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SourceForge Clarifies Denial of Site Access

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the living-in-the-real-world dept.

Government 396

Recently there were some complaints from certain users outside the US stating that they were no longer able to access SourceForge.net. SF.net (who shares a corporate overlord with Slashdot) has outlined the reasons for these bans, and until someone with sufficient power to alter US law or the lists governing who is allowed to access what data from where, there is unlikely to be a change in these bans. It is worth noting that SF.net is not alone in these difficulties, as the same problems have been reported from other repositories, like Google Code. "As one of the first companies to promote the adoption and distribution of free and open source software, and one that still puts open source at the center of its corporate ideals, restrictions on the free flow of information rub us the wrong way. However, in addition to participating in the open source community, we also live in the real world, and are governed by the laws of the country in which we are located. Our need to follow those laws supersedes any wishes we might have to make our community as inclusive as possible. The possible penalties for violating these restrictions include fines and imprisonment. Other hosting companies based in the US have similar legal and technical restrictions in place."

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396 comments

Failure of thought (1, Interesting)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894064)

If this rubs SF.net the wrong way so much, why do they continue to operate in the US? Why is SF.net specifically reinforcing their position in the US by adhering to its exclusion of US enemies? Doesn't this make US enemies SF.net enemies?

To follow hatred, you must be blind. Being blind relieves you from following the natural train of thought outlined above. I wonder which step SF.net stopped thinking at. It was probably the "there's more twinkies in the US" stage.

Re:Failure of thought (3, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894164)

The reality of the world is that picking up and moving a company overseas (from a US perspective at least) is not easy, nor cheap.

Re:Failure of thought (1, Troll)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894244)

Moving a company overseas might be difficult, moving a server is a piece of piss and a few hours work with FTP and getting your DNS fixed.

Re:Failure of thought (3, Insightful)

achbed (97139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894294)

I hope you're not living in the US, nor in a treaty signatory. Hosting location does not equal legal liability freedom.

Re:Failure of thought (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894442)

Hosting location does not equal legal liability freedom.

Couldn't SF.net just incorporate in a country other than the US, using non-US citizens as the principals in the incorporation? Then they wouldn't have to deny access to people just because the US says they should.

That's one of the ways lots of US corporate "citizens" manage to avoid US laws.

Re:Failure of thought (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894520)

No. US laws monitor where the actual people involved in the business actually live & work. Their physical location requires them to abide by the regulations. SF.net would have to move all operations to a foreign country if they wanted to remain free to the world.

Re:Failure of thought (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894524)

I imagine that there is a fair chance that the costs simply aren't worth it for an organization as small as Sourceforge.

In the meantime, I guess peace and love shall continue to suffer.

Re:Failure of thought (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894588)

just hire some fsck'n Indians to run it...

Re:Failure of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894286)

So they can doing it slowly. Set up a company a country where freedom of expression is respected, unlike in America. Set up some new servers there. Over time, transition more and more of the infrastructure to the new hosting. Eventually operations will be transitioned to the new company. Wind down the American company, and finally shut it down.

Re:Failure of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894356)

And where is this magical land without any restrictions? It's not in Europe.

Re:Failure of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894452)

Not Canada either

Re:Failure of thought (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894466)

There is not a single land without any restrictions, because every country has laws. However, there are countries that don't have trade embargo's or restrictions in distribution of software with cryptography (both which probably effected SF). In addition some countries value privacy and freedom of speech a lot more. Sweden being a perfect example.

Re:Failure of thought (5, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894168)

Dollars and cents. It's easy to sit back and say SF should stand up for their ideals, but the cost to move their operations along with the risk probably (er, apparently) aren't worth it. It's not a great idea to use a multi million dollar asset as a pawn to reinforce your principles. Especially when it's publicly traded.

Re:Failure of thought (3, Insightful)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894290)

What exactly is the point of ideals if you don't stand up for them?

At least with SF.net we know it's a popularity contest. Make enough noise and they'll do something about it.

Re:Failure of thought (5, Insightful)

cetialphav (246516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894428)

Moving your entire company to another country is not the only way to stick up for your ideals. Another way is to fight to change the system. Many people with far less power than the sf.net overlords have been able to do this and succeed.

Not everyone has the power to simply pick up their ball and run away every time they run into things they don't like. Sometimes you have to compromise and sometimes you have to try to work the system to improve it.

Re:Failure of thought (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894448)

What's the point of ideals if you ignore the constraints of reality so much that you never actually get to implement them? Balance, sir!

Perhaps there are steps which they can take to work around these problems that they have not considered and ought to. The effective way to introduce them is something more like politely saying "SourceForge should consider [moving their servers to Uzbekistan]" and not at all like calling them a bunch of fat twinkie-obsessed lard-asses because they haven't relocated there yet. If they're so lazy and the OP and his ideas are so awesome, perhaps he can coordinate a new SourceForge-y site.

don't waste your ideals on phantom threats (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894562)

the wise thing for sourceforge to do is simply agree to whatever the usa demands. and then its business as usual. which is: everything is available with no restrictions to anyone remotely familiar with a proxy server

enforcement is impossible, even for the usa within its own borders, so who fucking cares what the lawyers and bureaucrats and diplomats say? they've already been routed around

i'm not saying you shouldn't get upset at the arrogance and the audacity of the american demands, i'm saying a bully making demands without any actual ability to follow through on his threats is nothing you have to pay any respect to, and therefore nothing you should waste much effort or emotion on

you simply pay the asshole lip service, put a big smile on your face, say "yes" to whatever the asshole wants, and then its business as usual, which is: these laws mean nothing. all of the posturing and threats and demands mean nothing. there's NO ENFORCEMENT POSSIBLE

they can't enforce any of it. its the internet age. this is not about exporting video game machines, which can be intercepted, its about the internet, which routes around everything

people: stop getting upset at idiots trying to enforce legal understandings from a previous technological era and just ingore them and their petty demands without any muscle behind them. they can't stop technological change. they are defunct, they just don't know it

don't waste your time getting upset at a paper tiger

Re:Failure of thought (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894224)

WTF are you on about retard. Hatred has nothing to do with any of this. Are you 12 or simply an agent provocateur from one of the banned nations?

They, SF.net, choose to continue to operate in their home country. A country that affords them the greatest opportunity to succeed/profit. They are obligated to follow the laws of that country.

Re:Failure of thought (3, Insightful)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894314)

Well according to them the US is limiting their ability to 'to make our community as inclusive as possible'. So that would seem that the US is not a 'country that affords them the gretest opportunity to succeed.'

I realize it isn't just as simple as moving to Finland. But what you said makes less sense.

Re:Failure of thought (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894766)

That depends on the definition of success used. If you use the definition "to include the most developers globally" then you would be right. But I suspect their definition is more along the lines of "return on shareholder investment".

Re:Failure of thought (3, Insightful)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894318)

Yeah, I was looking for a better word than hatred but it does outline one of the main causes of bad international relations. Plus you're a douchesock.

Re:Failure of thought (5, Informative)

achbed (97139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894228)

Because they are based in the US, and they are owned by a company that is based in the US. US export laws apply to both the parent company as well as the child, and sanctions for violating the export laws are severe. Relocating to another country is a possibility, but they would have to start over. The company taking assets (or assets under corporate supervision) to another country would also fall under the same law. So, there's the chicken and the egg problem. Also, most of the countries on the US list are also on similar lists in the rest of the world due to treaties, etc. I'm sure there are some countries out there that would be happy to have you host there and export without limitation (and possibly break copyright laws too). But as the Pirate Bay is finding, those places are fewer and fewer these days.

Oh, and if you're planning on staying in the US and not moving to the country you host in, you're still under the US export laws, as your location is in their jurisdiction. Even if you can find a lawyer to make the argument, plan on spending a ton of money on the defense. And if you have that much money to start with, you wouldn't be reading this :)

Re:Failure of thought (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894638)

They could export to a country that isn't on that list but also doesn't give a fuck about these bans the US has. Like Laos or something.

Also I don't see why they can't just transfer the title. Start up a meaningless SF company in Laos. Give all of SF to the new SF. Make US SF a branch of Laosian SF. Profit??

Re:Failure of thought (3, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894788)

The US has shown before that they'll arrest employees of foreign companies that are in the US for things the parent company did in other countries. E.g. Skylarov/Elcomsoft.

Re:Failure of thought (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894264)

If this rubs SF.net the wrong way so much, why do they continue to operate in the US?

Because the US is where most of the internet infrastructure sits, and most of the traffic is. It's cheap to locate your servers here -- and more expensive to decentralize or put them elsewhere. It's not political -- it's technical.

Re:Failure of thought (1)

fibrewire (1132953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894354)

Peer 2 Peer traffic gets by this obstacle for the insta-solution.

But for the long term, if somecorp created a not-for-profit internet protected under the same laws as embassy or chancery, to stop the flow of data only if both countries are in agreement. Then that would stop say, a corporation! from stopping the flow of data as opposed to a government - and if say, China! wanted to stop the flow of data from the US to China or vice-versa, then they would need to come to an agreement, else there would be an international incident.

I don't know, the logic is present - but fitting it into actuality is not one of my strong points.

Re:Failure of thought (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894364)

It rubs pretty much everyone at Slashdot the wrong way so why don't we all chip in to create a mirror site or something based outside the US?

Re:Failure of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894386)

Doesn't this make US enemies SF.net enemies?

Countries that are US Enemies are generally SF.net enemies, or should be. The trouble is that most of the inhabitants of those countries aren't.

It reminds me of not allowing homosexuals to donate blood out of fear of aids. Most homosexuals DON'T have aids, and their blood would be fine to collect; but because the group is more statistically likely to be infected, a reasonable safety regimen bans them outright. The same reasoning applies to Iran, for instance.

Re:Failure of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894682)

because the group is more statistically likely to be infected, a reasonable safety regimen bans them outright. The same reasoning applies to Iran, for instance.

75% of AIDS infections are of heterosexual origin.

Re:Failure of thought (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894582)

I imagine it is the corporate overlord mentioned in the summary not SF per say that would make that decision.

Re:Failure of thought (0)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894626)

If this rubs SF.net the wrong way so much, why do they continue to operate in the US?

Because there isn't any place better. Most are worse, many considerably worse. They may not have the same constraints as the US, but they will have ones of their own, more onerous than what the US mandates.

Re:Failure of thought (2)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894760)

If this rubs SF.net the wrong way so much, why do they continue to operate in the US?

That's a great idea. You want to pay for them to relocate? They're a business. They were established in the U.S. by U.S. citizens. To pick up and relocate isn't exactly something they can do overnight. Nor is it something they can do inexpensively. They're not exactly a huge profit-center. Not to mention, they're owned by another U.S. company, which must also adhere to U.S. laws and would likely have to relocate with them.

As SF.NET said in their post, they live in the real world. You might want to try joining them there.

Anyone who can use SourceForge (2, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894080)

can use a proxy to get at SourceForge.

Re:Anyone who can use SourceForge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894146)

can use a proxy to get at SourceForge.

Was just about to ask that very thing...

Like airport security, it is about the appearance of actual compliance and measures taken it seems than actually effective measures?

Re:Anyone who can use SourceForge (4, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894330)

Unfortunately, all of the good OSS proxies have their source code hosted on sourceforge.

10 PRINT "CIRCULAR REFERENCE"
20 GOTO 10

Re:Anyone who can use SourceForge (1)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894544)

Anyone who is going to be able to host a proxy to provide access to SF will be able to get the proxy software from SF and host proxied/cached downloads for the client.

Re:Anyone who can use SourceForge (1)

b4k3d b34nz (900066) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894590)

On a related note, I wonder if there are any proxies written in BASIC?

Re:Anyone who can use SourceForge (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894720)

10 REM IPv6 WILL SERIOUSLY F*CK THIS CODE UP !!
20 DIM DOMAINS(255,255,255,255)

I made a start on the IP to Domain lookup code, I'll let you take it from here.

Re:Anyone who can use SourceForge (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894708)

Yeah but it gets a bit more inconvenient if you happen to put your project on sourceforge.

Ironically I just started my first SourceForge project[1] (uploaded files, created repo etc) before I saw this. Still, I guess it'll be a while before the US puts my country on the ban list...

[1] a win32 python project that allows quick linking of hotkeys to windows (to allow easier switching amongst arbitrary windows - coz I'm just too stupid to learn how to alt-tab quickly amongst 4 or more windows ;) ). Figuring out how to handle MSO2007 Excel/Powerpoint took a while.

auto-Goodwin'd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894780)

a win32 python project that allows quick linking of hotkeys to windows (to allow easier switching amongst arbitrary windows

you sir, are worse than Hitler!

Time to move the servers? (2, Interesting)

TofuMatt (1105351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894108)

Would moving the servers, or serving certain countries from another one (Canada? Europe?) help at all? This is obviously incredibly shitty.

Re:Time to move the servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894136)

Moving to Canada would probably be the easiest way, could lower the costs of operation and have the least impact on the bandwidth and latency.

Re:Time to move the servers? (4, Informative)

Lordrashmi (167121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894180)

If they want to have any corporate entity in the US they have to follow these laws, the actual physical location of the servers doesn't matter (according to the lawyers I worked with).

It really is quite stupid, it just causes problems and doesn't help anything.

Re:Time to move the servers? (2, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894404)

There's nothing stopping a separate legal entity from doing so however. So hypothetically, Sourceforge could fork into separately funded/controlled operations to get around the ban. Correct?

Re:Time to move the servers? (0, Troll)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894194)

With Canada, you have to be careful that no one on your site says anything critical of clubbing baby seals to death, because that'll land you in jail. Canada isn't exactly a land of freedom; there is no "freedom of speech" there.

If you want true freedom of speech, you'll probably need to move to Russia, ironically.

Re:Time to move the servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894280)

And get arrested like that policeman who posted the youtube videos and called for an end to corruption? Yeah, thats freedom.

Re:Time to move the servers? (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894298)

Unless you feel like criticizing the state or something, in which case your last cup of tea will be atypically energetic.

Or, if you aren't cool enough for that, you'll join the long list of journalists and rabble rousers who just get shot in the street.

Re:Time to move the servers? (1)

QBasicer (781745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894474)

Time to move to Antarctica. Or an oil rig in the middle of the ocean. Sealand anyone?

Re:Time to move the servers? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894556)

Yep, that's what I'm thinking. You're never going to have true freedom unless you have zero government. Even governments that claim to promote freedom are really liars.

Re:Time to move the servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894518)

Yeah, I've never seen anything critical of seal hunts in Canadian newspapers. Oh wait, I have, many, many, many times. FAIL: for being too lazy when making stuff up to make it even superficially believable.

Re:Time to move the servers? (0, Redundant)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894206)

You can't just move the server to another country, as they would still be an American company. The law holds true to any American company, regardless of where they host their servers from. Technically, they could host their servers in Syria, but they would still be expected to block any Syrian users from accessing it.

Re:Time to move the servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894550)

No. The right thing to do is to grow a set of nuts continue serving the fucking files. Stop backing down to this tyranny. If you guys don't want risk fines or jail to preserve what good is left in the country, who will? You'd be heroes and would have the support of millions.

Can you say, 'Proxy Server'? I knew you could! (5, Insightful)

hedronist (233240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894118)

"The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." -- John Gilmore

PIGS ON THE WING !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894486)

Pigs on the Wing - David Gilmore. OK, Roger Waters. So Welcome to the machine.

Re:Can you say, 'Proxy Server'? I knew you could! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894692)

In 1993 that was perfectly accurate.

Re:Can you say, 'Proxy Server'? I knew you could! (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894736)

I would imagine that at some point in the future, the US govt. will ban proxies as they allow individuals from target countries to circumvent an outright ban.

No Helium for Nazis (3, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894160)

With any luck this will force Bin Laden to have to use Windows O.S. and programs from downloads.com to do his twisted interpretation of Allahs will.
There could be some justice in this yet.

Re:No Helium for Nazis (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894366)

With any luck this will force Bin Laden to have to use Windows O.S. and programs from downloads.com to do his twisted interpretation of Allahs will. There could be some justice in this yet.

"Al Qaeda's latest offer of peaceful relations with all peoples of the Earth will culminate in a computer controlled robotic presentation of Fiddler on the Roof. The robots are taking the stage now...

*DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL*

It's crashing! Watch it! Watch it, folks! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie! Get this, Charlie! It's fire--and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my, get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames, and the--and it's falling off the stage and all the folks agree that this is terrible, this is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world. Ohhhhh! It's-it's-it's the flames, [indecipherable, 'enty' syllable] oh, four- or five-hundred feet into the sky and it ... it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's flames now ... Oh, the humanity and all the audience screaming around here."

No Helium indeed.

I blame Bush (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894184)

When are we going to impeach G.W.Bush so we can get someone else in the White House?

Re:I blame Bush (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894296)

I thought he'd left already, but there he was, back again, and Big Billy too !!!

Old characters are returning to the Whitehouse more times than a season finale of Doctor Who. I keep expecting Billie Piper to pop up behind Hilary Clinton.

Please stop posting evil company x country y posts (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894240)

You sniveling hypocrites.

Ah, that old law again. (2, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894252)

Fond memories of the form that came up for 128-bit browsers back in the 90s. They always used to ask you to provide your information, and certify that you weren't from a bad country. I wish that was a joke; but no. They really did that. Cuz, you know... somebody who was up to no good would actually be deterred by that. Sheesh!

Any 5 year old can tell all you need is 1 guy to come over and get an ISP account. I'm quite sure that all the countries on the list not only have state-of-the-art OSS/FS encryption software, they have pirated closed-source software as well.

Relocate SourceForge to China (3, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894306)

I don't think it has any problems with connection to any of those countries....

Maybe you can swap servers with Google...:-)

Wassenaar Arrangement (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894308)

I'm guessing this has something to do with the Wassenaar Arrangement. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wassenaar Arrangement (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894596)

But what part? An exception was granted back in 1994(?) for open-source cryptography. It doesn't require export review or control, just an e-mail notification with a URL to the source code.

I'm not sure what else would apply...

And the problem is? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894326)

This means users residing in countries on the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction list, including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria, may not post content to, or access content available through, SourceForge.net.

What's the problem?

If people in those countries want to access sf.net, then how about they change their governments or move out.

I have no problem blocking those countries and I would like to add a few others. Yemen and Somalia for starters.

Don't forget, those countries encourage and harbor dirtbags that want to harm us just because we're Americans and because our Government and a few people in this country supports Israel.

Fuck'em. When they become civilized members of the World community, then I'll welcome them.

Re:And the problem is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894394)

how bout adding russia and china (evil communist regimes which kill people) to the list ?
oh wait, americans are the slave dogs of the chinese. we dont want to piss of the next superpower.
hypocrite.

You don't fight Internet censorship... (4, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894338)

...with more Internet censorship. This is ridiculous. Export laws are what they are, but if we're trying to help open up the Internet in these countries, banning them from accessing knowledge hosted on our servers isn't helping one bit.

Re:You don't fight Internet censorship... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894512)

Maybe they can borrow some EFF help and try to make a First Amendment case out of it.

Violation to freedoms of Free Software (5, Informative)

neo00 (1667377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894344)

As a Syrian developer who contributed so several open source project, I call this action unnecessary and outrageous. Sorry, I can’t understand this decision which was taken silently and cowardly by sf.net . I understand that the US law prohibits US companies from exporting their products to the “axis of evil” countries. But what I don’t understand is how sf.net considers the projects they're hosting as US products? It doesn’t make any sense. SF.net DID NOT create these projects. It just HOSTS them. Most of these projects are got contributions from people around the world including people from these countries. Suddenly they can’t access their own work, because sf.net considers them American products! That’s stupid!
Furthermore, it’s a direct violation of the freedoms of Free Software and section 5 of opensource definition:

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups”
The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
Rationale: In order to get the maximum benefit from the process, the maximum diversity of persons and groups should be equally eligible to contribute to open sources. Therefore we forbid any open-source license from locking anybody out of the process.

I hope sf.net reconsider their decision. And at least to stand positively to defend the basic principles of FLOSS.

Re:Violation to freedoms of Free Software (3, Insightful)

achbed (97139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894488)

The issue is not the ownership or contributing membership of the individual projects. The issue is that by hosting, a copy of the software is being maintained under the control of whomever owns and/or controls the hosting servers. In the case of software hosted by a US company or person, that company or person is held responsible for ensuring that the content of that server follows applicable US and/or state law. This includes export laws. So, by you uploading something to their server, they are instantly liable for that. And for every transmission, that is one export, so charge counts, and thus fines add up fast. To ensure that they exist as a company tomorrow, they have to take this step (as crappy as it seems).

Oh and to those of you suggesting to move the hosting servers, that does not remove you from legal liability. If the servers are under your control, and you live in the US, you still have to follow US export laws. So, just by setting up a mirror server in another country that's on the export list, you're violating the law.

Re:Violation to freedoms of Free Software (1)

neo00 (1667377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894604)

Well how about google search and all the American websites, shouldn't they block ban these countries since when someone opens their website some software technology is "transfered" to them (html and javascript code)?

Re:Violation to freedoms of Free Software (2, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894496)

The problem is the hosting is in the U.S. Like it or not, that gives the U.S. government leverage to enforce its laws on the organization.

Push sf.net to move to offshore hosting. As long as its servers are in the U.S., sf cannot expect to win a fight with the U.S. gov't.

Re:Violation to freedoms of Free Software (1)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894616)

By allowing you to access their hosting, they are exporting their service to your country. FLOSS wishes or not, section 5 of the FoFS doesn't supersede US Law for those in the US.

Re:Violation to freedoms of Free Software (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894724)

They can't access their work? There are no copies of this code? That's a bad joke. Like you said, they only host the projects so no real harm done. Host elsewhere. Problem solved. Team Forge FTW.

Also, they never said they would violate a country law to enforce an open source ideal. It doesn't work that way. Copyrights, patents, trademarks - these things can be disputed in civil court. You violate federal laws you go to prison. There is no choice to be made at all.
 

It's time to stop playing at national security (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894360)

The US doesn't want to face up to the fact that the only way to keep very serious, proprietary technology out of the hands of hostile states is to severely punish those in the US who facilitate the transfer. So instead, it adopts security theater here much like it pretends that it is fighting child exploitation by posting cops all over chat rooms to entrap people who have a passive interest in jailbait at best instead of actually hunting for real, serious child molesters. This allows the national security hawks to believe that we're "being tough," when in fact if we were tough, we wouldn't give a shit about SF.net, but would instead be executing men like this [foxnews.com] (just read it before attacking me, it was the first Google search result) without a second thought.

This won't do **anything** except deter some students in these countries who don't know how to find a foreign proxy. It certainly won't stop foreign intelligence officers who try to get actual weapon systems and other serious munitions.

Political Asylum (5, Funny)

el_jake (22335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894372)

You should seek political asylum in Europe the land of the Real Free. Not bound by legal enslavement or crooked intelligence agencies, yet.

Anybody here remember the history of PGP? (1, Troll)

mmell (832646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894384)

DeCSS?

Early opensource implementations of RSA encryption?

If efforts to stop these failed (and there were efforts, and they did fail), I suspect this will also fail.

Nothing to see here folks. Move along. Move along.

Re:Anybody here remember the history of PGP? (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894662)

(and there were efforts, and they did fail

Not for the politician who got to say that he helped prevent "technology from getting into the wrong hands".

Sad but real (5, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894422)

The alternative is to end up like Prof. John Ross of the University of Tennessee [tradelawyersblog.com], convicted of export control violations and sentenced to 4 years in prison -- at the age of 72.

What few in the US recognize is that the rules are even more stringent than indicated by SourceForge. To be convicted of an export violation, one needs merely to discuss a controlled technology with a foreign national on one of the lists [doc.gov] -- which means, in addition to many other individuals, entities, and countries, any citizen of China or Iran. Sending anything overseas is unnecessary to violate the law -- merely speaking to a group containing one such person in the audience (like at a private industry consortium meeting) is all that is needed. And the list of controlled technologies is incredibly long: See the Commerce Control List [gpo.gov], especially Category 3 - Electronics [gpo.gov], Category 4 - Computers [gpo.gov], Category 5 (Part 1) - Telecommunications [gpo.gov], Category 5 (Part 2) - Information Security [gpo.gov], and Supplement No. 2 to Part 774 - General Technology and Software Notes [gpo.gov].

Re:Sad but real (5, Insightful)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894530)

Good reason why I never will visit the USA. I'd probably have the same bad feeling I'd have in China. Or...on second thought...I'd feel more secure in China. If I'd get arrested there, I'd have at least the broad public on my side. If I'd get arrested in the USA I wonder how many would think this must be my own fault since he USA are a constitutional state and by definition the 'good'.

"Internet Freedom" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894444)

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f0c3bf8c-06bd-11df-b426-00144feabdc0,s01=1.html
http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/01/22/the_internet_freedom_agenda

If you care, yank your projects (4, Insightful)

onionman (975962) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894470)

If you are an open source coder (as I am), and you are involved with a project on sourceforge (as I was until a couple minutes ago), just ask the principal maintainer to move it to a different site. If they don't, stop contributing. Or, if you really don't care, then just go on with business as usual.

Holy Crap! They're Right Next Door (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894478)

Did Anyone Look at the Exclusion Lists?

There's a veritable population of excluded 'entities' right here in town!

Many have odd looking names like MAJIDA, AL KAYALI, ABDULAH, FADWA, etc.

Then there's the innocuous MYNET.NET, SYNAPTIX.NET, ...

GPL prohibits that, no? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894560)

12. No Surrender of Others' Freedom.

If conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot convey a covered work so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not convey it at all. For example, if you agree to terms that obligate you to collect a royalty for further conveying from those to whom you convey the Program, the only way you could satisfy both those terms and this License would be to refrain entirely from conveying the Program.

The issue is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894586)

The real question is whether or not SourceForge is required to comply with the US Treasury laws.

Law is counter to legislators' intentions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894730)

This means users residing in countries on the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction list, including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria, may not post content to, or access content available through, SourceForge.net.

So basically -- help Iranian dissidents in their struggle against Islamofascist tyranny = get prosecuted by the Feds and go to prison as a possible traitor in your own country. Way to go, Congress. Way to go...

Noobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30894762)

Ah well, countries who cannot now access SF.net will use rapidshare and other file sharing sites to get their open source software. Which also increases their risk of becoming a botnet server, which in turn gives the botmasters more power.

Thanks for making their lives easier.

I wish there way a way to fight back against US's crazy laws.
Ah wait I better stop there before I get put on the watchlist and banned

How typical.. (1, Redundant)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30894796)

I don't see a single person who is complaining about this, offering to help fund moving SF.Net elsewhere.

Not so easy when you have to foot the bill, is it?

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