Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 12th Apr 2012 19:05 UTC
Legal "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." This could be a huge deal, if it ever were to be upheld in higher courts. More specifically, "because Aleynikov did not 'assume physical control' over anything when he took the source code, and because he did not thereby 'deprive [Goldman] of its use', Aleynikov did not violate the [National Stolen Property Act]". Well paint me purple with white and red dots and call me a girl scout.
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Comment by anevilyak
by anevilyak on Thu 12th Apr 2012 19:13 UTC
anevilyak
Member since:
2005-09-14

It's not quite as sweeping as the headline makes it out to be. What the court essentially stated was that the laws that were used to convict the guy were the wrong ones, not necessarily that what he did wasn't illegal, ergo they simply refused to extend laws that were specifically written for physical objects to virtual ones by analogy. You'll note they also pointed out that it would've been different if he'd, e.g. smuggled the code out on a CD or USB drive, since in that case a physical object would've been involved. The ruling in no way made a decisive precedent on source code in general.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by anevilyak
by kpugovkin on Thu 12th Apr 2012 19:31 in reply to "Comment by anevilyak"
kpugovkin Member since:
2011-07-05

If one copies codes on his/her personal flash drive, should it still make a theft case?

Sooner or later corporations will want to erase employee memory, when they let a person go. We all will be virtual slaves then.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by anevilyak
by anevilyak on Thu 12th Apr 2012 20:00 in reply to "RE: Comment by anevilyak"
anevilyak Member since:
2005-09-14

If one copies codes on his/her personal flash drive, should it still make a theft case?


That was pretty much my point, this is far less of a legal victory than the article title makes it sound.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by anevilyak
by Neolander on Thu 12th Apr 2012 21:58 in reply to "RE: Comment by anevilyak"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

You've got to see Paycheck. That's an awesome movie about erasing memories...

Edited 2012-04-12 21:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by anevilyak
by Soulbender on Fri 13th Apr 2012 02:05 in reply to "Comment by anevilyak"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

You'll note they also pointed out that it would've been different if he'd, e.g. smuggled the code out on a CD or USB drive, since in that case a physical object would've been involved.


I'll have to disagree with them on that unless it was the company's USB stick or CD. If he used his own USB stick he still would not have stolen any physical property.
But yeah, that doesn't mean he's not guilty of something.

Reply Parent Score: 4