Censorship Lawsuit Against Baidu and China Dismissed

A Manhattan judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by eight New York-based writers and video producers against Baidu and China itself in 2011. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled that the defendants have not been and likely cannot be properly served with court papers. From Jonathan Stempel at Reuters:

They said Baidu and China violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as various civil and human rights laws, by conspiring to suppress their political speech from Baidu’s search engine results.

The plaintiffs said their content could be found through rival search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft’s Bing, and Google’s video-sharing service YouTube, and that the suppression on Baidu justified millions of dollars in damages.

[…] Furman put the dismissal on hold for 30 days, to allow the plaintiffs a chance to propose another means of serving Baidu, and show why China should not be dismissed as a defendant.

China did not make a formal appearance in the litigation, but had previously said the lawsuit should fail because a U.S. court cannot tell a sovereign country what to do.