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I'm confused, can't the source be downloaded from a mirror in another country? I always use heanet.ie when downloading from SourceForge.

Why yes it can. Following laws leads to people doing silly things. A US based mirror is supposed to not distribute to certain countries. But it can distribute to a third country that can distribute anywhere it wants. So no transmission of data is actually stopped, but the US based mirror has successfully followed US law and caused some annoyance to a handful of countries the USA does not like.

Handful of countries? More like a handful of people in a few countries.

What if those handful people had started/contributed to some open source project? Now they don't have access to their own code.

My point was that the laws don't even hamper countries the law's implementor doesn't like. They just hamper a very few select people.

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