Cybersitter firm sues China, Lenovo for Green Dam code lift
Solid Oak swings legal baton
A US firm is taking legal action against seven PC makers and the Chinese government alleging much of the code for China's Green Dam scheme was stolen from their products.
Solid Oak software, which makes Cybersitter, wants $2.2bn in damages from Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, Asus, BenQ and the Chinese government.
Greg Fayer, Cybersitter's attorney said: "This lawsuit aims to strike a blow against the all-too-common practices of foreign software manufacturers and distributors who believe that they can violate the intellectual property rights of small American companies with impunity without being brought to justice in US courts."
The Chinese government proposed compulsory installation of Green Dam filtering on all computers sold in the country. The scheme was eventually abandoned in the face of criticism that its real purpose was to strengthen government control of information and services available to Chinese citizens rather than protecting children from unsuitable content.
Although we can't see the Chinese government coughing up damages any time soon the lawsuit should not be seen as just a publicity stunt.
Cybersitter has long complained that its intellectual property had been infringed - it sent cease and desist letters to Dell and HP back in June to stop them pre-installing Green Dam filters.
It also took action against CBS for providing a link to a download site for the software. The company complains that some 3000 lines of code within Green Dam come from its Solid Oak software.
The complaint, which CNet has here, accuses the defendants of conspiracy as well as copyright offences. It names two Chinese distributors along with the OEMs and the People's Republic of China.
Solid Oak also alleges several thousand attempts were made to access its servers from computers based in China - including one attempted intrusion in May 2009 which saw 2,500 access attempts within 27 minutes from within China's Ministry of Health. ®
This seems like it should be a case against the Chinese government rather than the OEM's, as the OEM's would have been severely pressured by the Chinese goverment to install Green Dam (also likely provided to them by the Chinese government for installation) or not be able to sell their systems within the country. Likely the Chinese government were the ones to have it developed - next question would as to who the developer was, and have they been sued yet?
This is the sort of IP protection...
... that the US should be dealing with.
Not ridiculous "software patents" where someone writes down an idea (which is often already being used), but blatant copying of an actual program.
Unfortunately whilst there's vested interests in patent whoring...
Not source code, data file code
The "code" that has been copied is not source code, it is code in the data files describing which sites are filtered. Cybersitter has a .pdf file on their site explaining the complaint.