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Censorship The Courts Your Rights Online

China Faces Piracy Suit Over Censorship Software 113

Posted by kdawson
from the green-dam-blues dept.
angry tapir writes "Web software filtering vendor CyberSitter has filed a $2.2B lawsuit against the Chinese government, two Chinese software makers, and seven major computer manufacturers for their distribution of Green Dam Youth Escort, a controversial Web filtering package the Chinese government had mandated to be installed on computers sold there. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that Green Dam copied code from CyberSitter."
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China Faces Piracy Suit Over Censorship Software

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @09:45PM (#30664638)

    It seems odd that a Chinese government-run effort would have to respect the American copyright laws... couldn't China just declare the work to be in the public domain as far as they're concerned?

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @09:48PM (#30664684)

    1. Get the government to require your product be shipped with all computers, and used by all households with children.
    2. Make your product by stealing code to save on development costs.
    3. Bill the computer makers for license rights to the program you stole and the government requires, they can't turn you down or they're out of the PC business.
    4. PROFIT!!!

  • by abigor (540274) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @09:55PM (#30664776)

    Exactly. The makers of this software aren't hoping for a settlement. They just want to make the rights infringement public, and lawsuits attract publicity.

    Everyone knows that Chinese "programmers" cheerfully copy whatever they get their hands on. This lawsuit is the legal equivalent of a press release.

  • by ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) * on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @09:56PM (#30664784)

    That is why China continues to have growth in GNP year after year.

    Time to reform the U.S. patent system, or even the entire legal system in general. Patents have done nothing except preventing truly creative inventions, especially when you have too many lawyers on the streets right now.

    For those who try to start a business, think twice. A single tiny wrong move means you will go to bankruptcy, lose your house, and end up bring your family into suicide.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @10:02PM (#30664840)

    ...a backdoor in your proprietary software. They could sell unblocking software that way.

  • by ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) * on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @10:02PM (#30664844)

    Because the Chinese government knows they will be committing economic suicide if they do this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @10:51PM (#30665318)
    Business in North America has realized that they can no longer compete with the developing world in resources, manufacturing or services, and the only way they can make money is by selling access to the intellectual and cultural property they have acquired rights to. So the movies, music, code, patents and any idea that business can get their hands on is something to be exploited for money. This is the reason for the ACTA negotiations: To create a world where such "intellectual property" created in North America can be peddled to the developing world to get the money back that we have been sending them for their cheap goods and cheap services.

    The problem is that average people in both the developing world and the developed world simply don't believe that draconian rules about so-called "intellectual property" are justified. Why do "artists" get to perform once and get paid over and over when regular people need to go to work every day to make a living? Is it not absurd to fine some 14-year old hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few songs on Kazaa? Why is it OK that copyright duration keeps getting extended over and over just so W*lt D*sney can keep making money recycling the same old tired stuff? It also seems that young people see no problem with sharing music with their friends, or making mix CDs or other reasonable use of music, since that music is broadcast free over the radio anyway. This is not to advocate piracy or law-breaking, but if people think that laws are too restrictive and unjust on what people can do with their copies of software, music and video and what they can do with new ideas they hear about then they will ignore those laws and do what's best for themselves.

    I understand the reason for this lawsuit and I wish the plaintiff well, but I suspect that in the long run there will be much more of this "intellectual property theft" and people will eventually realize that most people don't agree that it is a terrible crime to steal ideas or music or videos that can be easily shared or freely copied. Eventually the laws that try to enforce huge penalties for such "theft" will make about as much sense to the public as the old "Red Flag" laws that tried to nobble the automobile in a desperate attempt to protect the vested horse, stagecoach and railroad industries.

    the USA has a lot of debt in the hands of China. The only way to get out from under that debt in the USA is to figure out what they can sell to the Chinese to bring back all the $$$ that USA has paid for goods and services. I don't see how "intellectual property" can be the product that the Chinese want to pay for as it's easy to copy and share and historically that's what citizens and business are used to doing, both in the USA and in China.

    There ain't no easy answers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agreement [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_flag_laws [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt [wikipedia.org]

    (Yeah, I know it's only Wikipedia but I am AC after all)
  • by Jenming (37265) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @10:54PM (#30665328)

    It seems like the other defendants (at least the US ones) could be much easier targets than the Chinese government. Possibly the supply chain could be stopped at that level if China is unwilling to settle.

  • by jsse (254124) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @11:22PM (#30665536) Homepage Journal

    Exactly. The makers of this software aren't hoping for a settlement. They just want to make the rights infringement public, and lawsuits attract publicity.

    On top of making a publicity, it's actually a profitable move. It's so obvious(at least to civilians Chinese like me) the China Government is intending to create another listed company by giving monoplization power to a private company created Green Dam. Law suits like that, international or local, would greatly affect the risk profile and directly affect the estimation of stock value. For mutual benefit, that listed company would pay for the royality eventually. CyberSitter could cheerfully accept compensation as a settlement in the future.

    Everyone knows that Chinese "programmers" cheerfully copy whatever they get their hands on. This lawsuit is the legal equivalent of a press release.

    To tell you the true, in the case of Green Dam, these programmers are not copying codes, they copied the binary directly, and they don't even bother to change the company name in the executables. XD

    But you're right in the sentance "Chinese porgrammers cheerfully whatever they get their hands on". In fact, they're the huge supporter of opensource programming. (I'm recruiting opensource programmers there and I've never found short of them. :)

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @02:34AM (#30666650)
    They'll wait another 20 years to do that. They haven't finished ripping off everything we have. The US didn't honor international copyrights and patents for years, when they were growing fast in the industrial revolution. Then, they became a powerhouse, and started protecting such things more tightly that most others. China is doing the same, and is about 100 years behind the US in that part of history. But when they catch up (shouldn't be more than 20 years from now) they can shift from the dollar to the euro, and dump the US T-bills, leapfrogging over the US. But they need to get the infrastructure and such ready before they do, because it will probably have a bit of a backlash ans need to be in a much stronger position to do that and not crash their own economy. Right now, if they flooded them, causing massive problems, we could cancel them and "fix" the problem (though unless we actually increased taxes and cut spending to remove the deficit and shrink the debt at the rate bonds were being called due, we'd explode the US economy worse than China could). But canceling the China debt would go a long way to balancing the budget with the necessary surplus to make a small dent in the debt.

    And they could flood the market with trillions, not just billions. We owe something like 6 trillion dollars to China now. They flood, we cancel, and they lose trillions, we lose the ability to issue bonds anyone wants to buy because we'll cancel them if we feel like it. I think we win that one. 20 years from now, we wouldn't be able to pay off everyone else's bonds, and China will have more resources (the trillions we owe and would cancel will not hurt as much when their economy is many times the size of the US economy).

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

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