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Censorship Software The Courts The Internet

CBS Interactive Sued For Distributing Green Dam 133

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-dam-lawsuit-after-another dept.
Dotnaught writes "Solid Oak Software, maker of Internet filter CYBERsitter, on Monday filed a $1.2 million copyright infringement lawsuit against CBS Interactive's ZDNet China for distributing the Green Dam Internet filtering software. Green Dam was going to be mandatory on all PCs in China starting in July, but widespread criticism, including reports of stolen code, forced the Chinese government to reconsider. The lawsuit, if it succeeds, could force companies to give more thought to the risks of complying with mandates from foreign governments that violate US laws."
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CBS Interactive Sued For Distributing Green Dam

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:34AM (#29669025)

    Theirs goes, 'Ding ding ding dingy ding-ding.' Ours goes, 'Ding ding ding ding dingy ding-ding.

    It's clearly not the same at all.

    • by Cytotoxic (245301)

      Pop-pop pop goes the Weasel, the weasel. Pop-pop pop goes the Weasel, the Weasel.

      ---I'll see your obscure reference and I raise you an even more obscure reference to your reference.

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:41AM (#29669103)

    If they want to operate in China, they've got to comply with Chinese laws. If they don't comply, the Chinese government has all sorts of levers to apply (fines, jail, blocking their site, etc).

    Personally, I would just choose to not do business in China until such time as there is even a hint of transparency in the business and legal environments, but that's just me.

    • by noundi (1044080)

      Personally, I would just choose to not do business in China until such time as there is even a hint of transparency in the business and legal environments, but that's just me.

      Exactly what everybody with a hint of conscience is thinking, thus exactly why everybody with a hint of conscience is rooting for the destruction of such money grabbing whores. Hate the player, change the game.

      • Corporations are not people. They don't have a conscience to restrain themselves from illicit endeavors, which is also why corporations should not have rights. Giving rights to a corporation makes about as much sense as giving rights to a rock or tree.

        • by noundi (1044080)

          Corporations are not people. They don't have a conscience to restrain themselves from illicit endeavors, which is also why corporations should not have rights. Giving rights to a corporation makes about as much sense as giving rights to a rock or tree.

          Shareholders are people.

          • So if the company does something illegal, let the shareholders be personally responsible and serve time for the company's crime.

            Problem Solved!
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Actually, the point of a corporation is that a board of directors contractually assume legal and financial liability from the shareholders â" so they're the ones who should be punished for the company's crimes.

            • by noundi (1044080)

              So if the company does something illegal, let the shareholders be personally responsible and serve time for the company's crime.

              Problem Solved!

              Legal or not, that wasn't the point. I was talking about a conscience, and if you truly believe that the chinese people will benefit from this software then you may invest in such companies, with a clear conscience. But if you don't and you go against what you think is right for personal profit then you're an asshole.

              • I agree with you completely. The problem is that there are plenty of assholes with money to go around. Perhaps my overtiredness came off as sarcasm, but the idea is that as a shareholder you "own" part of the company, right? So why should you not be proportionally responsible to your ownership, within reason, to the actions of the company? Especially if the shareholders knew what was going on but kept their money in the company anyway.

                It might force the aforementioned assholes to reconsider investing
            • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:07PM (#29672317) Homepage Journal

              So if the company does something illegal, let the shareholders be personally responsible and serve time for the company's crime.

              Probably a good idea. But it goes against the basic reason that corporations exist. If you dig into the history, you'll find that one of the primary motives in creating such legal entities was to insulate the officers and shareholders from legal liabilities. The whole point of a corporation's existence is to allow the people running it to say "I didn't do it; the corporation did". Stockholders' fines for corporate criminal behavior is usually limited to their investment, and it's exceedingly rare for such fines to be imposed. Instead, the corporation is fined.

              Of course, there were and are other reasons for corporations, such as different tax laws. For example, here in the US and many other places, people pay income tax on their full income, while corporations pay tax on only their "profits". A corporation can deduct all expenses of doing business; if a living human tries the equivalent and doesn't pay taxes on the portion that they pay for food and/or shelter, they are likely to end up with a good fine or jail time. (Yes, tax laws often make some portion of such things deductible, but rarely all of them.)

              Also, a corporation usually doesn't pay the same taxes on equipment (vehicles, machinery, office supplies, whatever) that a human would pay. This is why individuals or families sometimes form corporations. That way, equipment can be bought and owned by the corporation, not the individual. This is also used to avoid inheritance taxes, since the deceased didn't own the money or building or equipment; the family corporation did, and it didn't die.

              In all of these examples, we see that the corporation relieves the people running it from legal liability for something. Usually it's liability for taxes, which are lower for corporations. But all too often, the laws only impose a minor fine on a corporation for actions that would be criminal violations if a human did them.

              There was a fun bit of journalistic "research" a few years ago in the US, that consisted in tallying the punishments that the courts gave to corporations for actions that resulted in deaths, such as contaminated food, incorrect medicines, overly dangerous equipment of various sorts, etc. The bottom line was that corporations were on average fined about $300 per documented death. This is a whole lot "better" than the sentences handed down to killers that are humans. It explains why many corporations consider criminal law to be not much more than a minor tax on their business operations, and why such fines often have little effect on corporate behavior. If the likely fine is less than the profit, there's no reason a corporation shouldn't do it.

              It's true that in a few especially egregious cases, the officers have been charged and tried for their part in the actions. But it's pretty rare that they are actually convicted of anything.

              See also last week's PartiallyClips [partiallyclips.com] comic.

          • by MBGMorden (803437)

            They act as a group though. Strange that such a lovely quote would come from such a goofy movie, but Agent K summed it up nicely:

            A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

          • by jandrese (485)
            People who would likely sue the pants off of the company if the pulled out of the huge and profitable Chinese market.

            That's quite the choice for a CEO. Get a massive fine from the US government, or get blocked by the great firewall of china and then sued by the shareholders, possibly ousted from the company.
          • >>>Shareholders are people.

            Yes and the shareholders, as human beings, still have their rights protected. The corporation, being not human, has NO rights. That means no right to lobby our Congress or EU Parliament and pervert the people's government.

        • by Ken D (100098)

          Nor do the courts treat corporations as people, thus corporations have an unfair advantage.

          If a person refuses to comply with a subpoena the court can charge you with contempt and then put you in jail until you comply.
          While in jail you cannot earn money, you cannot conduct business, etc.

          If a corporation refuses to comply with a subpoena the court can charge it with contempt and then impose a daily fine until they comply.
          While being fined, they continue to earn money, probably much more than the fine.
          While b

      • by Rakishi (759894)

        Sorry but my conscience doesn't feel very right about letting a billion people wallow in poverty, disease, starvation, abuse and so on. Then again I care about actually improving the lot of mankind not about deluding myself so I can feel better than some other guy. The world is not black and white. Every government does horrid abuses of one form or another. How many innocent bystanders died in Iraq due to actions of the US? How many died in Africa because you're not donating an extra $x to help them?

        In the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ad0n (1171681)
      I would evaluate the risk vs. reward, but that's just me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Personally, I would just choose to not do business in China until such time as there is even a hint of transparency in the business and legal environments, but that's just me.

      You might be in for a bit of a wait there my friend. Perhaps you could do some Sudoku puzzles to help you pass the time...

    • by NoYob (1630681) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:54AM (#29669251)
      The Chinese leadership is fighting a losing battle and I believe they know this. When they opened up their country to the West and doing business with free countries, it is only a matter of time for their regime to weaken and for Western influences to take hold. Not doing business in China wouldn't do anything except maybe quiet your conscience.

      The more Western entities in China there are, the more their regime weakens. It will take time - maybe a generation or more, but the Chinese people will be doing the changing on their terms instead by mandate from Westerners.

      Telling others how to live and how to govern themselves has never worked.Notice that whenever the Chinese government is criticized, the Chinese people are right there backing their Government.

      Real change will have to come from within and the Chinese people will have to do it and do it according to their values.

      • by Sique (173459)

        Telling others how to live and how to govern themselves has never worked.

        ... except for most of the time in history. There those strange things like social pressure and peer pressure, and there is simple force by the ruling group.

        • by Jesus_666 (702802)
          Except that peer pressure doesn't work well on a national level. The United States are an example; lately they often do things the rest of the world doesn't condone. They know that they can get away with it so peer pressure is irrelevant.

          Likewise China: They could operate even with heavy trade sanctions by virtue of sheer size, they have twice the population of Europe (and 2.5 that of north america) and their economy is booming. Even if we imposed sanctions on them, within twenty years they will simply be
          • by Sique (173459)

            I wouldn't personificate a country, and even if I did, there is still the question which other countries can be considered peers (as in "being of the same social rank") in this case. That in fact the U.S. constitution considers all citizens peers to each other is something completely different. For a hierarchical society like the feudal states of Middle Age Europe, "peer" means someone from the same social group: pawns are peers to other pawns, craftsmen peers to other craftsmen, barons to other barons, and

            • by Jesus_666 (702802)
              Yes. That's the point I dried to make - you can't expect the western world proclaiming their displeasure to somehow be relevant to Chinese policy (especially when proclaiming the displeasure is all the western world does). You can tell your peers how to live and when enough people do it but that limits peer pressure's reach to, at most, the people in one country and maybe those neighboring it. Any further and the societies are disjunct enough that their members aren't peers. The only kind of peer pressure t
      • I thought it had to come through the barrel of a gun?

      • by demachina (71715)

        "The Chinese leadership is fighting a losing battle and I believe they know this."

        Excepting that the Chinese people, at least in the cities, are seeing a rapid improvement in their standard of living, and the country as a whole is an economic juggernaut. Regimes seldom have problems when they are delivering economic prosperity and the Chinese Communist party knows it, so thats whey they are pursuing a policy of prosperity at all costs. The Nazi's were far more brutal and repressive than the Chinese but th

      • When they opened up their country to the West and doing business with free countries, it is only a matter of time for their regime to weaken and for Western influences to take hold.

        Does that work both ways? Now that China has tasted of Western freedoms, will the West indulge in oriental despotism?

    • I was wondering why ZDNet bothered to offer this software on its website. They are a news site, not a computer manufacturer/retailer.
    • by zippthorne (748122) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:28AM (#29669663) Journal

      To paraphrase the GPL of all things..

      If they want to operate in the USA, they have to comply with US laws. Compliance with Chinese laws doesn't absolve them from US requirements, if they can't do business satisfying all applicable law, then they must refrain from doing that business.

      • I wonder if there is a matter of jurisdiction to consider, something about this troubles me. The idea of a company having to comply with all of one country's laws even for operations that are completely in another country irks me. It just works to make it impossible to do business, and in the long run, I don't think that is of benefit to anyone except the pro-protectionist crowd. Pseudo-protectionism may serve political interests, but I don't think they serve economic interests.

        The infringement wasn't do

    • Longer term, I'll be surprised if companies are only sued for copyright infringement relating to Green Dam. If I distributed software knowing that its intent was to block recipients reaching the web properties of world+dog then world+dog could possibly argue that I've harmed them by doing so.

  • Nostalgia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:50AM (#29669197) Homepage
    Yes, I remember Cybersitter. Back in the day (1995ish) it used to block me from pages hosted at Oxford University and other random things. This was running on Windows 3.1 with Program Manager crippled so you couldn't start any programs apart from those already in the program groups. I got around it by opening winword.exe with Notepad and randomly changing a few bytes at the start of the file. Now, on trying to run Word, Windows would abruptly crash to a DOS prompt, where I could fix a few things. Ahhh... those were the days...
    • by tepples (727027)

      This was running on Windows 3.1 with Program Manager crippled so you couldn't start any programs apart from those already in the program groups. I got around it by opening winword.exe with Notepad and randomly changing a few bytes at the start of the file.

      Microsoft fixed this bug since then. The software restriction policies in modern versions of Windows use a hash value of the executable file, not the presence of a file at a given path, to determine whether to run it.

    • Re:Nostalgia (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:14AM (#29669497) Journal
      If you could run Word, there was a much easier way around this. Go to the Insert menu and select 'other'. This would open package manager. Select the DOS box app as the object that you wanted to package and hit insert. You then had a Word document containing a link to the DOS box. Double click on the link and the DOS prompt opens. From there you can run any other programs.

      Oh, and Oxford University was probably blocked for having too many occurrences of the letter X in their URLs or page texts. That was a popular heuristic for spotting porn in the '90s and made looking for information about Linux, UNIX, or XFree86 very difficult.

      • Oh, and Oxford University was probably blocked for having too many occurrences of the letter X in their URLs or page texts.

        It was all mirrored over at Scunthorpe Poly.

    • Now, on trying to run Word, Windows would abruptly crash to a DOS prompt, where I could fix a few things.

      That's been a standard feature for a while now.

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        Now, on trying to run Word, Windows would abruptly crash to a DOS prompt, where I could fix a few things.

        That's been a standard feature for a while now.

        Nah, Windows doesn't crash to a DOS prompt any more...

  • Given the situation (Score:1, Informative)

    by Smidge207 (1278042)

    If china PCs had been hammering my servers for updates to their plagiarized software, I'd have called the CIA to see what to slip in next update. And this *has* been done before. During the Cold War, in order to disrupt the Soviet economy and serve them some comeuppance for their industrial espionage activities, the CIA, in partnership with American Technology companies ensured that hardware and software with carefully arranged "flaws" found its way into Soviet hands.

    In one particular instance a "flawed" na

  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Random2 (1412773)
    They're just profiting off of a company that was following the laws of another nation? No wonder why everyone tried to do things back-handed now.
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:54AM (#29669249)

    This strikes me as desperation. Solid Oak Software obviously can't sue the violator, who is China proper, so they're suing any 3rd party they can find.

    As far I can tell, the ZDNet China site [zdnet.com.cn] is basically the same thing as Download.com [cnet.com], CBS American freeware/shareware/trialware download site. If this is the case, then CBS isn't directly making any money off of offering the software since they aren't selling it (they do however get ad money). It's freeware, and CBS would have no way of knowing that it contained copyright-infringing code. To add insult to injury, Solid Oak wants the full price ($40) of their own filtering software awarded to them as damages, for each copy downloaded from ZDNet China.

    If this goes to trial and Solid Oak were to win, it would end up being a precedent-setting event. What Solid Oak is basically arguing is that 3rd parties are fully liable for any copyright violations in the software they distribute. That would immediately make download sites such as Download.com, FilePlanet, and MajorGeeks an impossible thing to offer. And who knows, maybe even Linux mirrors would be liable if some Linux component/package was found to be violating copyright?

    If Solid Oak has their way, the idea of rehosting free (as in beer) software is dead.

    • by Zantac69 (1331461) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:16AM (#29669519) Journal
      /laughs - why not sue ZDNet China?

      Green Dam is made form code stolen from Solid Oak. (yeah its crap code but that is not the point)
      ZDNet China is knowingly distributing material that violates copyright.
      ZDNet China profits from this distribution via advertisement.
      ZDNet China is owned by CBS American.
      CBS American is liable for the actions of its subsidiaries.
      CBS American is borked.

      And yes...CBS KNOWS that there is copyrighted code in there. This has been going on for months - this was not a "suprise - that violates - here is your lawsuit!" situation.

      And this is not even close to the same thing that was with Pirate Bay, because they are actually hosting the download.

      And this wont kill free software. It will either encourage new novel code...or implementation of coding tricks so that copied code does not look like copied code.
      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Exactly, they want the fun of expanding into China and the warm safe protection of the USA.
        Bring on Section 311 of the Patriot Act.
        If you cannot get to the source of the problem in China, then make sure any party with a connection feels the reality of US intellectual property when doing deals in China.
      • ZDNet China is knowingly distributing material that violates copyright.

        No, ZDNET China is knowingly distributing material that *may* violate copyright. Just like in the SCO vs. Linux former fiasco, a lot has been said, but nothing has been proven yet. Having a company very loudly asserting ownership rights doesn't mean it actually owns anything.

        Perhaps ZDNET was also knowingly mirroring some of the Linux distributions while the SCO controversy was still going on, if that were the case, may be CBS-US should also have been sued by SCO for any of the Linux distros its subsidiari

        • by mpe (36238)
          No, ZDNET China is knowingly distributing material that *may* violate copyright. Just like in the SCO vs. Linux former fiasco, a lot has been said, but nothing has been proven yet. Having a company very loudly asserting ownership rights doesn't mean it actually owns anything.

          Indeed it may well be that they are trying to draw attention away from their own actions. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that a company which makes a lot of fuss about copyright turns out to be enguaging in copyright violatio
      • by chrb (1083577)

        CBS American is liable for the actions of its subsidiaries.

        Unfortunately this is where your argument likely fails. Bhopal disaster [wikipedia.org] precedent:

        In May, litigation was transferred from the US to Indian courts by US District Court Judge. Following an appeal of this decision, the US Court of Appeals affirmed the transfer, judging, in January 1987, that UCIL was a "separate entity, owned, managed and operated exclusively by Indian citizens in India".

        Union Carbide India, Limited was a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation, UCC was a US. based corporation.

        An international

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      In the case of a "traditional" copyrighted work, it is possible to tell that the copy is related to the original - the picture looks the same, the plot and characters' names are similar, etc., but with software you don't have any way to tell that some of the source code is a direct copy. Judgements need to take this fundamental difference into account.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Yes, you can often (but not always) tell if some source code was copied.

        1: Comments. Sometimes when code is copied, they leave the same comments in, possibly even including the name of the author or original product.
        2: Variable, method and class names. If these are left unchanged, it leaves a signature in the code.
        3: Magic numbers/strings. Arbitrary assignment of the same value to magic numbers, enums or strings can demonstrate copy.

        • by PhilHibbs (4537)

          If you're hosting an installer package or an executable for download, then you can't see any of that.

          • by Nadaka (224565)

            Sure you can, all that is in the executable itself. All you have to do is view a hex dump to catch some of it, decompile/debug to find the rest.

            That is besides the point. In this particular case, the software had a nice feature to phone home and download updates. When the code was stolen, they forgot to change or disable this feature.

            Its like saying you can not tell if a movie you sell is copy written because you didn't watch it yourself. It has been known for a long time that green dam was stolen code, and

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by PhilHibbs (4537)

              The only one of the three elements listed that survives into the executable is the strings, but most of those are going to be changed (into Chinese, probably). De-compiled code - if that's even possible depending on the language - usually bears very little resemblance to the original source. This kind of reverse-engineering (which some might claim is even illegal under the DMCA) is an unreasonable burden to place on software hosting sites.

              It has been known for a long time that green dam was stolen code, and they knowingly continued to distribute it.

              Yes, that's a valid point.

      • Yes, you do. Sometimes the copy is a blatant binary copy. Even if the code was copied from source, and complied with different compilers, you can look for things like all the string texts being exactly the same.

        Sometimes you can find an unused string in the copied code that looks like "Copyright 2009, The Original Authors (tm)" That's a dead giveaway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      CBS isn't directly making any money off of offering the software since they aren't selling it

      So it's OK to post a copy of Metallica's Free speech for the dumb on your website? Actually, I would be ok with noncommercial use always being non-infringing (but they'd still fall afoul, as since there are ads, it's commercial use) but the law says any distribution.

      CBS would have no way of knowing that it contained copyright-infringing code.

      They knew as soon as they got the takedown notice.

      To add insult to injury,

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rich0 (548339)

        I tend to agree with your points. The only question I'd have is whether ZDNet was contacted about the copyrighted materials and asked to take them down.

        If the copyright holder asked them to take down the materials and they refused, then clearly they're completely liable under the DMCA.

        On the other hand, if the first notice they've gotten about hosting the files is a lawsuit, then that is a bit unfair (and not generally compliant with the DMCA).

        The issue isn't so much that file-hosting sites exist. The pro

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:56AM (#29669277)

    ... 2 billion PCs multiplied by 1 million per infringing copy ...

    CBS Interactive owes CYBERsitter 2 million billion dollars.

    Maybe they'll settle for 1.5 bajillion out of court.

  • by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:58AM (#29669313) Homepage Journal

    A battle between a repressive government and a company that makes repressive software? So there's basically no downside?

    • by digitig (1056110) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:09AM (#29669437)

      A battle between a repressive government and a company that makes repressive software? So there's basically no downside?

      Yes there is. Lawyers will profit.

    • Unfortunately not, the people being sued are not the repressive governemnt but a mere download site distributing what they beleived was legit freeware.

      If this succeeds it will put running a freeware/shareware/FOSS distribution site into a similar risk category as running a warez site.

      • by argent (18001)

        Unfortunately not, the people being sued are not the repressive governemnt but a mere download site distributing what they beleived was legit freeware.

        They would sue the Chinese government if they thought they had a chance, but they can't, so they have to work through a patsy who was unethical enough to think that redistributing repressive software was a good idea.

        • They would sue the Chinese government if they thought they had a chance, but they can't, so they have to work through
          I'd disagree with calling this "working through", I doubt a legal attack on a download site will have any impact on the Chinese government whatsoever.

          a patsy who was unethical enough to think that redistributing repressive software was a good idea.
          Is it really unethical to run a large archive of freeware/shareware? Can you really expect them to look at the ethics of every peice of software up

          • by argent (18001)

            Is it really unethical to run a large archive of freeware/shareware? Can you really expect them to look at the ethics of every peice of software uploaded?

            That depends on the nature if the archive and where they're operating. For example if they're being sued in the US and they're simply operating as an ISP and providing hosting for whatever random software some yobbo uploads, then they're protected by the safe harbour provisions of the DMCA. Now, I can't read the ZDnet China page... but if it's similar to o

  • by will_die (586523) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:59AM (#29669321) Homepage
    Solid Oak Software is using CBS Interactive for $1,238,450 on the claim that CBS Interactive copied 3,000 lines of code from Solid Oak Software's CYBERSitter and used it in Green Dam software.
    The amount they are sueing for is $39.95, the cost of the CYBERSitter software, times the 31,000 times they say the Green Dam software was downloaded.

    Since both companies are US based this comes down to simple intellectual property lawsuit.
    • by tazochai (213288)

      I don't see anywhere in the article that says CBS Interactive wrote Green Dam. All I see is that CBS Interactive distributed it.

      Who wrote Green Dam? Also, the article refers to Blue Dam. Who wrote that, and does it include the same copied code from Solid Oak?

      In an article about Intellectual Property, the name of the person/company responsible for writing Green Dam is a key piece of information.

      • by will_die (586523) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:19AM (#29669559) Homepage
        Blue Dam is the Chinese government's replacement for Green Dam. Blue Dam is aimed for the servers and make use of hardware and software and is suppose to be multiple times more effective then Green Dam was. It is not part of this lawsuit.
        Found an article [pcworld.com] that better explains it. The chinese government hired Jinhui Computer System Engineering who wrote the software, and would of been the company that stole the code. They are China based so no lawsuits on them.
        CBS Interactive is being sued because they are US based and distributed the software. It is still down intellectual property.
        • by chrb (1083577)

          CBS Interactive is being sued because they are US based and distributed the software.

          TFA alleges ZDNet China distributed the software. ZDNet China may be a subsidiary of CBS Interactive, but they are a completely separate legal entity. CBS Interactive is not liable for their actions.

    • by Ocker3 (1232550)
      I'm just pleasantly shocked that Solid Oak is suing for Cost x Number of Violations, rather than Some Number We Think We Were Hurt By (trademarked by the RIAA). It's not seventy bajillion dollars, it's the amount of money they would have made if the actual software had been purchased rather than illegally copied, something like what happens in Australia if you're found to have insufficient licences for your business' software. You have to buy licences, and they may monitor you, and perhaps fine you if it's
  • Well, even if they get a ruling in their favor, good luck going into another country that does not recognize our laws, and try to get that money from whomever, the Chinese will laugh at the US, and this could be one of those catalysts that evolves the relationship into a terminal one.

    • by digitig (1056110)
      AFAICS, a US company is suing a US company. Who is going to have to go to "another country that does not recognize our laws"?
    • >>>the Chinese will laugh at the US, and this could be one of those catalysts that evolves the relationship into a terminal one.

      Without the support of China, our medicare and retirement programs will collapse due to lack of incoming money.

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        The US seriously needs to be on a self-sufficient footing. The first question in any trade negotiation should be "What happens if there is an embargo?" The US has failed to consider that with respect to China - they are the sole supplier for many things, including some military items. A war with China might be over very quickly because if China cut off supplies the military might not be able to fight for very long.

        Financially, relying on China or any other country for the level of loans that the US has i

        • You bring up some important points about the relationship the US has with China, and I think your right, the US has to reevaluate its dealings with China to protect itself, should China (on a powerplay) decide they are cutting us off.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      The US likes its intellectual property. They can make it so hard to trade outside China that world ignores you. You become the computer worlds 'North Korean banker"
      You can host and offer all the files you want in China.
      Try to use your brand name or skills outside China and life gets interesting for anyone dealing with you.
      • Hate to tell you, China trumps US in a world power, when it comes to world influence, especially now that everything is brought in from or made in china...also we are talking about software, not an actual physical object to sell, so patents are not really recognized per se as real theft in certain countries (like India) where theft of an actual physical thing(s) would lead to cooperation of sorts...

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        >> The US likes its intellectual property.

        I agree, but its stupid. Does the US seriously believe it has any commercial technology (i.e. not top-secret military type stuff) the rest of the world doesn't already have too?

  • The lawsuit, if it succeeds, could force companies to give more thought to the risks of complying with mandates from foreign governments that violate US laws.

    To paraphrase the Bible: pick your poison, you will end up serving a master (God, money, the devil, sex, the state), so you might as well make an informed decision.

  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:35AM (#29669749)

    The lawsuit, if it succeeds, could force companies to give more thought to the risks of complying with mandates from foreign governments that violate US laws.

    First of all - if you're doing business in more than one country, you are going to have to comply with the laws of those countries.

    Secondly, if the recent polls are an indication, about half of Slashdot aren't in the US, so why would we care if some foreign country mandates something that may be illegal in the US? Now, if it had said "could force US companies [...]" it'd be a lot better.

    But why are people surprised, that if you operate in a country, you will have to abide by the laws of that country? If you operate in a country that makes it illegal to give your customers' info to any third party without a court order, and another country has a law that says any government official can ask and it's illegal to deny the request - you're going to have to figure out how to build airtight shutters between the two companies.

    Duh!

    • by jc42 (318812)

      But why are people surprised, that if you operate in a country, you will have to abide by the laws of that country?

      Because generally this isn't true.

      First, you only need to obey laws that are enforced. This is often less than half the laws that are on the book; the others you only need to worry about if you offend someone in power.

      Second, the enforced laws can often be ignored, with care, plus a few, uh, contributions to the right people in the government. This is as true in the US as elsewhere, and often

  • by dwater (72834)

    > but widespread criticism, including reports of stolen code, forced the Chinese government to reconsider

    Ha - pure speculation. What evidence do you have to show why the government chose to reconsider?

  • DMCA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by denbesten (63853)

    Not that I am a big fan of the DMCA, but this seems like a perfect example of where its Title II provision [wikipedia.org] is intended to be used.

    If White Oak Software started by filing a take-down notice and ZD does not comply (or contest it), then damages are fair-game in my book.

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