Looks like somebody's been down here with the ugly stick.

Your position:Home->china news-> The software Green Dam maybe contains stolen portions of the company's software.
A California company alleged that an Internet-filtering program being pushed by the Chinese government contains stolen portions of the company's software.

The company, Solid Oak Software Inc., said it will try to stop PC makers from shipping computers with the software.

Solid Oak said Friday that it found pieces of its CyberSitter filtering software in the Chinese program, including a list of terms to be blocked, instructions for updating the software, and an old news bulletin promoting CyberSitter. Researchers at the University of Michigan who have been studying the Chinese program also said they found components of CyberSitter, including the blacklist of terms.

Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co., the Chinese company that made the filtering software, denied stealing anything. 'That's impossible,' said Bryan Zhang, Jinhui's founder, in response to Solid Oak's charges.

The allegations come as PC makers such as Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. are sorting through a mandate by the Chinese government requiring that all PCs sold in China as of July come with the filtering software.

The Chinese software, whose name translates to Green Dam-Youth Escort, is intended to help parents block access to pornography and other Internet content inappropriate for children, according to Jinhui. Free speech advocates have been examining the program's code because they are concerned that it also could be used to block political Web sites.

Solid Oak's president, Brian Milburn, said he will seek an injunction preventing U.S. companies from shipping computers with the Chinese software.

Mr. Milburn said Solid Oak received an anonymous email Friday stating that Green Dam may contain parts of his company's code. He said engineers at the 15-person software maker, which is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., spent the morning comparing the two programs. Similarities they found include a list of CyberSitter serial numbers and an update that makes the software compatible with an old version of CyberSitter, he said.

'I am 99.99% certain that if not the entire program at least a good proportion of it is stolen CyberSitter code,' says Mr. Milburn.

Mr. Zhang insisted that the software is his company's.

Some lawyers said that because the software will only be sold in China, Solid Oak faces an uphill legal battle, even if it targets U.S. companies.

'It's not a violation of U.S. copyright' law if the computers are only sold in China, said Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard University Law School. 'The question would have to be resolved in a Chinese court under Chinese law.'

The requirement for computer makers to ship Green Dam was outlined in a notice that was issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on May 19.

Lawyers and academics are challenging the legality of the requirement for the software. Zhou Ze, a political science professor at China Youth University, said he and a professor from Hong Kong have submitted formal complaints to China's State Council and the National Anti-Monopoly Committee saying the requirement is an abuse of power.

They argue that it is anti-competitive because it will flood the market with software produced by two companies selected by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in a nontransparent way.

The government says the software is designed to protect children by filtering out pornography and violence. However, researchers inside and outside China who have analyzed the software say it can also block politically sensitive phrases, including references to the outlawed spiritual group Falun Gong.

A team of researchers at the University of Michigan who said they tested Green Dam found the software not only blocked certain words, but also contained programming errors that would make users' computers vulnerable to attack while surfing the Web.

The creators have said their software is no less secure than any other software that downloads updates over the Internet.

Ben Worthen / Loretta Chao / Sky Canaves

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