Some good news: SourceForge removes blanket blocking

A couple of weeks ago, to ensure compliance with US law as we roll out improvements to SourceForge.net, we began programmatically blocking access to the site for users in certain countries against which the US government imposes sanctions. Today, we’re happy to announce site changes that we believe maintain compliance with the law but offer project administrators, developers, and users more freedom.

If this topic is news to you, please read the statement we made explaining what we did last month and why. In brief, we blocked all users from certain countries from downloading software using the site.

Our action provoked a strong, angry reaction from those it affected and from the community at large. But even before we heard your cries of outrage, we were looking for reasonable alternatives – and we believe that we’ve found one.

We have no way of knowing exactly which projects should trigger a block. But each project’s leadership is positioned to make such determination – so we’ve placed that power in their hands.

Beginning now, every project admin can click on Develop -> Project Admin -> Project Settings to find a new section called Export Control. By default, we’ve ticked the more restrictive setting. If you conclude that your project is *not* subject to export regulations, or any other related prohibitions, you may now tick the other check mark and click Update. After that, all users will be able to download your project files as they did before last month’s change.

We at SourceForge are fully committed to the ideals of free and open source software, including the principle of free exchange of information. We recognize that, for some people, the recent site changes called into question whether your support of us is justified. The changes that we deployed today are intended to empower our projects and reward your continued trust.

We recognize that this change isn’t the completely free access to everything for everyone that some would like. As a US-based web site, SourceForge remains committed to complying fully with all relevant US laws and regulations, including those affecting the distribution of software. But we are also working as diligently as possible to ensure that our compliance is coupled with the highest quality of service that we can offer to our diverse, global user base.

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