It seems after 7 years the greatest music file sharing community has landed on the radar of the piracy police....
The industry bodies argue that Soulseek, an application created by former Napster programmer Nir Arbel, is designed to permit unauthorized access to copyrighted works. According to a French law adopted in 2006, distributing such software is an offense that can lead to a 3 year jail sentence, as well as a fine up to 300,000 euros.
Here is the official word from slsk on the forum:
our court date on the 13th of nov. was with the SCPP, and we still have yet to hear about the results of that! keep your fingers crossed
well the best case scenario is that they drop the case in france, which would force them to properly pursue us in the US. we have no employees or subsidiaries in france, so it seems rather ridiculous for them to sue us there. however, with this new ruling (mentioned above) it is possible that the case will not be thrown out due to non-jurisdiction, as it may have been a week ago.
if it IS thrown out, since french copyright law is different from US copyright law, it would take quite a bit on their part to comply with the DMCA in the same way that we do (the DMCA requires that all parties involved comply in a certain manner before a legal pursuit). the theory is that the SCPP, SACEM, and SPPF will not actively pursue american companies on US soil because let's face it...it's a pain in the ass.
the worst case scenario is that we lose, they win, and are able to pursue us more easily in the US. the reason why we sought representation in france is because if the SCPP were to win a default judgment due to us not representing ourselves, they could easily get a judgment against us in the US. at least if we put up a fight, it shows the US courts that we are actively defending ourselves on foreign soil...which shows that we have nothing to hide. also if they win, they will most likely be awarded a monetary sum by the french court, which they would not be able to collect unless we show up in france for some reason...so that would mean that it would be very dangerous for either of us to go to france, which is a shame.
in addition, they will cut off all french users from soulseek...they have done it with other p2p networks.
our case is supposedly a landmark case in france, and we have what is considered to be the best representation in the p2p world there, Hugoavocats. unfortunately, they are not very forthcoming with information after each hearing, so i still do not know the outcome of the trial. apparently judgment is handed down 2 to 3 weeks after arguments are heard, so let's see what happens. as i said before, keep your fingers crossed...this will mean a lot for french p2p users and p2p networks that have users in france!