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Software The Courts

Court Rules Code Not Physical Property 125

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Wired: "Former Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov, who downloaded source code for the investment firm's high-speed trading system from the company's computers, was wrongly charged with theft of property because the code did not qualify as a physical object under a federal theft statute, according to a court opinion published Wednesday." Adds the submitter: "The RIAA's definitely got to give Goldman Sachs their secret recipe ..."
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Court Rules Code Not Physical Property

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  • Re:Procedural error (Score:4, Informative)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:25PM (#39660601)

    What I don't understand is why they want to believe that Stealing code is a piece of property....But Importing Code from another country is just information (not requiring import taxes etc....) How on earth can it be both?

    Easy. Like this: "Hey, legislator, I want a new law passed that makes absolutely no sense but will benefit me greatly. In exchange, I'll pay for your re-election campaign." "derp derp herp derp." "Okay then! Thank you for your cooperation."

  • by am 2k ( 217885 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:26PM (#39660625) Homepage

    But it begs the question if anyone has ever been jailed for copyright infringement.

    Yep: Admin Gets 2,5 Years Prison Sentence [].

  • Re:Procedural error (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:53PM (#39661179)

    This is a procedural error, not a statement that 'stealing' code isn't a crime. Rest assured, legislation is being drafted that will ensure that stealing from a poor, innocent company, will earn you at least 30 years in jail and an 8 trillion dollar fine. Really, it would be less troublesome to just murder the CEO the way the laws are being written these days...

    'This' is exactly what people are complaining about when people call copyright infringement 'theft'. It's not. There are different laws governing the two. They are wholly different concepts. The more they are conflated, the more that stupid mistakes like this one will happen, and any decent defense lawyer will keep racking up victories when this happens.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming