Yesterday we received a letter from Sony’s attourneys asking us to disable access to a list of projects hosted on gitorious.org. The letter claims that the repositories in question provide circumvention of effective protection mechanisms built into Sony’s PlayStation 3, which would be illegal according to Norwegian law. Furthermore, Gitorious would be subject to direct liability under Norwegian Copyright law if we were to provide access to content that is unlawful under Norwegian law. By not taking action when notified of content that may be in violation of the law, we could be charged with gross negligence – which would mean that we are no longer protected by “ehandelsloven”s regulations for service providers such as Gitorious.
This leaves us with no other options than to comply with Sony’s demands and take down the content.
We are by no means comfortable with the situation, and would love to see Sony’s claims tried in a Norwegian court; especially taking into account the fact that the Norwegian Consumer Council finds Sony’s removal of the “Other OS” feature from the PS 3 to be in violation of Norwegian consumer law. However this is not a fight we’re in a position to take.
In consequence, we have disabled access to the projects listed in Sony’s letter, and have notified the owners of these repositories of this. We replied to Sony’s attourneys with the following email:
Thank you for your email of February 22, 2011.
In order to not be subject to direct liability under the Norwegian Copyright Act, we have disabled access to the projects listed in your letter.
Due to your short notice, we have not been able to investigate the legality of the projects in question. We kindly ask that you provide more detailed information about how you feel the source code repositories violate the Norwegian Copyright Act.
Such information should include:
– the URL of any repository that is claimed to be unlawful
– file names and line numbers of files that are unlawful
– a description of how the algorithms/functions in the above mentioned files/line numbers circumvent effective technological protection measures
This information will give the users who have published the source code on gitorious.org the opportunity to change their source code so that it no longer violates Norwegian law.
Marius Mathiesen, Gitorious AS