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CBS Interactive Sued For Distributing Green Dam

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-dam-lawsuit-after-another dept.

Censorship 133

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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133 comments

Well (0, Troll)

rinoid (451982) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669015)

Mmmph-mmmmph-mmmmmmmphhhhh-ppppphhhhhffffffmmmmappppffffff.

Rip .... oh there. I just pulled the tape off.

Capitalism is evil.

Re:Well (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669079)

Cybersitter [goatse.fr]

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669339)

Capitalism is evil.

I think you more properly meant that the people doing evil are doing it under the guise of capitalism.

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669463)

I really wish people would stop calling "capitalism evil". Capitalism is nothing more than your neighbor building a chair, or bed, or whatever his specialty might be, and you saying, "That's really nice, can I buy it or give you something else for trade?" That's capitalism and it's not evil. It's the basis of human interaction between neighbors and goes-back 5000 years.

Have some of the corporations gotten out of control? Absolutely, but that doesn't mean we need to kill capitalism. We simply need to downsize the corporation (or kill it off completely), same way we removed the kings and replaced them with democratic-elected assemblies.

Re:Well (1, Interesting)

rinoid (451982) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669661)

Just because I left words unspoken, for effect, doesn't make the post a "troll" post ... hopefully meta-mods will see this as a totally crazy mod. So some mod who is hyper-capitalist modded me a troll, what for?

I am not a troll, I am a 6'2" fit male who knows a few languages and can make his way through a crowd.

But yeah, capitalism has spawned the ability for a very small minority to amass a very enormous amount of wealth. These people are not contributing more to the world, are not necessarily smarter, and it is immoral to think that somehow they are worth 10,000 times more than the average human being. Capitalism has given a majority in America the delusion that they too can win the lotto, they too can be the next 10million dollar a year winner but instead they don't realize that they are stuck as economic vassals.

The pres of my company makes a modest salary by ceo/pres standards. I will work 20 years at a decent salary (top 10%) for my region, save 20% of my salary a year and it will not equal what he makes in one year! There's something woefully wrong with our system.

I agree with @commodore64_love ... no need to kill it off completely but we need some serious reform, and, as a society, neigh, as a civilization we need to come to terms with who we are, what humanity is, and where we see ourselves in the world. Will it be some dystopian vision of capitalism writ large, or some blinded by mythologies version of this?, or can we be reasonable?

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669865)

and, as a society, neigh, as a civilization

Feeling a little ho[a]rse are we?

s/neigh/nay/

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669949)

Just because I left words unspoken, for effect, doesn't make the post a "troll" post ...

So, but the shouty-rant without any useful contribution *does* make it a troll post...

Re:Well (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670369)

Capitalism has given a majority in America the delusion that they too can win the lotto, they too can be the next 10million dollar a year winner...

I think gambling predates capitalism.

The pres of my company makes a modest salary by ceo/pres standards. I will work 20 years at a decent salary (top 10%) for my region, save 20% of my salary a year and it will not equal what he makes in one year! There's something woefully wrong with our system.

The fact that you may be completely incapable of doing what the President of your Company does nor willing to be responsible for what is expected of the President of your Company does not even factor in to your equation. Only the fact that he makes more than you.

Consider that perhaps the bottom 10% of your region think the same of you as you think of the President of your Company. That you don't deserve the salary you earn. Thus, I challenge you to put your money where your mouth is and adopt the income of the bottom 10% for your region.

Re:Well (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670465)

But yeah, capitalism has spawned the ability for a very small minority to amass a very enormous amount of wealth. These people are not contributing more to the world, are not necessarily smarter,

That is not for you to decide

and it is immoral to think that somehow they are worth 10,000 times more than the average human being.

It is stupid to equate wealth with the value of a human being.

Clearly not possibly a troll (2, Insightful)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670895)

I am not a troll, I am a 6'2" fit male who knows a few languages and can make his way through a crowd.

Oh... You're tall and educated. Therefore you couldn't possibly be a troll. :)

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 4 years ago | (#29672079)

capitalism has spawned the ability for a very small minority to amass a very enormous amount of wealth. These people are not contributing more to the world, are not necessarily smarter, and it is immoral to think that somehow they are worth 10,000 times more than the average human being.

If you believe that your worth and your wealth are the same thing, then there is no hope for you.

The pres of my company makes a modest salary by ceo/pres standards. I will work 20 years at a decent salary (top 10%) for my region, save 20% of my salary a year and it will not equal what he makes in one year! There's something woefully wrong with our system.

By your own logic; what makes you worthy of a salary greater than 90% of your neighbors? Why should you earn more than the unfit, 5'1" dullard who is illiterate in any language who cleans your table at lunchtime? How many years would she have to work to have what you make in a year? How is that fair? Indeed, why should anyone earn more than the minimum wage? Anything more would be unfair, wouldn't it?

Capitalism has given a majority in America the delusion that they too can win the lotto, they too can be the next 10million dollar a year winner but instead they don't realize that they are stuck as economic vassals.

Therein lies the misconception. Those who believe in capitalism don't believe you gain wealth by winning the lotto. You aren't given a prize for being the smartest either. You do it by adding value - not some metaphysical value that adds to your worth as a human being, but value that someone else can see and is willing to pay for. Sometimes that person is very smart, like Wozniak and Jobs, but more often they are just providing a service that a lot of people are willing to pay for. Like the lady who invented those little buttons that people put in their Crocs. I can personally attest that I would never in a million years have created that product - due to the fact that I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would ever don a pair of Crocs in the first place, let alone adorn it in such a hideous fashion. I would bet that I could best her in a "smarts" contest. You probably could too. But she made a couple of million bucks in her first year in business and you and I are collecting salaries working for someone else. And she deserves every penny of that money, and you and I don't no matter how great we think we are, because she went out there and earned it, and we didn't.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669977)

The trouble with capitalism is that it's become a religion; in fact, it's the US's dominant religion. And it's an insidious one; people who consider themselves Christians or Athiests worship this god.

Re:Well (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670135)

I really wish people would stop calling "capitalism evil". Capitalism is nothing more than your neighbor building a chair, or bed, or whatever his specialty might be, and you saying, "That's really nice, can I buy it or give you something else for trade?" That's capitalism and it's not evil. It's the basis of human interaction between neighbors and goes-back 5000 years.

So.... where does capital enter into this little exchange?

Re:Well (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670905)

I really wish people would stop calling "capitalism evil". Capitalism is nothing more than your neighbor building a chair, or bed, or whatever his specialty might be, and you saying, "That's really nice, can I buy it or give you something else for trade?" That's capitalism and it's not evil. It's the basis of human interaction between neighbors and goes-back 5000 years.

So.... where does capital enter into this little exchange?

At the beginning of a sentence or a proper noun.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29671463)

Perhaps the neighbour owns a set of tools.

Re:Well (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671985)

But has he negotiated a license to use said tools?

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 4 years ago | (#29672035)

The builder's skill, effort, tools, raw materials, and workplace are his capital. Those who denounce capitalism deny that he should be able to own any of those; they're the property of the State to redistribute. Note that that list includes the builder's mind and body.

Re:Well (1)

ZeRu (1486391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670335)

Then move away to Cuba. I'm sure that you'll have no trouble finding a Cuban who will be more than willing to switch their place with you.

What Capitalism Isn't (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671205)

Capitalism isn't the right to buy and sell anything you please -- not in practice, anyway.

If it were, I would already visited my local butcher, to indulge my curiosity about the taste of human flesh.

Blue Dam isn't Green Dam (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

BadAnalogyGuy is gay as AIDS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669099)

he loves to gobble niggerdick

BadAnalogyGuy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669131)

BadAnalogyGuy is a scientologist, and young earth creationist.

Re:Blue Dam isn't Green Dam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669227)

Oh, you're talking about Queen vs. Vanilla Ice

What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (4, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669205)

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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669489)

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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669619)

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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669727)

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

Problem Solved!

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (2, Informative)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669807)

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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669987)

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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670371)

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 in companies that do Bad Things.

(Not that Green Dam is illegal, as it is most certainly legal in China, and still would be an asshole move to invest in it. The above was a digression.)

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669733)

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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

Ken D (100098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670907)

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 being fined, they continue to conduct business as usual.

How is this fair? This is plutocracy, where having enough money means you can break any rules you want.

Fines do not make corporations accountable to the law. And when juries try to impose a fine large enough to attempt to penalize corporations equivalently, the courts throw those penalties out.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (3, Insightful)

ad0n (1171681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669207)

I would evaluate the risk vs. reward, but that's just me.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669215)

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...

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (0)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669673)

Chinese != Japanese, you crazy racist.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

heritage727 (693099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669991)

Chinese != Japanese, you crazy racist.

We Chinese love Sudoku, you insensitive clod!

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (5, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669829)

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.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669979)

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 able to ignore them as nobody can afford not doing business with them anymore. Peer pressure is only a minor concern for someone their size.


As for simple force by the ruling group: That would require a ruling group. Nuclear weapons ensure that no single country will ever get to that point.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670523)

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 kings were peers to other kings. "A jury of peers" as stated in the Magna Charta thus means, that a baron was not allowed in a jury to judge a pawn, and a craftsman was not allowed in a jury deciding upon a count.

And yes. If we somehow sort countries by "social rank", we indeed find that some peer pressure works between states. The U.S. and China are different in a way that they don't have any peers.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671171)

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 that could reach China is national-level peer pressure, which of course doesn't work either.

In short, there's not much we can do to tell the Chinese how to run their country.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669951)

I thought it had to come through the barrel of a gun?

Four... Three... Two... One... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671027)

I thought it had to come through the barrel of a gun?

Keep my head way down.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670693)

"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 they also produced an economic miracle and so were quite popular until they led their country to ruin through war.

Repression and Capitalism actually work quite well together, its pretty much what Fascism was all about. Fascism suffered a tactical defeat in World war II but appears poised for strategic victory through China in the 21st century. Its very profitable to have a subservient work force where someone gets out of line the party hammers them. Managers like it when they don't have to worry about malcontents interfering with production.

It will be interesting to see if, now that both the Democratic and Republican parties have led the U.S. to ruin, if the American people have enough backbone left to stand up and say enough is enough, now that American prosperity is disappearing. Repression like China's is bad but incompetence, corruption and selling your country down the river for a few million from lobbyists has a new place in my book as the number one reason for ridding yourself of a regime. Flipping between Democrats and Republicans and pretending it makes a difference or is "change" doesn't cut it any more.

West Eats East (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671239)

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?

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669413)

I was wondering why ZDNet bothered to offer this software on its website. They are a news site, not a computer manufacturer/retailer.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669445)

You're very naive. They were surely TOLD to offer it. Or it was "suggested" by the government official who is responsible for approving/certifying their "internet license." Yes, you need a license to operate a website in china. Look for the little "ICP #" at the bottom of any Chinese website that's hosted in China.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669759)

Heh, naive my ass.

I'm a native Chinese living in China. Here we nobody gives shit about this Green Damn thing. Not even govt officials. There are thousands of private-owned tech websites in China and none are required to offer Green Dam download service. Should some website operator be TOLD to do this, it means someone in the local government are not well fed and want a pony. Just send in cheques and you are done.

Now get off my lawn.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29671785)

I could see how bribing a government official would be the first suggestion from some nongmin. It works when you squirt out your second brat, so it must also work if you're a foreign corporation. LOL

You're all but admitting to common government corruption and bribery. This seems to support the original poster's sentiment that it is probably best not to do business in China in the first place.

When this case goes to court (unless it's settled out of court) I am willing to bet we'll see that government pressure was exerted on the company to make the download available.

Re:What realistic choice does ZDnet have? (3, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669663)

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.

gotta love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669171)

it always makes me feel good to see two evil entities fighting each other.

Nostalgia (4, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669197)

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...

Re:Nostalgia (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669439)

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 (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669497)

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.

Re:Nostalgia (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671749)

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.

Re:Nostalgia (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670499)

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.

Re:Nostalgia (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671131)

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 (3, Informative)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669245)

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" natural gas pipeline software and associated hardware went "haywire" (i.e. it ran the ultra-high pressure test) after a planned period of normal operation. The result was the largest non-nuclear man-made explosion ever seen from space (the satellites designed to detect plumes from ICBM launches detected a tremendous flash from the area near Vladivostok where the pipeline in question was located).

This article [msn.com] covers some of the details excerpted from the book At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War as recalled by Thomas C. Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time.

This in NOT interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669793)

It's copypasta.

So... (2, Insightful)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669247)

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.

Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (5, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669389)

Well, how is this different from RIAA's "making available" theory?

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669513)

As I understand it, "making available" was a way for the RIAA to try to expand copyright to restrict acts other than distribution, and lower their burden of proof.

In this case it's different because the plaintiff can likely prove that the defendant actually distributed the copyright infringing code, rather than just offering it.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (4, Interesting)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669519)

/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.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669795)

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.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669529)

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.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669777)

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.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669831)

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

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670009)

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 they knowingly continued to distribute it.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (2, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670409)

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.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669805)

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:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669881)

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, Solid Oak wants the full price ($40) of their own filtering software awarded to them as damages, for each copy downloaded from ZDNet China.

ZDNet is lucky they didn't post that Metallica song -- it would be not $40, but $700,000. They're getting off cheap if you ask me.

What Solid Oak is basically arguing is that 3rd parties are fully liable for any copyright violations in the software they distribute.

Seems reasonable to me. Ignorance is no excuse.

That would immediately make download sites such as Download.com, FilePlanet, and MajorGeeks an impossible thing to offer.

They must be doing a far better job than ZDNet, because nobody's sued them for infringement yet. I mean, if you saw your commercial program on download.com what would you do? If Microsoft saw Office on download.com what would they do? Even if the respective programs had been renamed?

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

No, it means that hosts will have to do a little more due dilligance when posting, rather than just slapping up any program shot their way.

Re:Reaching Out To Sue Anyone You Can (2, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670133)

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 problem is when they don't respond to requests to remove illegal content.

From precedent... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:From precedent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29671653)

No worries, the Fed will print all those bajillion dollars out just in time and we'll all be carrying $Billion US dollar notes around the world! Everyone becomes billionaire! Isn't that nice?

Win-win situation (2, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669313)

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

Re:Win-win situation (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Win-win situation (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669451)

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.

Re:Win-win situation (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669731)

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.

For those who could not understand the summary. (5, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669321)

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.

Re:For those who could not understand the summary. (1)

tazochai (213288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669395)

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.

Re:For those who could not understand the summary. (3, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669559)

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.

Gooooood luck! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669345)

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.

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669475)

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"?

Re:Gooooood luck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669691)

A US Company suing a US Company based on what another Company (affiliated/owned) was doing in another country as mandated/authorised by the government of that other country. Forgive me if I'm wrong but I sure as hell would not want to own stock in a US company. Now US companies need to worry about overlapping / contradicting international law?..... Good luck with this mine field! This should be thrown out!

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670119)

Yes, it's a minefield. But if (big "if" -- it's for the court to determine) they were contravening US law in the US in order to comply with what a foreign government told them to do then I would expect them to get pretty short shrift. After all, if a foreign government told a US national to assassinate the US President then I think that US national could expect US law to take precedence over what the foreign government told them to do. (NSA: Please read the whole message -- nothing to worry about!)

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670681)

However, this is where you are wrong, they were an American company doing whatever in a different country with different laws, then bringing their paychecks home, so the money mad elsewhere is not taxable in the US if it was made elsewhere, same as the products made there or sold there...
ther is no ground for the US to intervene, unfortunately.

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669551)

>>>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.

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670513)

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 is absurd. China could, in theory, dictate policy to the US. The current health care reform efforts could be substantially altered should China enter the discussion. Obviously, China could dictate that costs must not be above current spending as they would not finance further debt. This might come as a bit of a surprise to some folks in Washington should it happen.

China could also instruct the US to end operations in Iraq and Afganistan immediately. Failure to comply with China would collapse the US and much of the Western economies. Probably the only reason this isn't happening is it would also knock China off their current high income levels. What many people do not understand is that it is not up to the people in China, it is up to their unelected leaders and that China has suffered from a really bad economy for a very long time. It wouldn't be anything new to the people there. And it wouldn't really affect the leaders that much - they wouldn't suffer one bit.

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670629)

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.

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669917)

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.

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670587)

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...

Re:Gooooood luck! (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29670763)

>> 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?

You can't serve multiple masters (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29669455)

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.

You Control the Update Servers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669467)

This is a good time for Solid Oak Software to get creative. If they control the update servers which these computers check, figure out a way to ID those machines, then make them all do something annoying like email the ministry of technology and say "pay us $40 for our software!"

NOTE: This is actually the worst idea ever as it would likely piss a lot of people off, but it'd be a much more hilarious story.

That's an odd comment at the end (4, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#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!

solid oak crying again.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29669899)

solid oak software has a history of throwing hissy fits. they made threats to media3 to block all sites under their IP block, and even mailbombed some poor woman who complained about their software...

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-207930.html

Milburn is an arrogant dick.

forced? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671303)

> 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 (2, Insightful)

denbesten (63853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29671909)

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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