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Court Rules Computer Code Is Not "Property" and Can't be Stolen!

Discussion in 'General Software' started by newtekie1, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    http://gizmodo.com/5901263/court-rules-it-is-impossible-to-steal-computer-code

    “The 2nd Circuit Appeals Court ruled that since computer code cannot be physically obtained, it doesn't fit the legal description of a stolen good. "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]," the court wrote in its decision.”
    “The court was quick to point out that this decision should not be interpreted for all cases of electronic theft, however the legal recognition that code isn't physical property (which people have been saying for years) is sure to make this case a focal point in future MPAA/RIAA wranglings.”
    Sounds to me like they just threw a big wrench in a lot of MPAA/RIAA cases against people.:rockout:

    I'm glad someone finally did what is right and officially stated that if you aren't depriving someone of something it isn't stealing.
     
    Riotpump, hellrazor, Chevalr1c and 3 others say thanks.
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  2. Darkleoco

    Darkleoco

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    Nice to see that courts are finally showing just a bit of sense when it comes to things like this.
     
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  3. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    Awesome! Now this just needs to reach the Supreme Court so MPAA and RIAA can be ordered to GTFO.


    It is "copied," not "stolen." I'd imagine deleting it would be considered sabotauge though.
     
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  4. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    This is great news! Ill never have to buy software again. I can just DL anything I want and never pay a dime! I'm sure MS and all the game developers will still make games and stuff for everyone to DL for free! Everything will run off donations too! I'm sure they can raise tens of millions of dollars in R&D to just give the software away via donations! Super neat idea!

    I can take code, change the name and BAM! I have a new program I can take credit for!
     
  5. Anath New Member

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    While i do agree with this somewhat, there are cases such as doubletakes kickstarter program where "donations" do work if people want it bad enough.
     
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  6. 1freedude

    1freedude

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    Ain't no rest for the wicked
     
  7. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    I see you don't understand the difference in concept between stealing and piracy and why making the distinction(finally) is important.:ohwell:

    I'll simplify the explanation for you. Stealing is a criminal act, digital piracy is not. So now all these whackjob MPAA/RIAA/Software Companies can't threaten to bring up criminal cases against people, the most they can do is civil cases, they can't ask for insane restitution anymore, and they can't claim that anything was stolen from them.
     
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  8. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    It was defined in 1985. Dowling vs. United States.
     
  9. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    That case handles physical copies, not digital. It doesn't establish anything related to digital piracy. This case establishes precedent related to digital content.
     
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  10. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Its the exact same principle. If you read the case it supports your stance. They stated...

    The phonorecords in question were not "stolen, converted or taken by fraud" for purposes of [section] 2314. The section's language clearly contemplates a physical identity between the items unlawfully obtained and those eventually transported, and hence some prior physical taking of the subject goods. Since the statutorily defined property rights of a copyright holder have a character distinct from the possessory interest of the owner of simple "goods, wares, [or] merchandise," interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The infringer of a copyright does not assume physical control over the copyright nor wholly deprive its owner of its use. Infringement implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud.

    However what saved Mr. Aleynikov was the fact he didn't distribute the code over the web as he doesn't hold the copyright to distribute the code. If he had done that his ass would be in the slammer.
     
  11. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    I know, I wasn't arguing with you, just saying that the MPAA/RIAA has argued that it doesn't apply to digital content, and this decision finally solidifies that it does.

    The copyright issue is a completely different matter, and still very valid. However, this removes the criminal aspect that the RIAA/MPAA leverages so heavily on, and makes it a civil matter. Making defending against most of the BS claims the RIAA/MPAA make easier.
     
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  12. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Unless I'm mistaken they argue copyright infringement. Which if Mr. Aleynikov had posted this code on a torrent he would have been in violation of as that would have been "theft of market". New term I learned the other day! lol
     
  13. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    No, usually they are wrongly accusing theft.
     
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  14. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Theft of market is the new "theft". Thats what they argue now. Anyway I just went to the RIAA website and found their statement on Copyright infringement which is what almost ALL their cases are based on.

    Apparently the entire world is going to jail. :laugh: Anyway my point is this ruling will have like zero effect on the MPAA/RIAA and their crusade IMO.
     
  15. phanbuey

    phanbuey

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    Thanks for explaining that - wasn't originally clear on this.

    This is good news - as it makes the act and the punishment fair. Your actions cost someone money, you pay money. Makes perfect sense. Throwing someone in jail, or even the threat of, is extreme. Not to mention I am sure that trying to get a professional job with a criminal record can't be easy.
     
  16. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    That is probably true, the MPAA/RIAA don't really like using that thing called logic when they do things...
     
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  17. AphexDreamer

    AphexDreamer

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    Now how about music made with computers?
     
  18. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    I hope they take that $500,000 FBI Warning off movies because of this.
     
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  19. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    and Repay those who suffered damages from their activities
     
  20. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Its not the same thing Ford. I don't think you grasp what this means. The FBI warning is for copyright infringement. This judgement has NOTHING to do with that.
     
  21. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    Anything that is recorded is in 1/0s anymore...
     
  22. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    Sure it does. Making a backup violates copyright but, because it doesn't constitute a theft as per this ruling, it can't go to criminal court. In civil court, they can't get anywhere close to $500,000 so the warning is a baseless threat.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
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  23. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    The warning is a mixed bag. It states "criminal copyright infringement in investigated by the FBI" but this new ruling means that it isn't criminal anymore. And no more fine either. However, they can still come after you in civil court for restitution based on the copyright infringement.

    Also, the warning states that any unauthorized reproduction is illegal, but this is also no longer the case. Reproduction without distribution is not illegal.
     
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  24. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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    O oOO a piracy thread
    /makes popcorn
     
  25. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Finally! :rolleyes:

    A copy can be several things, but it cannot be theft, because the original is still there. Period. I'm glad that the courts are finally starting to get this terribly basic concept.

    Thanks for posting this NT, you made my day. :)
     
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