unauthorized copyright works. The clients that are sued by SPFF obviously don’t have such a feature. In fact, it is questionable whether it would be technically possible to develop such a filter. Nevertheless, SPFF demands it, and is claiming millions of dollars in damages for lost revenue.

Vuze CEO Gilles BianRosa was prompt with a response for TorrentFreak, “While we appreciate the intent of the new French law, we believe SPPF’s complaint is misguided. Vuze is dedicated to the distribution of legitimate content using new technology. In that sense, our interests are aligned with the interests of all content owners, including SPPF’s members, against piracy.”

But the circus doesn’t stop here; the same overzealous SPFF has taken Sourceforge, the open source development website, under their crosshairs as well, due to its hosting of the P2P application Shareaza. Believe that!

If (God forbid!) SPPF wins this absurd battle, who knows what they’ll put next on their less-freedom list and then the young Frenchmen might just have to recall their rebellious nature and yell “Vive la p2p révolution!”