Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Dam Shame

As an opponent of current copyright law in the digital era and of the ideology that children need to be blocked from the Internet as well, I have to admit that there are sometimes moments in which I can relish certain characteristics of my opponents under the current regime and their tenacious litigiousness.

The New York Times has just reported that "Chinese Firms Accused of Stealing Code" are being sued by the U.S. maker of the "Cybersitter" software, which accuses contractors for the authoritarian regime of pirating over three thousand lines of code to produce the controversial "Green Dam Youth Escort" software that also limited access to pro-democracy or pro-human rights sites.

From my conversations with colleagues who are computer scientists, I have to say that that sounds like a lot of code to have been lifted wholesale. On their programming assignments, students often receive failing grades for borrowing just a few lines, which one friend compares to "giving the same answer to a question about 'how I spent my summer vacation'" as someone else in its obviousness.

The best part is that the Cybersitter company is also suing U.S. manufacturers who kowtowed to the Chinese in exchange for market share by agreeing to install their anti-free-speech software product on all new machines.

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