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China: ‘Green’ Software Postscript: Deadline for Pre-Loading Extended, Foreign Maker Ships Pre-Loaded PCs with Disclaimer

(July 15, 2009) China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced at a press conference on June 30, 2009, that it was permissible for the pre-loading of “green” (non-pornographic, non-illicit) Internet filtering software to be deferred. According to the spokesperson, in early March 2009, MIIT had convened a meeting with major computer manufacturers for an exchange of views on the work of pre-loading of computer filtering software and had obtained the support of many of them; on the basis of that communication, MIIT had determined the starting date for the pre-loading. Recently, however, some enterprises indicated that they have a heavy workload, are pressed for time, and are not ready to do the pre-loading. Based on the actual situation, the spokesman stated, they may postpone the pre-loading deadline. He added that after July 1, the provision of free Internet downloads of the software will continue; the loading of the filtering software in computers used in middle and elementary schools, Internet cafes, and other public venues will continue; and computer manufacturers that have already loaded the filtering software are encouraged to actively open up markets. As to how other computers were to be pre-loaded, “MIIT would further seek the views of all sides, perfect a plan, improve methods, and do a good job of related work.” (Gongye he Xinxihua Bu xinwen fayanren jiu lüse shangwang guolü ruanjian wenti da jizhe wen [MIIT Press Spokesman Answers Reporters' Questions on Green Internet Filtering Software Issues], MIIT website, June 30, 2009, available at
; see also Wendy Zeldin, Web Filter Required to Censor “Undesirable” Internet Sites, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, June 12, 2009, available at //

In the meantime, it was reported on June 30 that Sony appeared to be among the first foreign computer makers to comply with the Chinese demand for pre-loading the green software, including it “with at least some of its PCs sold in China.” (Stan Schroeder, Sony the First to Ship Web Filtering Software with PCs Sold in China, MASHABLE.COM, June 30, 2009, available at The source of this information is indirect, from a document accompanying a new Sony Vaio computer shipped in China, entitled “Sony Disclaimer Notice Concerning the Green Dam – Youth Escort Software.” An image of the notice was posted to the Internet by a Chinese blogger and translated on her own blog by Rebecca MacKinnon, a faculty member of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong. (Id.; *Some More Green Dam Documents, RCONVERSATION blog, June 28, 2009, available at
.) Sony appears, on the basis of the notice, to have taken “the easiest route, merely providing the Green Dam program on the hard drive,” indicating in the notice its location and that of the user manual on the hard drive, and setting forth some significant disclaimers, e.g., “Sony cannot guarantee the authenticity, legality, or compatibility of the software's content, function, service or any other feature.” (Schroeder, supra.) The notice also states that Green Dam does not support a 64-bit operating system; therefore, computers with that operating system will not be pre-loaded with the software. (RCONVERSATION, supra.) MacKinnon's website also has links to purported official Chinese documents on the technical requirements and test methods of Green Dam software.