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Green Dam Faces US$2.2 Bln Lawsuit

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The Chinese government, two Chinese software makers and seven major computer manufacturers faces a US$2.2 billion lawsuit filed by a US based software producer for their distribution of the Internet filtering software "Green Dam Youth Escort" -- which the company claims is pirated from a similar product it makes, the China Daily reported Thursday.

Cybersitter, a family-owned software firm based in Santa Barbara, filed the lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court, alleging that the two software makers of Green Dam illegally copied over 3,000 lines of code from its award-winning Internet content filtering software, the newspaper said.

Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering and Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy co-developed Green Dam -- an Internet filtering software designed to block violent and pornographic content on the Internet to protect minors -- after winning a 417-million-yuan (US$61 million) bid from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the newspaper said.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that the PC makers -- Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, ASUSTeK, BenQ and Haier -- cooperated with the Chinese government and other software manufacturers to distribute 56 million copies of the software after they were aware that the program's content filters were possibly stolen from Cyber sitter, according to the newspaper.

The MIIT had required both domestic and overseas PC makers to include the software with their PC packages sold in China by July 1 last year, but the government decided to indefinitely delay the mandatory installation of the software the night before the directive went into force.

"This lawsuit aims to strike a blow against the all-too-common practices of foreign software manufacturers and distributors who believe that they can violate the intellectual property rights of small American companies with impunity without being brought to justice in US courts," The newspaper quoted Cybersitter's attorney Greg Fayer as saying.

A spokeswoman for Lenovo, China's largest PC maker, told the newspaper that the company has not shipped Green Dam with PCs for several months.

The other PC makers mentioned by Cyber sitter's attorney could not be reached for comment, said the newspaper.

(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2010)