Lawsuit implies China should have purchased US web-filtering software rather than pirating it.

Posted: 08 Jan 2010   Print   Send a link
"A California web-filtering company says it is the victim of 'one of the largest cases of software piracy in history.' Lawyers for adult- and violent-content web-filtering company Cybersitter claim in a federal lawsuit that the Chinese government purloined some 3,000 lines of its code from its servers as part of software for a national censorship project –- in which several international computer makers are accused of knowingly distributing throughout China. 'They are heavy allegations. Three thousand lines of code, approximately, were stolen. It was a serious thing that was done,' Elliot Gipson, a lawyer for Santa Barbara-based Cybersitter, said in a telephone interview Thursday. Gipson said about 56 million copies of China’s government censorship software, part of the so-called Green Dam project, were marketed with his client’s code in China last year. ... That Chinese software, in addition to blocking violent and adult content, throttled political and religious websites." David Kravits, Wired, 7 January 2010.
     "The computer makers targeted in the suit -- who are accused of knowing Green Dam was copied but choosing to package it anyway along with products they sold in China -- are Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, ASUSTeK, BenQ and Haier." Forbes, 7 January 2010.
     "In response, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Jiang Yu said to domestic and overseas media agencies January 7, 'We also recently received relevant question lists from some of the media agencies here and have transferred them to China's IT industry regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Please put forth specific follow-up questions to MIIT. What I want to stress is that the Chinese government highly values and fully respects software intellectual property rights.'" People's Daily Online, 8 January 2010.
     "While human-rights activists continue pushing Beijing to ease its restrictions on free-speech rights, foreign governments also need to recognize the protectionist aspects of Chinese Web censorship and respond accordingly. China's online protectionism goes against its obligations under the WTO. When China acceded to the trade body in 2001, it agreed to give unlimited access and equal treatment to foreign-based or foreign-owned businesses in many categories of services, including online services. These services count as imports to which China is supposed to be opening itself, even if they are delivered over a wire instead of in a shipping crate. ... If China does not change its Internet censorship practices, it is likely to soon face another WTO dispute. The online market in China is simply too big for Europe and the U.S. to let trade-distorting regulations pass without action." Fredrik Erixon and Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Wall Street Journal, 6 January 2010; see also the comment.
     "For a few hours on Monday the strict controls that China exerts over domestic access to the internet – known as ‘the great firewall’- disappeared. Chinese internet users could twitter, Facebook, read about Tibet - you name it. But was it a harbinger or a glitch? Chinese media expert Rebecca Mackinnon explains the rules and misconceptions that surround China’s internet." On the Media, National Public Radio, 8 January 2010.