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Azureus Facing Lawsuit in France

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Azureus, Shareaza and Morpheus are being sued by the music industry group Société des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SPPF) under the new provisions of copyright law passed by the French Parliament last year, according to French blog Ratatium (English translation). The software creators could face criminal penalties including up to three years in prison and a €300,000 fine if the case is successfully prosecuted in French courts.

logo.jpgMorpheus has declined in popularity since being successfully sued already, and Shareaza is entirely non-commercial. But Azureus is leveraging the popular BitTorrent client for its Vuze network which delivers authorized downloads of video and audio. Though that fact could potentially be used in its defense as proof that the software is not exclusively for illegitimate distribution.

The new copyright provisions, abbreviated to DADVSI, is similar to the DMCA in that the intention was to update laws in order to address issues surrounding digital technology, as well as bring France in line with the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaty.

Amendments to the DADVSI, sponsored by then Minister of the Interior and now current President Nicolas Sarkozy and dubbed “The Vivendi Amendments,” added the criminal penalties of imprisonment and fines for makers of software that are meant to transmit copyrighted material illegally. Though the suit could become a forum for DADVSI detractors to challenge the constitutionality of these provisions.

So the SPPF can expect the full support of Sarkozy and his UMP party in their suit. As an indication of the change in the climate surrounding copyright in France, during a recent hunt for Sopranos video I discovered even the somewhat notorious Dailymotion appears to be getting more thorough in policing their site for unauthorized clips (and may soon be competing with YouTube for Francophonic users).

6 Responses to “Azureus Facing Lawsuit in France”

  1. AZ

    Unbelievable. What could this possibly accomplish? There are already countless other clients in existence, many of them open source. Ok, Azureus is the baddest assed client available…. And AZ inc has always been innovative … But it just doesnt make much sense.
    Do I smell the imminent release of another closed source, in-your-fucking-face client owned by entities with loose connections to major anti piracy groups (uTorrent)? Probably not. Who knows. Who cares. ;)

  2. C Rogers

    Do you sue the makers of a car because it crashes? Or perhaps the creators of a knife because you cut your fingers off? In this same way Azureus can’t be sued – although they have made a bittorrent program, it in itself is legal. The users are the ones who are sharing (and storing) the illegal content. Sue them.

    In fact, the internet is being used to download files illegally, so lets sue Tim Bernads-Lee (in his grave) or CERN for creating it. This is the same reason still exists (Interesting reading: )