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China sued over Green Dam code
Published: 2010-01-05

California firm CYBERsitter filed a $2.2 billion lawsuit on Tuesday against the People's Republic of China, two Chinese software companies and seven computer makers, alleging that China's filtering software copied its own product's code.

The lawsuit alleges that the Chinese software developers copied more than 3,000 lines of code directly from CYBERsitter's eponymous Internet filtering software and included it in the software they created for China's own filtering and monitoring software. CYBERsitter is suing the government of China, the two Chinese software developers who produced the code, and the PC makers who shipped the program on their systems. The lawsuit names Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, ASUSTeK, BenQ and Haier as defendants in the civil suit.

"The lawsuit aims to strike a blow against the all-too-common practice of foreign software manufacturers and distributors who believe that they can violate intellectual property rights of small American companies with impunity without being brought to justice in U.S. courts," Greg Fayer, an attorney for CYBERsitter, said in a statement (pdf).

China announced last year that any computer sold in the country after July 1, 2009, would have to have the nation's filter and monitoring software, known as Green Dam Youth Escort, installed on its system. After University of Michigan researchers found vulnerabilities in the system, and under pressure from computer makers, the Chinese government backed down from the plan.

The University of Michigan researchers also found that Green Dam contained code segments that were very similar to CYBERsitter.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, copyright infringement and conspiracy. The lawsuit also claims that the Chinese software makers broke U.S. criminal statues regarding economic espionage.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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