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Judge Rules Against China In 'Green Dam' Suit

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the china-shrugs dept.

Censorship 152

An anonymous reader writes "About a year after Cybersitter sued the Chinese government and several Asian OEMs for allegedly copying its code to create the 'Green Dam' software, a US federal judge has allowed the $2.3 billion suit to proceed. Judge Josephine Staton Tucker, a California district judge, entered a judgement of default against the People's Republic of China on Wednesday, after PRC officials failed to respond to the ruling. Although the PRC's embassy sent a letter to the US State Department protesting Cybersitter's suit, such a letter did not qualify as a formal response."

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A drop in the pond... (1)

daitengu (172781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255468)

I wonder if we can knock $2.3b off our debt to China, then?

Re:A drop in the pond... (5, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255540)

The absurdity of claiming $2.3B in any copyright suit aside...

It would be hilarious if we reneged on our foreign debts by using RIAA math to value the IP "stolen" from the US in the trillions, and seize foreign capital as "compensation."

This does happen [nwsource.com] in the case of tangible assets such as oil, so I guess the fact we don't do the same for intellectual property is a tacit admission of some distinction between them vs other types of property.

Re:A drop in the pond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255568)

Yeah, so hilarious it would start a nuclear war..

Re:A drop in the pond... (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255612)

Yeah, right, China doesn't get paid so it decides to commit suicide instead.

So, let me see if I understand you logic (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255908)

China has not been honoring ANY of their treaties. They have their money fixed to the dollar. They have trade barriers in place. They subsidize and dump on the market. They steal IP all over. Per their treaty with Japan, they are required to have scrubbers on all of their power plants. W SHOULD have taken care fo this last decade, but did not. So, now, America decides to address just a little bit of the issues, and you think that China will start a nuke war over it and that America is to blame?

Re:So, let me see if I understand you logic (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256394)

GP never said that America (or better, the US) would be to blame.

Re:A drop in the pond... (3, Funny)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255582)

I don't know about that. China declared the software added and licensed to every new computer in the country, and their population is 1,331,460,000 according to The Google. So the suit is really a lot less than what China would pay if instead of copyrighted code, it was a pirated song.

Re:A drop in the pond... (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255890)

I love that stuff with Chavez. We WILL sieze the refinery and other equipment to compensate for the stolen platforms. But what is funny about that, is that Chavez can only sell that oil to America at this time. This man really knows how to screw himself.

Re:A drop in the pond... (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256334)

The absurdity of claiming $2.3B in any copyright suit aside...

It would be hilarious if we reneged on our foreign debts by using RIAA math to value the IP "stolen" from the US in the trillions, and seize foreign capital as "compensation."

This does happen [nwsource.com] in the case of tangible assets such as oil, so I guess the fact we don't do the same for intellectual property is a tacit admission of some distinction between them vs other types of property.

Hilarious? If China didn't hold the upper hand so completely perhaps. Currently though, all China has to do is put all it's US gov bonds on the market at once to plunge the USA into a depression like it's never seen before. It won't do that however as long as the US is buying Chinese products - protecting China's export economy. That's the only reason China has kept the US going.

With the power that China currently has over the US though, it was nice of them to even send a letter. I don't think that the USA is in any position to be threatening anything.

Re:A drop in the pond... (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256778)

That wouldn't happen because it's not money stolen from the US, but corporations, or property stolen by the same entities the US is indebted to in the first place. It'd be like me demanding a free burger at McDonalds because I forgot to take my change from Burger King last week.

Re:A drop in the pond... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35257166)

The absurdity of claiming $2.3B in any copyright suit aside...

Pinky finger to mouth corner "Two point three BILLION dollars..."

Re:A drop in the pond... (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256744)

If a US court had any rights to judge over what happened on foreign soil, perhaps. It doesn't. It's a stupid case and a waste of money on the side of the plaintiff. China was kind enough to actually acknowledge it with a letter. It needn't have.

An informal letter? (1)

Kreychek (264929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255488)

"The Chinese side hereby expresses strong concern over it and firmly rejects it" Does that really work in China?

Re:An informal letter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255526)

In China and against Chinese companies, yes.

Hard to believe, but thats how things work over there.

Re:An informal letter? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255620)

And also When suing china in some US court.
Get real, the chance of them paying a single penny is slim to none.

Re:An informal letter? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255726)

Actually, what they can do is seize assets belonging to the Chinese government. I don't think it will take them too long to find assets that they can seize. Now, if China didn't have any investment or economic activity in the US, you'd be correct, but the court can order the Federal government to fork over the appropriate funds next time the Chinese government tries to redeem some bonds.

Re:An informal letter? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255910)

But what would stop that from going the other way? The US seizes $2.3b of Chinese assets in the US; China seizes $2.3b worth of US assets in China (ditto for non-payment of bonds). Rinse, repeat, until one side has no assets left in the other's country?

Re:An informal letter? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256062)

The Chinese government owns property with ties to the US. As far as I can tell, the US government doesn't own anything China could seize. And if China starts seizing assets of multinational corporations it asserts to be US companies, then their economy will crash when the rest of them pull out to prevent being nationalized.

You are asserting that if the US government seizes Chinese government property, that the Chinese government seizing property owned by people in hundreds of countries with no direct ties to the US government would be an appropriate, proportional, or reasonable response. It isn't and would be tolerated as well internationally as Germany invading Poland.

Re:An informal letter? (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256212)

Also, if I recall, foreign companies can't legally own land in Mainland China - they can just buy multi-decade leases.

Re:An informal letter? (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35257538)

There are effectively no US assets in China. Foreigners aren't allowed to own Chinese real estate, etc, etc.

Good grief... (1)

JasoninKS (1783390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255492)

It's not like he'll ever see a dime. Does he really expect the Chinese government to cut him a check? At best he's gotten a moral victory and a big bill from his own lawyers.

Re:Good grief... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255506)

Do nations waive sovereign immunity with regards to IP in any IP treaties?

Re:Good grief... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255778)

Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, just like most sovereign immunity statutes in the U.S., sovereign immunity is an affirmative defense initially. This means that the foreign state needs to assert to the court that they are a foreign state backed by minimal evidence. The burden then shifts to the plaintiff to show that either they are not a foreign state OR that one of the exceptions applies. Usually, this is the commercial activity exception or a violation of international law that resulted in the foreign state taking or destroying the plaintiff's property. In this case, because China did not assert this defense in court, they are basically screwed and need to come up with a way to set aside the default.

Re:Good grief... (1)

marcel (6435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255508)

Well... if he's granted the 2.3b by the judge is shouldn't be too hard to seize 2.3b in assets from the PRC on US soil. I wonder what the sound of 500 million marching chinese soldiers makes ;-)

like the sound of all us gun nuts blowing them way (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255528)

like the sound of all us gun nuts blowing them way.

Re:Good grief... (2)

s13g3 (110658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255576)

The sound of 500 million marching soldiers becomes the sounds of 500 million men on a boat becomes the sound of 500 million men either vaporized, drowning or otherwise dying of radiation poisoning as the invasion fleet they were being shipped in is summarily nuked. Game over, thanks for playing. The Office of Health and Human Services along with the DEA would also like to remind you that only users lose drugs. We now return you to your regularly scheduled saber rattling and insanity from communist Asia.

Re:Good grief... (0)

johanw (1001493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255606)

The only thing China has to do is to dump all its US debt certificates on the market and not buying any new ones. The resulting inflation will make $2.3 billion just be enough to buy yourself a decent meal.

Re:Good grief... (2)

erice (13380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255674)

The Chinese aren't buying US debt out of the goodness of the heart. They do this to keep the Yuan's value down. They want *that* to give Chinese exporters an edge. If the Chinese government dumps all their US T-bills, they will lose control of the Yuan. It's value will rise sharply and Chinese exports will fall almost as dramatically. And the much of the world's economy will also tank since we are all addicted to cheap Chinese manufactured goods. With their customers in deep crisis there will be even less demand of Chinese export goods which the Chinese economy will probably tank too.

Re:Good grief... (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256138)

Yup, it would be akin to killing the goose that laid the golden egg. But the real worry is that in 20 years or so, they'll learn alchemy and be able to print their own gold without the goose. At that point, they could kill it and only get a little sting in the bottom line. But don't worry, we are helping them get to that point as fast as we can. It looks to me like a train wreck in slow motion. I know what's going to happen. But there's nothing I can do to stop it, and I can't look away. Every empire falls, and the US has leaped off the cliff, but in Wiley E. Coyote fashion, is still running without looking down. The actual fall hasn't happened, but I believe there's nothing that can be done now to prevent it.

And why do I get the feeling that I need to get BadAnalogyGuy to post this for me?

Re:Good grief... (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256410)

That's why they've been working on developing internal demand. As their middle class grows, their dependency on external markets decreases. Don't forget that their internal market is 1/6 of the world's population, whereas the US and Europe together aren't that much.

Re:Good grief... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255750)

If my experience at simple 80s shooter video games means anything, it'll be easy to defeat them because when you have a dense swarm like that you don't have to aim very precisely. You just point in the general direction and flog the fire button.

Re:Good grief... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256100)

Unless they wait for the Bering Straight to freeze over, they'll be swimming, rather than marching. China could probably repel any non-nuclear invasion, but there's no conceivable scenario in which they could invade and hold the USA or any country in Western Europe for that matter. They have numbers, but not the ability to project that force beyond Tibet or Taiwan (and the fact they haven't in Taiwan indicates they likely never would try for anything more ambitious than that).

Re:Good grief... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35257454)

Isn't china building giant underground military bases [npr.org] ?

The days of Mao are long gone and the current leaders are not total idiots. What would stop the next leaders to go on a military rampage ? It could very well be that the leaders have a hundred year strategy to grow their economic dominance to the point where they are a massive superpower dwarfing the next nation. Add to that all the economical power with them having investments in almost every country in the world (industrial contracts go more and more often to China instead of europe for example). Technologically, yes China is still behind (slightly) in it's mastery of science but with all the advanced countries bending over backwards to get contract and giving full access to top of the line technology. Whatever few years behind they are would be is made up with massive resources.
Again right now, there is no reason for China to get military control outside of its borders. They get what they need much more effectively right now by having one way economic deals: they invest in other countries economies to the point of eventually controlling significant sections of the economies, where our leaders bow down and forget to mention human rights in meetings. But the day they need to fight for resources ... brr that will be nasty. What could trigger such a need to secure resources ? Just imagine a global food crisis. It could be triggered by mass flood, an usually warm year, or event an extremely cold one. Populations around the world would be struggling for food, fighting over it; even in the rich countries. Don't you think that a nation that has the mean to take whatever they want would let its population die of starvation ? Personally I believe this is why Japan is subsidizing farming that much while it seems to make no economical sense to grow food there. The countries that can grow so much food that they can export are still the ones that have the power, or rather the most crucial targets.

But who knows, maybe that will trigger the transition to vat farming of yeast at industrial scale. Removing the need for farmland. That or soylent green.

Re:Good grief... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255520)

Except for now, if he plays his cards right, any property of the Chinese government that comes into the US is subject to seizure. This includes any money subject to federal jurisdiction because it is in US banks.

In addition, they need to worry about reciprocity. If China will not enforce a U.S. judgment, the U.S. has even less reason to enforce a Chinese judgment in the U.S.

Re:Good grief... (5, Interesting)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255542)

It won't be the PRC government that prevents them from getting money, it will be the USA government that stops them. The hostages held by Iran for 444 days tried to sue (there were substantial Iranian assets in the US that had been frozen and could be used to pay damages), but they lost their lawsuit not because of any defence put on by Iran but rather by the US government.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/01/national/main561274.shtml [cbsnews.com]

If the USA government does that to protect a state which it considers an enemy (Iran), imagine what they will do to protect the PRC to which they owe a trillion dollars or so.

Re:Good grief... (5, Interesting)

Agent.Nihilist (1228864) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255706)

It won't be the PRC government that prevents them from getting money, it will be the USA government that stops them. The hostages held by Iran for 444 days tried to sue (there were substantial Iranian assets in the US that had been frozen and could be used to pay damages), but they lost their lawsuit not because of any defence put on by Iran but rather by the US government.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/01/national/main561274.shtml [cbsnews.com]

If the USA government does that to protect a state which it considers an enemy (Iran), imagine what they will do to protect the PRC to which they owe a trillion dollars or so.

Those hostages are alive and free today because of an agreement known as the Algiers Accords [wikipedia.org] (wikipedia). Part of the aggreement that freed them stated that they could not sue Iran. If we reneged after making the accord we would forever lose the option to recover hostages through such an aggreement. This type of action is down to protect US interests and its citizens abroad.

Re:Good grief... (1)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255764)

Agreements signed while someone has a gun pointed to your head (or 52 of your citizens heads) are considered valid by the courts? A crime can be committed against your person but your government can retroactively declare that it wasn't a crime?

I guess I learned something new today.

Re:Good grief... (2)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255920)

They are about as valid as every peace treaty signed since the beginning of mankind.

YEEHAW !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255514)

That's about two bits per chinaman !! Which is a lot for a chinaman !!

The first shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255516)

So, the West shoots first -- IP litigation against the Chinese government. Will China respond in kind? There could be full-scale nuclear-patent warfare coming soon between China and the rest of the world...

Re:The first shot (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255602)

Lucky for us the Chinese don't care about honoring patents. So, we just reciprocate. They don't honor ours, we just stop honoring theirs. Encourage US firms to take Chinese IP and develop/market it for themselves. I mean hell, if the Chinese think its ok to do that with our stuff, then they shouldn't have a problem with us doing it to theirs. Maybe MAP? Mutually Assured Piracy?

Re:The first shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255696)

Yeah, that's gonna work. If China doesn't honor US patents, the US can sue them. If the US doesn't honor Chinese patents, the Chinese will... oh I dunno... cut off exports to the US?

Really, who has the upper hand? The country with the fake property, or the one with the real property? Sucks to be us right now.

Re:The first shot (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255722)

Yeah, that's gonna work. If China doesn't honor US patents, the US can sue them. If the US doesn't honor Chinese patents, the Chinese will... oh I dunno... cut off exports to the US?

Except, really, who else is going to buy their exports? Most of the country is dedicated to supplying stores like Wal-mart, or for their own consumption. Think how much money firms like Apple bring in to China? And all those other tech companies that buy components made in China? They might not all be US owned, but a lot of their products are sold in the US. If China stops exporting to the US, we can revive our industrial capability. It will be hard and expensive, but beneficial in the long run. But then who's going to buy all those Chinese-made goods? China can't sustain its own growth and production internally. We might be tied to them, but they are as equally tied to us.

Re:The first shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255792)

IF it's possible to revive US manufacturing. In a war of attrition, China would have the upper hand. But, tbh, cutting off exports is the least China could do. They own a massive amount of US debt, which they could try to sell, sending the US dollar crashing as a result...

Re:The first shot (1)

present_arms (848116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255826)

I wouldn't be so sure, even though the US spends a lot of $$$ on chinese gear, 300 million people isn't that many when u consider the size of other nations like India for instance at 1.1 billion or europe (i know not a single country but still 740 million and then there is africa at close to a billion asia including china is over 4 billion people. So i'm in kind of agreement that US needs China more than vice-versa, I mean if US companies did pull out of china, would mean that those companies would need to relocate somewhere else, they would need to spend more for manufacturing, salaries etc. Anyway that's what I personally think, I could be wrong :-)

Re:The first shot (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255988)

I mean if US companies did pull out of china

A frustrated China could not be reached for comment.

Re:The first shot (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256154)

I mean if US companies did pull out of china

A frustrated China could not be reached for comment...

...but will be out of the bathroom "real soon."

Re:The first shot (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256264)

Except, really, who else is going to buy their exports?

The US buys 25% or so of Chinese exports, and that number is falling. So who else will buy their exports? The rest of the world.

Most of the country is dedicated to supplying stores like Wal-mart, or for their own consumption.

Just because the US couldn't survive without China doesn't mean China couldn't survive without the US.

If China stops exporting to the US, we can revive our industrial capability. It will be hard and expensive, but beneficial in the long run.

When we had the money, we chose to shut down our industries. When we are broke, we will not be able to revive them. The expensive part will prevent it from happening, as when we stop trade with China, the US dollar will drop like a rock and won't be able to buy anything internationally.

China can't sustain its own growth and production internally. We might be tied to them, but they are as equally tied to us.

The only reason they are tied to us now is because they are artificially depressing their currency and propping up the US currency in order to make the US an easy market and keep their products cheap. When the relationship ends, the Yuan will jump internationally and the Dollar will drop. That will hurt them and us, but not equally. The US will enter a period of massive inflation and mass exodus by international corporations to more stable places like Australia and Western Europe and China will just have to reduce production by 25% and spend that extra idle time working on quality and environmental improvements. Tied, yes. "Equally"? Not even close.

Oh, and give it another 20 years and the US will be just as dependent on China as they are now, and China will be much less tied to the US, further widening the "equal" gap you assert.

Re:The first shot (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256488)

China is one massive real estate and banking bubble plus they are in the midst of an inflationary spiral they are barely able to contain.

Add anything to disturb that, like revaluation of the Yuan will cause the Mother of All Crashes.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8182605/Chinas-credit-bubble-on-borrowed-time-as-inflation-bites.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:The first shot (1)

mruizcamauer (551400) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256538)

if the USA had to stop all imports from China due to a war it would probably not be alone, with European and other partners perhaps following suit to some degree, since any reason that warrants such a ww4 move (think of the cold war as ww3) may trigger alliances. I don't know if Chinese rulers would not have an insurrection at home from the massive unemployment created there. They are in a tenuous position now, with many local protests squashed and kept quiet each year. India and others could probably substitute China within five years with such a situation. Of course the whole world would suffer more disruption than in the Great Depression! I really doubt it would ever come to that. Chinese and US leaders represent ecomic interests that would not allow any scenario where they all lose.

Re:The first shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255862)

I would suggest that in the absence of cheap imported goods a way would be found to produce those goods here in the west. America has a large workforce, the Chinese have no magic technology that puts them ahead of the west. The western workers and companies are simply discouraged from doing what they can at the moment.

It can turn around very quickly if the will were there.

Hahahahahahaaa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255534)

That is most impressive example of full-blown egocentrism ever seen!
No wonder they go around, playing world police. They actually think they are!
I know /. is not like that, but sometimes I still eel the need to write some PROTIP comment.

BTW: How many users are we here on /.? I mean, looking at Egypt, it doesn even take 5% of the population of a country, to change things. And I think the amount of people needed to topple a government is not propotional to the amount of people in a country. If 2 million come attacking your government main building, and shooting some does not stop the rest, you don’t do shit. Period. :)
They only have to be very sure of themselves and their own values. Something smart people are (scientifically proven) notoriously bad at (they underrate themselves, while dumb people overrate themselves). But now that we know we underrate ourselves, we can account for that. :)
How about we fix things too? (I recommend an autocracy with the government replaced by open source software automation [= 100% representing its people, and by definition no own agenda.] Oh, and for the US, a split in the United States of Catholibans, and the educated rest [still USA] could be realized in the process. :)

Re:Hahahahahahaaa! (1)

therealobsideus (1610557) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256092)

Uhhh, what?

Re:Hahahahahahaaa! (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256378)

tl;dr version: hurr :), durr :), derp :)

Re:Hahahahahahaaa! (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256438)

Catholibans? Are you sure you don't mean Al BornAgaida?

They should have been smarter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255554)

and write an update that simply disables/uninstall the software on any machine that requests updates from China (Green dam asks for updates to Cybersitter website).
That could have been really interesting to see...

IANAL but... (5, Insightful)

Dasuraga (1147871) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255562)

isn't there some law against suing foreign governments? At the very least, the judicial branch can't possibly imagine having the power to demand money from foreign nations.....can they?

Re:IANAL but... (5, Informative)

UltraOne (79272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255828)

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act [slashdot.org] is the US federal law that regulates suits in US courts (federal or state) against foreign governments. It lists exceptions to the general rule that foreign states are immune to suit because of sovereign immunity. The exception that this suit is probably based on is the one that says a foreign state can be sued when it is engaged in “commercial activity”.

Assuming the plaintiff wins the suit, damages would be collected by seizing assets of the foreign state under US jurisdiction. Since US Treasury bonds owned by China are essentially promises by the US Treasury to pay a certain amount of money when the bond comes due, transferring ownership of those bonds to the plaintiff would seem to be a way of collecting damages. Of course, that might have diplomatic consequences.

IANAL either.

Re:IANAL but... (1)

UltraOne (79272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255852)

The posting system mangled the link. I'll try again: Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act [wikipedia.org] .

Re:IANAL but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35257150)

US Treasury to pay a certain amount of money when the bond comes due, transferring ownership of those bonds to the plaintiff would seem to be a way of collecting damages. Of course, that might have diplomatic consequences.

HA! That would have immediate fiscal consequences for the US! US dollar would become semi-useless overnight as most sovereign nations would want to get rid of it. Hell, I would. So, if the US wants to kill its own currency overnight, they could do that.

Re:IANAL but... (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35257492)

Useless for purchasing things from overseas, but far more useful for companies wanting to export. There's a reason why China undervalues their currency on purpose. I've heard suggestions that one of the reasons China is so interested in US treasury bonds is that they want to pump up the Dollar's value relative to their own.

Re:IANAL but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255842)

see my post here [slashdot.org] , but yes they can be sued here and if successfully sued, all of their property subject to the U.S. control is fair game, including the money the U.S. owes them from our bonds.

Hang on... (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255588)

... you mean it's possible to sue other countries in a U.S. federal court? Is there anyone you can't sue in the U.S.?

Re:Hang on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255634)

... you mean it's possible to sue other countries in a U.S. federal court? Is there anyone you can't sue in the U.S.?

Yes, apparently you can't successfully sue your own president [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Hang on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255636)

Its possible to sue anyone and anything, but whether it goes through or your called a nut job is a different story

Re:Hang on... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255746)

Indeed, which is why every once in a while a suit gets filed against God or some other mythological character. The courts usually dismiss such cases more or less immediately when nobody is able to figure out how to serve a warrant to Santa Clause or similar.

Re:Hang on... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255664)

Yes, you can't sue the American government unless they say you can.

Re:Hang on... (-1)

Chucky_M (1708842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256274)

Unless I missed the memo there is no such thing as an American Government, if there was there should at least be a few Canadians to add some common sense to the mix. Trying to sue a country for what it does within the confines of it's own borders astonishing in it's arrogance. It is similar to the contempt shown by the foolish US senators who started a hearing on something that happened in Scotland.

Given how much the US Government currently owes China and more importantly how much it will owe China in the future this whole thing is amazing. Last time I checked nobody prods the Dragon with a stick unless they have a really good reason to think it will not rip their arm off.

Fortunately the Chinese are not stupid and will just ignore the silly man on the bench.

Re:Hang on... (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256534)

Grow up and stop pretending that the general term "American" isn't used globally and in common parlance to refer to activities of, and bodies within, the United States of America. My statement stands true as written.

Re:Hang on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35257280)

Since when has Canaduh been anything more than a pretend country?

Re:Hang on... (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35257528)

You can if they're doing certain things in the US. See the references to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act elsewhere in this thread.

Note, by the way, that a similar question can be raised about the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, etc.

wouldnt be the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255592)

wouldnt be the first time china was found to be doing something unscrupulous. maybe it is in their culture?

Re:wouldnt be the first time (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255622)

wouldnt be the first time china was found to be doing something unscrupulous. maybe it is in their culture?

The Chinese are like Muslims: If it benefits them, it is the will of their God(s).

Re:wouldnt be the first time (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255754)

I think it's that the Chinese people are people that's the problem. People are inherently hypocritical, even those of us that spend lots of time minimizing it. More likely it's because they are an authoritarian regime that they expect to be able to behave like that without consequences, at least at the party level.

Re:wouldnt be the first time (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256408)

I'm pretty sure the Chinese people don't want Green Dam and would happily agree to a C&D, but I'm pretty sure they don't care enough about it to stop the government that put it there. Similarly to how the US doesn't particularly like how we're sending our research, development and manufacturing overseas, but doesn't care enough to actually stop the corporate interests that bought the government that facilitate it.

The fact is that Americans and Chinese are similar: we're more or less content and won't rock the boat until a crisis comes. Then when it's too late, we'll be rioting on the streets demanding an overthrow of whatever poor sucker happens to be in charge.

Re:wouldnt be the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35256148)

wouldnt be the first time china^^H^H^H^H^Hthe USA was found to be doing something unscrupulous. maybe it is in their culture?

Not sure if I fixed that for ya, or not. I guess maybe both ways are correct.

China called (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255714)

they say they are quite scared of an american court passing judgment on them.

Re:China called (1)

devman (1163205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255824)

There is probably at least 2.3b worth of PRC government assets on US soil that could be seized pursuant to a judgement.

Re:China called (1)

trewornan (608722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255974)

And there's probably at least 2.3b worth of US government assets on PRC soil that could be seized without a judgement. Sounds like PRC quite correctly take the view that US courts have no jurisdiction over what happens in another country and can go screw themselves. Go China! I only wish my government had a similar attitude.

Re:China called (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256308)

And there's probably at least 2.3b worth of US government assets on PRC soil

Really? What kind assets do you think the US government holds in China? Bases? Embassies? What else?

Re:China called (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256336)

china is the country basically funding u.s. govt. debt. leave aside 'assets'. the entire borrowing capability of u.s. now depends on china. if china sells the u.s. govt bonds it holds, their value will drop so low that us govt wont be able to borrow by selling new bonds. not to mention that dollar will sink to bottom and get replaced by another currency as the trade currency.

you are talking about a pathetic amount of 2.5 b worth of prc assets .

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/02/chinas-debt-to-us-treasury-more-than-indicated/ [washingtontimes.com]

china holds more than $801.5 billion worth of u.s. govt bonds. go figure.

Re:China called (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256690)

The best assets to seize are these US govt bonds you refer to. They most likely are not physical printed bonds but rather digital records, but in the event that they are they will have serial numbers and can simply be declared void and reissued to the winner of the suit. Of course since they have not matured, they aren't worth as much yet, so a higher value may have to be transferred...

Re:China called (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256852)

Our debt to china is not a US asset held in China. It is a Chinese asset held by the US...

Re:China called (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256008)

and there's probably at least $2.3b worth of US assets on Chinese soil which could be siezed in compensation for an illegal seizure. Where does it end?

Re:China called (1)

devman (1163205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256036)

I suppose the US could bill them for it in outstanding T-bonds :)

Re:China called (3, Insightful)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256078)

It ends when the US wins because it owes trillions of dollars to China..

To paraphrase Donald Trump: "When you owe someone a billion dollars, they have power over you. When you owe someone a trillion dollars, you have power over them!"

Re:China called (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256342)

Despite recent government reports that China’s holdings of U.S. Treasury debt declined during the second half of last year, the Asian economic giant almost certainly owns far more Treasury securities than official statistics indicate. After peaking at $801.5 billion, China’s holdings of U.S. Treasury securities declined to $755.4 billion at the year’s end, dropping the communist power into the position of second-largest holder of Treasury debt after Japan’s $768.8 billion, official government data reveal.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/02/chinas-debt-to-us-treasury-more-than-indicated/ [washingtontimes.com]

lolwut (2)

syncrotic (828809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255724)

The full title of this software is actually GREEN DAM YOUTH ESCORT.

For guarding of the youth, to making safe and happy social harmony. Great and capable software for glorious ten thousand year nation. Code is not stolen; developed by brilliant engineers at November 23 People's Collective Software Refinery.

Re:lolwut (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255916)

oh.... yeah. Sure it was.

Best case scenario? (1)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255738)

Candidly speaking, say the judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, what then? What possible outcome could occur such that PRC is forced to pay any or all of the suit?

If anyone is versed in international law (if that is what this is called), I am genuinely interested what the possible (albeit unlikely) outcomes could be.

Re:Best case scenario? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255964)

Best case for the plaintiff is the default stands and he finds property that belongs to the Chinese government worth the amount of the judgment, which is then sold at auction to pay him. The alternative is he gets to institute a garnishment and the Government pays him the amounts of China's bonds as they become due to China.

Best case scenario for China is that they get the default set aside (by following the rules this time) based on the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act as a successful defense and they satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). This means that the default is set aside and they get a second chance. China then follows the rules on the second go round and raises the FSIA as a defense and they don't owe anything and all they lost was 6 months to a year and lawyer fees, which the plaintiff has to pay because he knew the defendant was immune the whole time.

Re:Best case scenario? (2)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256532)

Huh. I suppose, if we game the auction correctly, we can deprive China of far more than 2.3B.

Re:Best case scenario? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35256872)

Huh. I suppose, if we game the auction correctly, we can deprive China of far more than 2.3B.

It happens all the time. An example is when a home is worth $100,000 with a mortgage for $50,000 and is foreclosed on. The mortgage company will commonly be the only bidder at the auction and will bid the mortgage amount of the home, which they pay and goes straight back to them. It is a common practice at such auctions for the mortgage companies to only bid on the houses they have a mortgage on. Therefore, in our example they end up with a $100,000 home for only $50,000 without having to pay any money to anyone. They can then turn around and sell it for the $100,000. Therefore they make the rest of the money as profit. The interesting part is that if someone pays more than the mortgage amount, the excess money goes back to the people who owned the property before the sale. By foreclosing on the home, and buying it for the mortgage amount, they are actually cutting the former homeowner of the $50,000 excess that they would usually get.

In the case of the judgment against China, people could also underbid. The plaintiff can keep taking property until the judgment is satisfied or the judgment dies after the set amount of time. Therefore, substantially more than $2.3B could be sold off in order to get to the judgment amount.

Re:Best case scenario? (3, Interesting)

UltraOne (79272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256048)

Almost all of the US Treasury debt owned by China (and in general) is in the form of book-entry securities [wikipedia.org] . This means there is no physical document for the treasury bill, note or bond. It exists as an entry in the database of a broker or the US Treasury. The court could simply order ownership of an appropriate value of those securities to be transferred from the Chinese government to the successful plaintiff.

don't care... you can ignore this news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35255798)

it is one of those "blabla 2.3 billion blabla" things...

google seach for "2.3 billion china" and you will find

2.3 billion people in China to go home by train this year.
China's Red Cross gives 2.3 billion yuan for reconstruction in ...
Macau January casino revenue grows 33% to us$ 2.3 billion ...
About economy: China's Workforce is 2.3 Billion People: Are you ...
Chinese firms buy 2.3 billion dollars IT products from US(14/01/04)
hktdc.com - China National Travel Service to issue RMB 2.3 billion ...
China: 2.3 Billion Earthquake Museum Global Voices
China: Rongsheng Heavy intends to raise $ 2.3 billion in an IPO in ...

my guess is that they use a smaller number for a smaller country...

Payment (1)

Akzo (1079039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35255806)

Good luck getting China to pay

Why would you copy software that doesn't work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35256226)

Green Dam was a piece of software that was designed to block porn by analyzing contiguous flesh-colored regions. However, a really fatal bug in the software is that it kept on blocking pictures of pigs.

Intellectual Property, Copyrights, Yadda Yadda (0)

SINternet (1194899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256640)

If the do not observe our Ownership and insist on copying then we should do the same. Take care trying this because our own GOV has been bought and paid for by China and our bastard of a Congress will make sure your made an example of. Didn't we go through a period of this with Japan and Taiwan...maybe this will all blow over (fat chance).

Probably a great outcome for Cybersitter (1)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35256838)

This seems to have just been a procedural step in the progress of this suit (as TFA notes):

As a result, Cybersitter's suit against the PRC, Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering Ltd., Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy Ltd. and PC OEMs Sony, Lenovo, Acer, Asustek, BenQ, and Haier, may proceed.

I don't believe that it would make much difference if there were a judgment against PRC, b/c there is no way to enforce a US court's judgment against another sovereign.

Also according to TFA, Sony tried to remove the case to China's courts, but . . .

The court denied Sony's motion, but did state in its ruling that China itself would qualify as "as an adequate alternative forum" for trial, instead of the United States.

It is unlikely that Sony (and the other defendants) would've paid for their lawyers to try to remove the suit to China unless they thought that the outcome would be more favorable for them there; most likely that means that the lax protection for IP infringement there would have negated any recovery for Cybersitter.

The ironic result is that by this decision Cybersitter is going to get its best/only shot at the most it could hope to recover from this suit.

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