The Societe; civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France, or the SPPF, have been given the go-ahead to sue four US companies for developing P2P applications with the intention of distributing illegal content, TorrentFreak reports. The four applications in question are Vuze, Limewire, Mopheus and Shareaza. Shareaza is hosted by the open source development platform SourceForge, so the SPPF have decided to sue SorceForge for being responsible for the distribution of the application. According to recent French legislation, all P2P software must have a built-in feature to block the transfer of unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works.
The SPPF's argument is that these applications permit the distribution of copyrighted works. This is in contrast to the US's laws, which state that as long as the developers don't support the use of their software for copyright infringement then no action can be taken. Vuze has already appealed against the go-ahead, and is currently suing the SPPF for destroying the company's reputation based on false and harmful allegations made by the organisation. In a statement, Vuze CEO Gilles BianRosa responded that the claims are "simply wrong", and that the business fully complies with both French and American laws. The lawsuit against the SPPF has been given the green light by a different French court, and recently denied the SPPF's attempts to stop these claims.
By far the most worrying aspect of this lawsuit is the inclusion of SourceForge. Instead of going after the developers of the application itself, the industry has decided to sue one of the largest contributors towards open-source. How this will make an impact on SourceForge remains to be seen.