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(Gizmodo)   Court rules it is impossible to steal computer code   ( gizmodo.com) divider line
    More: Hero, court ruling  
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36418 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:08 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-12 11:56:53 AM  
Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.
 
2012-04-12 12:10:01 PM  

alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.


well...no. it's still copyright infringement. so you still have options under the civil code. What this decision does is biatch slap the dept of homeland security for shutting down file trading websites, not to mention sets RIAA back on its pins.
 
2012-04-12 12:10:36 PM  
Well, those are products with closed source as opposed to actual source code so I imagine it's a little more tricky. Lawyers can probably redefine this ruling to suit their needs pretty easily though.
 
2012-04-12 12:26:22 PM  

alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.


There's a difference between "Stealing" and "Acquiring illegally".

"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.

Key phrase is bolded above.
 
2012-04-12 12:55:59 PM  
I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.
 
2012-04-12 12:57:57 PM  

kingoomieiii: alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.

There's a difference between "Stealing" and "Acquiring illegally".

"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.

Key phrase is bolded above.


Holy shiat, someone in the legal system actually understands the difference between stealing and piracy!
 
2012-04-12 01:01:13 PM  

Weaver95: alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.

well...no. it's still copyright infringement. so you still have options under the civil code. What this decision does is biatch slap the dept of homeland security for shutting down file trading websites, not to mention sets RIAA back on its pins.


Which is why I'm planning to copyright 1 and 0. Then every piece of software will be mine..all mine!!!
 
2012-04-12 01:10:49 PM  
Eddie Adams from Torrance:

Which is why I'm planning to copyright 1 and 0. Then every piece of software will be mine..all mine!!!

Too late, its public domain.
 
2012-04-12 01:15:56 PM  
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.

Wow. So, you can steal any computer code you want, and as long as you don't use it to make a profit, you're good? Is that how to correctly interpret that? Did they seriously legalize stealing code because you can't physically steal code, because you cannot wrap your arms around a line of code?

That is a seriously dangerous precedent.
 
2012-04-12 01:18:55 PM  

GAT_00: That is a seriously dangerous precedent.


No, it just kicks it back to being a civil matter of copyright infringement. Which is all it should ever be.
 
2012-04-12 01:22:10 PM  

WhyteRaven74: GAT_00: That is a seriously dangerous precedent.

No, it just kicks it back to being a civil matter of copyright infringement. Which is all it should ever be.


But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.
 
2012-04-12 01:26:08 PM  

GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime.


No it says you can't steal code. However you can still get your ass sued into the middle of next year. Basically since code isn't tangible, unlike say a car or a steak, you can't really steel it in the sense of taking it away from someone and depriving them of its use and/or income derived from its use or sale. So then it's up to whoever owns the copyright to come after you. Of course if you haven't used it for commercial purposes, haven't sold it and some other things, that could be tricky depending on exactly what was done.
 
2012-04-12 01:28:03 PM  

GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.


You're getting hung up on the IP argument, I think. Publicizing the proprietary code secrets of a piece of software might be intellectual property infringement, but it isn't theft, which is what this guy was convicted for.

The difference being that the penalty for trying to "copy that floppy" is most significantly NOT jail time. IP still exists. You just can't go to jail for violating it.
 
2012-04-12 01:29:56 PM  

WhyteRaven74: Of course if you haven't used it for commercial purposes, haven't sold it and some other things, that could be tricky depending on exactly what was done.


Exactly. If you're taking a closed-source piece of software and using it in your own homebrew programming for some other project, go nuts. But you can't use that code as the basis for your new game World of Snorecraft and try to sell it without Blizzard climbing straight up your ass.
 
2012-04-12 01:30:13 PM  

Humean_Nature: You're getting hung up on the IP argument, I think.


Yeah, but the case in question got someone out of prison after spending time for code theft.
 
2012-04-12 01:31:01 PM  

Humean_Nature: WhyteRaven74: Of course if you haven't used it for commercial purposes, haven't sold it and some other things, that could be tricky depending on exactly what was done.

Exactly. If you're taking a closed-source piece of software and using it in your own homebrew programming for some other project, go nuts. But you can't use that code as the basis for your new game World of Snorecraft and try to sell it without Blizzard climbing straight up your ass.


Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?
 
2012-04-12 01:34:13 PM  

GAT_00: Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?


Pretty much. It's like memorizing a book and then never ever writing it down and trying to pass it off as your own work. You've made a copy that isn't authorized, but you'll never show it to anyone or try to make money off of it. Where's the plagiarism?
 
2012-04-12 01:36:34 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: Which is why I'm planning to copyright 1 and 0. Then every piece of software will be mine..all mine!!!


Well, you should really copyright 1 or 0 if you're trying to cover your bases.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-04-12 01:37:12 PM  
Court rules that a law was poorly drafted. The concurring opinion states "it is hard for me to conclude that Congress, in this law, actually meant to exempt the kind of behavior in which Aleynikov engaged."
 
2012-04-12 01:48:50 PM  

kingoomieiii: "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.


If someone downloads a CD or movie, they don't deprive anyone else of its use, right?

I mean:
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.

Means that you're not "stealing" CDs. I get that there's still copyright issues, but this decision seems to agree with those who have tried to explain that downloading music and movies isn't theft.
 
2012-04-12 01:53:13 PM  
I think this is an awful decision. Removing the threat of pound-me-in-the-ass Federal prison from the equation will doom IP as we know it.

I mean, remember when there was music on the radio in the '70s, and cassette tapes came out, and every music company went bankrupt? And there's been no music published since then because of the inability to profit?

And movies -- hell, I remember those from the Seventies, but since Betamax came out, there was no way you could make a movie that made money, and all of the studios folded. I sure wish I could see something in a, what was it called, "cinema"?

Wow, and I can't even imagine what the software industry would have been like. We might even have had home computers by this point, and games you could play on them. This law was a bright spot which might have even allowed for the existence and growth of "software companies", but now I imagine the adding machine factories are redoubling their workforces, seeing as there will be no other option for the foreseeable future.
 
2012-04-12 01:58:19 PM  
BWAHAHAHAHA
 
2012-04-12 02:05:20 PM  

timujin: kingoomieiii: "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.

If someone downloads a CD or movie, they don't deprive anyone else of its use, right?

I mean:
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.

Means that you're not "stealing" CDs. I get that there's still copyright issues, but this decision seems to agree with those who have tried to explain that downloading music and movies isn't theft.


This is 100% accurate. Pirates are using illegal means to remove the seller from the equation. They are causing POTENTIAL lost sales to the copyright holder, but they are not removing manufactured goods that then have to be replaced.
 
2012-04-12 02:09:13 PM  

ZAZ: Court rules that a law was poorly drafted. The concurring opinion states "it is hard for me to conclude that Congress, in this law, actually meant to exempt the kind of behavior in which Aleynikov engaged."


The unforeseen impact is that Congress is going to be pushed even harder to push an expanded SOPA or some such derivative.
 
2012-04-12 02:09:47 PM  

alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.


No, because piracy of software involves getting around regiatration/authentication schemes... which is still probably a crime of some sort. Its not "stealing", but its something.
 
2012-04-12 02:10:56 PM  
This ruling amounts to taking a byte out of crime.
 
2012-04-12 02:20:11 PM  

scottydoesntknow: Holy shiat, someone in the legal system actually understands the difference between stealing and piracy!


I'm shocked.
 
2012-04-12 02:28:43 PM  

I_Am_Weasel: This ruling amounts to taking a byte out of crime.


Grooooooaan.
 
2012-04-12 02:48:37 PM  

Weaver95: alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.

well...no. it's still copyright infringement. so you still have options under the civil code. What this decision does is biatch slap the dept of homeland security for shutting down file trading websites, not to mention sets RIAA back on its pins.


And that's it in a nutshell.

All of the stupid arguments about piracy being theft are now officially out the window; there is court precedent to back that assertion.
 
2012-04-12 02:52:41 PM  

GAT_00: Did they seriously legalize stealing code


No. If I go in and physically take code in such a way that it DEPRIVES THE OWNER of something, then I've stolen it and it is still illegal.

This says that copying code is not theft. Because it doesn't deprive the owner of the code.

That's different.

What it is really going to do is drive the patent office into a frenzy as software companies try to patent their code to protect it from this ruling.
 
2012-04-12 02:53:53 PM  

unlikely: What it is really going to do is drive the patent office into a frenzy as software companies try to patent their code to protect it from this ruling.


And upon reflection, this will also be really revealing.

Remember when Bing got caught using Google's results repackaged?
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-04-12 03:00:03 PM  
Weaver95

This should have no effect on the web sites or RIAA. The court found two criminal laws inapplicable to the acts in question.

First, computer software in the form of electronic signals is not "stolen goods" for the purposes of a federal law criminalizing moving valuable stolen goods across state lines. However, under circuit precedent burning the program to DVD and carrying the DVD across state lines could be a crime. The court had previously ruled that photocopies of valuable trade secrets fell within the scope of the law. See section I.A on page 12 of the opinion. The question is not "is this intellectual property?" but rather "is this a tangible object?"

Second, the economic espionage count applies to products sold in commerce rather. Goldman Sachs' software was a trade secret not sold in commerce. Congress did not, as it often does, extend the law to reach all acts "affecting" interstate commerce.

Mass copying of movies and software will continue to be criminal copyright infringement.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-04-12 03:01:34 PM  
First sentence of penultimate paragraph should read "Second, the economic espionage count applies to products sold in commerce rather than products used to affect commerce."
 
2012-04-12 03:04:28 PM  

unlikely: What it is really going to do is drive the patent office into a frenzy as software companies try to patent their code to protect it from this ruling.


Software is copyrighted, not patented. You can patent inventions implemented in software, but not the software itself.
 
2012-04-12 03:07:56 PM  

GAT_00: Humean_Nature: WhyteRaven74: Of course if you haven't used it for commercial purposes, haven't sold it and some other things, that could be tricky depending on exactly what was done.

Exactly. If you're taking a closed-source piece of software and using it in your own homebrew programming for some other project, go nuts. But you can't use that code as the basis for your new game World of Snorecraft and try to sell it without Blizzard climbing straight up your ass.

Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?


The word in bold is your problem. It's not "stealing," any more than this is:

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they're all painted black
With flowers and my love, both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a newborn baby it just happens ev'ryday

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not forsee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes
I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

Hmm, hmm, hmm...

I wanna see it painted black, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun, blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black
Yeah

Hmm, hmm, hmm...


You could argue that it's copyright infringement, but it's not stealing. Stop using the word and then you might be able to have a rational conversation.
 
2012-04-12 03:08:54 PM  

ZAZ:
Mass copying of movies and software will continue to be criminal copyright infringement.


but not theft, which is a whole other kettle of fish.
 
2012-04-12 03:34:55 PM  

ZAZ: This should have no effect on the web sites or RIAA. The court found two criminal laws inapplicable to the acts in question.


Correct. The RIAA/MPAA have never used the term "theft" in the legal sense. Because their lawyers are smarter than that. They're going after copyright infringement.

They may have used the term "theft" in an off-handed way. But never tried to get a prosecutor to go after a person for criminal theft.

Nothing to see here. The prosecutor, Goldman Sachs, and the courts farked up... that is all.
 
2012-04-12 04:10:14 PM  
A few years too late for Kevin Mitnick...
 
2012-04-12 04:10:16 PM  
Well, that's definitely a good thing anyway.
 
2012-04-12 04:10:41 PM  

Babwa Wawa: unlikely


Exactly. They'll tie themselves in knots trying to say "this piece of code is an innovation and therefore patentable"
 
2012-04-12 04:11:55 PM  

downstairs: The RIAA/MPAA have never used the term "theft" in the legal sense.


They sure the hell implied it, though.
 
2012-04-12 04:14:00 PM  
So, I can copy that floppy?
 
2012-04-12 04:14:19 PM  
i1127.photobucket.com


Son I Am Disappoint
 
2012-04-12 04:14:32 PM  
The legal definition of theft needs to be updated to take these things into account. Deprivation is not what makes theft wrong, nor should the definition of theft hinge upon it.
 
2012-04-12 04:14:36 PM  
I understand the arguments, and that because a copy of code doesn't deprive the "owner" of it's use, it can't really be stolen, but I still wish to hell that our legal system (and our language, for that matter) had the concept of a moral theft.

When something intangible has value to it's creator, and it has value to YOU, and you obtain said thing without compensating the creator - you've done something morally wrong, and you create a disincentive (however small) for the creator to continue creating.

Justify it all you want with your talk of how broken the system is or how the wrong people get paid, I still stand by the above statement. As someone who writes software for a living, and who has had my work misappropriated and lost money out of my own pocket because of it, I just can't see it any other way.
 
2012-04-12 04:15:23 PM  

GAT_00: code theft


You keep using this word. Etc.

Stop being stupid.
 
2012-04-12 04:15:45 PM  

NutWrench: downstairs: The RIAA/MPAA have never used the term "theft" in the legal sense.

They sure the hell implied it, though.


Oh no, they have outright said it. Just look at those commercials before movies saying "You wouldn't steal a car? Why would you steal a movie?" They just never applied it to any legal setting. Their lawyers are smarter than that.

They could run those commercials again saying "You would never commit arson on a car, why would you commit arson on a movie?" It wouldn't change the fact that when they sue people over downloading music/movies/whatever they use copyright infringement as their legal backing.
 
2012-04-12 04:16:19 PM  

alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.


Weaver95: alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.

well...no. it's still copyright infringement. so you still have options under the civil code. What this decision does is biatch slap the dept of homeland security for shutting down file trading websites, not to mention sets RIAA back on its pins.


So a win for all reasonable software-using people everywhere! (that the US courts have jurisdiction over)
 
2012-04-12 04:16:51 PM  

Herbie555: I understand the arguments, and that because a copy of code doesn't deprive the "owner" of it's use, it can't really be stolen, but I still wish to hell that our legal system (and our language, for that matter) had the concept of a moral theft.


Yeah. Legislating morality. That always works out so well.
 
2012-04-12 04:17:38 PM  
What if I hold a mirror up to my TV and have you watch it from outside my house?
 
2012-04-12 04:18:16 PM  
This will all change once they find the higgs boson and electrons are legally given mass.
 
2012-04-12 04:18:29 PM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.


I assume you didn't read the "Copyrights are still in effect" posts in this thread?

If it helps you understand, this ruling affirms that pirating software is its own crime, not the same crime as lifting a stereo from a store.
 
2012-04-12 04:18:34 PM  

downstairs: ZAZ: This should have no effect on the web sites or RIAA. The court found two criminal laws inapplicable to the acts in question.

Correct. The RIAA/MPAA have never used the term "theft" in the legal sense. Because their lawyers are smarter than that. They're going after copyright infringement.

They may have used the term "theft" in an off-handed way. But never tried to get a prosecutor to go after a person for criminal theft.

Nothing to see here. The prosecutor, Goldman Sachs, and the courts farked up... that is all.


YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A CAR
 
2012-04-12 04:18:43 PM  
Just something to throw out there...Since you can't *possess* computer code, does that mean child pornography on a computer isn't technically *possessed* since it's pretty much just a bunch of code?

/just sayin'
 
2012-04-12 04:18:55 PM  
Copyright violation and theft are two different things and should be recognized as such. Was he guilty of copyright violation, most likely. Was he guilty of theft, no.

We already have laws dealing with the crime of copyright violation and said laws are more than adequate enough.

If he stole the physical computers the code were on, then it would be theft.
 
2012-04-12 04:18:58 PM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.


THIS!

I'm no piracy nazi, in fact quite the opposite, but this is IP law. Would the ruling be any different if he printed it out?

Is this simply a criminal vs civil thing?

I'm confused.
 
2012-04-12 04:19:32 PM  

oakleym82: Is this simply a criminal vs civil thing?


Yes.
 
2012-04-12 04:20:02 PM  
I'm going to ask a really stupid question, but after reading it, does this mean that people who have been "banned" from EA products because they're being deprived of use?
 
2012-04-12 04:21:18 PM  
Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?

Why should it be illegal? Stealing code does not affect anybody else's property or life.

It's like saying performing a cover song should be illegal.
 
2012-04-12 04:21:53 PM  

downstairs: The RIAA/MPAA have never used the term "theft" in the legal sense.


This is true, but "downloading is theft" was an integral part of their "education" campaign, which is why so many people have the misconception that one equals the other.
 
2012-04-12 04:22:08 PM  
There's also the difference between software piracy---a tort under civil law--versus the criminal laws that were at issue in TFA.
 
2012-04-12 04:22:11 PM  

Herbie555: I understand the arguments, and that because a copy of code doesn't deprive the "owner" of it's use, it can't really be stolen, but I still wish to hell that our legal system (and our language, for that matter) had the concept of a moral theft.

When something intangible has value to it's creator, and it has value to YOU, and you obtain said thing without compensating the creator - you've done something morally wrong, and you create a disincentive (however small) for the creator to continue creating.

Justify it all you want with your talk of how broken the system is or how the wrong people get paid, I still stand by the above statement. As someone who writes software for a living, and who has had my work misappropriated and lost money out of my own pocket because of it, I just can't see it any other way.


Protip: learn what a copyright is
 
2012-04-12 04:22:42 PM  

MightyPez: Herbie555: I understand the arguments, and that because a copy of code doesn't deprive the "owner" of it's use, it can't really be stolen, but I still wish to hell that our legal system (and our language, for that matter) had the concept of a moral theft.

Yeah. Legislating morality. That always works out so well.


That's a troll's response and you know it. Like all abstractions, morality has many shades. Many are up for debate and many are generally agreed upon by everyone but sociopaths to be true. The relative morality of a dude kissing another dude is apparently up for debate. The relative morality of gunning down your neighbor "just because" is not generally up for debate. The morality of gaining the free use of software, possibly for your own profit, that was written by someone else and not given to you freely, seems to me to be somewhere in between. I'd like to think that someday society would recognize that what software authors do is real "work" and that taking benefit of that work without compensating us isn't really that cool.
 
2012-04-12 04:23:45 PM  

oakleym82: I'm no piracy nazi, in fact quite the opposite, but this is IP law. Would the ruling be any different if he printed it out?


Probably not. There isn't much difference in a paper copy or an eleftronic copy. If he code was printed on one copy of paper and no other copy existed, then they could get him for theft as he would have deprived the owner of property.

oakleym82: Is this simply a criminal vs civil thing?


Yes and no, depending on the circumstances. Theft is a criminal matter. Copyright infringement is a civil matter up until a certain point. Usually it's defined by a dollar amount. After that the FBi can get involved and prosecute under criminal infringement.
 
2012-04-12 04:23:50 PM  

GAT_00: Wow. So, you can steal any computer code you want, and as long as you don't use it to make a profit, you're good? Is that how to correctly interpret that? Did they seriously legalize stealing code because you can't physically steal code, because you cannot wrap your arms around a line of code?

That is a seriously dangerous precedent.


No GAT, it is not.

What the court is saying:
You download/pirate a copy of Mass Effect 3 and play it. Maybe email it to a few people.

You can still be sued in a civil court for piracy. But you can NOT be charged *criminally* by the *government* and go to *jail* for it.
 
2012-04-12 04:24:36 PM  

banandar123: Just something to throw out there...Since you can't *possess* computer code, does that mean child pornography on a computer isn't technically *possessed* since it's pretty much just a bunch of code?

/just sayin'


The copying of data can be and still is legally regulated to a certain degree, so you really should still zero out that hard drive you think the Feds don't know about ;)
 
2012-04-12 04:24:36 PM  

oakleym82: Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.

THIS!

I'm no piracy nazi, in fact quite the opposite, but this is IP law. Would the ruling be any different if he printed it out?

Is this simply a criminal vs civil thing?

I'm confused.


All they're saying is that you can't go to jail for theft. You could still go to jail for other charges or be sued depending on what you did.
 
2012-04-12 04:24:39 PM  

Humean_Nature: GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.

You're getting hung up on the IP argument, I think. Publicizing the proprietary code secrets of a piece of software might be intellectual property infringement, but it isn't theft, which is what this guy was convicted for.

The difference being that the penalty for trying to "copy that floppy" is most significantly NOT jail time. IP still exists. You just can't go to jail for violating it.


Humean_Nature: GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.

You're getting hung up on the IP argument, I think. Publicizing the proprietary code secrets of a piece of software might be intellectual property infringement, but it isn't theft, which is what this guy was convicted for.

The difference being that the penalty for trying to "copy that floppy" is most significantly NOT jail time. IP still exists. You just can't go to jail for violating it.


Yet...

Me thinks that this is going to cause a national law to get passed very quickly that will allow IP related crimes to become criminal and thus result in jail time.

Come on... you knew it had to happen at some point.
 
2012-04-12 04:25:36 PM  

Satanic_Hamster: GAT_00: Wow. So, you can steal any computer code you want, and as long as you don't use it to make a profit, you're good? Is that how to correctly interpret that? Did they seriously legalize stealing code because you can't physically steal code, because you cannot wrap your arms around a line of code?

That is a seriously dangerous precedent.

No GAT, it is not.

What the court is saying:
You download/pirate a copy of Mass Effect 3 and play it. Maybe email it to a few people.

You can still be sued in a civil court for piracy. But you can NOT be charged *criminally* by the *government* and go to *jail* for it.


Not for theft, anyway.
 
2012-04-12 04:25:44 PM  

Herbie555: That's a troll's response and you know it. Like all abstractions, morality has many shades. Many are up for debate and many are generally agreed upon by everyone but sociopaths to be true. The relative morality of a dude kissing another dude is apparently up for debate. The relative morality of gunning down your neighbor "just because" is not generally up for debate. The morality of gaining the free use of software, possibly for your own profit, that was written by someone else and not given to you freely, seems to me to be somewhere in between. I'd like to think that someday society would recognize that what software authors do is real "work" and that taking benefit of that work without compensating us isn't really that cool.


You made a bad argument. Don't call other people trolls for calling you on it. You wanted to call it "moral theft." How about we just prosecute copyright infringement under the laws we already have for it (which, by the way, are for more strict than laws against theft) rather than create a new "moral theft" law?
 
2012-04-12 04:25:54 PM  

Well, this settles the argument then that's been brewing for the last several years ...


DOWNLOADING MUSIC AND MOVIES IS NOT STEALING!

 
2012-04-12 04:27:38 PM  

Crotchrocket Slim: Protip: learn what a copyright is


I'm going to copy write this without your permission and then I am going to sell it without your permission. What are you going to do about it? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!!!?

If you quote me and this in a response I am SEWING YOU!.
 
2012-04-12 04:27:58 PM  
Coulda just asked Billy Gates.
Source code is his speciality.
 
2012-04-12 04:28:16 PM  
FTA: Specifically, the judges wrote, "Because the HFT system was not designed to enter or pass in commerce, or to make something that does, Aleynikov's theft of source code relating to that system was not an offense under the EEA."

So in future cases do you have to distinguish between different codes and their functions/purposes?

That language totally negates the relation to the RIAA stuff mentioned in the article.
 
2012-04-12 04:28:30 PM  
Thank you tricycleracer, MightyPez, and birchman for not pouncing on my temporary stupidity.

Got it. Makes sense to me.
 
2012-04-12 04:29:01 PM  

MugzyBrown: Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?

Why should it be illegal? Stealing code does not affect anybody else's property or life.

It's like saying performing a cover song should be illegal.


It can potentially affect the people who try to make a living by writing that code.

I make games for a living. If I can't sell any of the games I make, because everyone who wants to play the game just gets it for free, I go out of business.

Pirating isn't really stealing, it's more like sneaking into a club without paying the cover charge. Sure, one or two people won't hurt, but if too many people duck under the rope the club goes broke and closes.
 
2012-04-12 04:29:42 PM  
Good.
 
2012-04-12 04:31:29 PM  

oakleym82: Thank you tricycleracer, MightyPez, and birchman for not pouncing on my temporary stupidity.

Got it. Makes sense to me.


The legal intricacies of theft and copyright infringement are confusing to say the least. I wouldn't consider anyone who didn't understand them as stupid.
 
2012-04-12 04:31:45 PM  

Dr. Dave Disco: Humean_Nature: GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.

You're getting hung up on the IP argument, I think. Publicizing the proprietary code secrets of a piece of software might be intellectual property infringement, but it isn't theft, which is what this guy was convicted for.

The difference being that the penalty for trying to "copy that floppy" is most significantly NOT jail time. IP still exists. You just can't go to jail for violating it.

Humean_Nature: GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.

You're getting hung up on the IP argument, I think. Publicizing the proprietary code secrets of a piece of software might be intellectual property infringement, but it isn't theft, which is what this guy was convicted for.

The difference being that the penalty for trying to "copy that floppy" is most significantly NOT jail time. IP still exists. You just can't go to jail for violating it.

Yet...

Me thinks that this is going to cause a national law to get passed very quickly that will allow IP related crimes to become criminal and thus result in jail time.

Come on... you knew it had to happen at some point.


Not at all considering Intellectual Property laws have existed for decades before the internet and the consequences for breaking them have never been criminal. If you would explain why you think digital data differs from print (even though both are about as equally infinitely copyable) I would be most appreciative.
 
2012-04-12 04:31:47 PM  

Crotchrocket Slim: Protip: learn what a copyright is


Fully aware. Unfortunately, the primary penalty for copyright infringement is "the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer" (See US Copyright Law, Chapter 5 § 504, section A)

The problem is that the courts have traditionally had a hard time understanding the whole "value" of software so the value of "owner's actual damages" has been near impossible to calculate.

The the case of my company's last suit along these lines, the court found that since we did not explicitly charge for software (because we manufacture and sell hardware w/ firmware loaded on it), then the value of the damages was basically zero. The could not be convinced to take into account that the copyright infringement at issue lead to the loss of sales of our hardware to the tune of $10-12 MILLION dollars.
 
2012-04-12 04:32:09 PM  
Finally some common sense!

It's been long established that copying data is not the same as theft. When you steal something from another, you are depriving the use and enjoyment of said item to the owner, can you say the same when you copy something?

I'm not saying that holders of intellectual property don't have a right to protect their work, but theft it is not. It is something else that must be addressed in today's changing world.
 
2012-04-12 04:32:18 PM  

Millennium: The legal definition of theft needs to be updated to take these things into account. Deprivation is not what makes theft wrong, nor should the definition of theft hinge upon it.


Um, I'd say deprivation is precisely what makes theft wrong... If you were able to make an exact copy of any of my possessions without depriving me of them, why on Earth would I give a shiat? I've still got them, so your making a copy of them doesn't harm me in any way, and only enriches you... I'm sure all the makers of those physical goods would be a bit pissed off however, but hey, that's not my concern! And, really, does it make sense in that case to say you've "stolen" from those manufacturers simply by not being their customer? Maybe you could come up with some crime name (a la "copyright infringment"), but "theft" surely isn't right in any way to describe what is happening here... (And, if 3D printers become much more advanced than they already are, you're going to see such a reality unfold, too...)

/Writes proprietary software for a living...
//Is perfectly fine with this ruling!
 
2012-04-12 04:32:36 PM  
Who would have thought that making a copy of something while leaving the original intact doesn't count as stealing the original?

What a novel idea.
 
2012-04-12 04:33:00 PM  
i43.tinypic.com

No longer any point in keeping this under wraps, so here you go.
 
2012-04-12 04:33:23 PM  

Herbie555: Crotchrocket Slim: Protip: learn what a copyright is

Fully aware. Unfortunately, the primary penalty for copyright infringement is "the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer" (See US Copyright Law, Chapter 5 § 504, section A)

The problem is that the courts have traditionally had a hard time understanding the whole "value" of software so the value of "owner's actual damages" has been near impossible to calculate.

The the case of my company's last suit along these lines, the court found that since we did not explicitly charge for software (because we manufacture and sell hardware w/ firmware loaded on it), then the value of the damages was basically zero. The could not be convinced to take into account that the copyright infringement at issue lead to the loss of sales of our hardware to the tune of $10-12 MILLION dollars.


Then register your copyrights so that you can claim statutory damages. That is the real solution.
 
2012-04-12 04:33:25 PM  

Herbie555: Crotchrocket Slim: Protip: learn what a copyright is

Fully aware. Unfortunately, the primary penalty for copyright infringement is "the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer" (See US Copyright Law, Chapter 5 § 504, section A)

The problem is that the courts have traditionally had a hard time understanding the whole "value" of software so the value of "owner's actual damages" has been near impossible to calculate.

The the case of my company's last suit along these lines, the court found that since we did not explicitly charge for software (because we manufacture and sell hardware w/ firmware loaded on it), then the value of the damages was basically zero. The could not be convinced to take into account that the copyright infringement at issue lead to the loss of sales of our hardware to the tune of $10-12 MILLION dollars.


So someone should do jail time, amirite? That would get your millions back.
 
2012-04-12 04:34:16 PM  
It can potentially affect the people who try to make a living by writing that code.

I make games for a living. If I can't sell any of the games I make, because everyone who wants to play the game just gets it for free, I go out of business.

Pirating isn't really stealing, it's more like sneaking into a club without paying the cover charge. Sure, one or two people won't hurt, but if too many people duck under the rope the club goes broke and closes.


Then you get sued.

No reason for a criminal court to get involved.
 
2012-04-12 04:34:18 PM  

MugzyBrown: Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?

Why should it be illegal? Stealing code does not affect anybody else's property or life.

It's like saying performing a cover song should be illegal.


Correct, its not *criminally* illegal.

But if your company makes you sign a paper saying you won't take the code... that's a civil contractual issue, which could still be decided in court.
 
2012-04-12 04:34:54 PM  
timujin: Means that you're not "stealing" CDs. I get that there's still copyright issues, but this decision seems to agree with those who have tried to explain that downloading music and movies isn't theft.

img.chan4chan.com
 
2012-04-12 04:35:13 PM  

Herbie555: I understand the arguments, and that because a copy of code doesn't deprive the "owner" of it's use, it can't really be stolen, but I still wish to hell that our legal system (and our language, for that matter) had the concept of a moral theft.


In the case of property like code, we do. It's called copyright law
 
2012-04-12 04:36:09 PM  

Herbie555: Crotchrocket Slim: Protip: learn what a copyright is

Fully aware. Unfortunately, the primary penalty for copyright infringement is "the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer" (See US Copyright Law, Chapter 5 § 504, section A)

The problem is that the courts have traditionally had a hard time understanding the whole "value" of software so the value of "owner's actual damages" has been near impossible to calculate.

The the case of my company's last suit along these lines, the court found that since we did not explicitly charge for software (because we manufacture and sell hardware w/ firmware loaded on it), then the value of the damages was basically zero. The could not be convinced to take into account that the copyright infringement at issue lead to the loss of sales of our hardware to the tune of $10-12 MILLION dollars.


Awh, poor baby ... someone in legal f*cked up and you want to make someone else pay ... how precious ...
 
2012-04-12 04:36:15 PM  

MightyPez: You made a bad argument. Don't call other people trolls for calling you on it. You wanted to call it "moral theft." How about we just prosecute copyright infringement under the laws we already have for it (which, by the way, are for more strict than laws against theft) rather than create a new "moral theft" law?


Reread my original post. I wasn't trying to "legislate morality", I was lamenting the fact that even the English language didn't really have a properly descriptive word for "getting stuff for free, even if nobody loses anything".

See my last post about copyright law - I would LOVE if copyright infringement could be properly prosecuted, but the Law has not yet caught up to the "value" of software. If you copyright a book or some other written work that can have a price fixed to it, that's one thing. Heck, even software that is "sold" as software can have a value affixed, albiet that's a bit more murky.
 
2012-04-12 04:36:28 PM  
void main ( void )
{

long loop_variable;

for(loop_variable = 0; loop_variable {
printf("What the fark, 2nd Circuit Appeals Court??? \n");
}

}

}
 
2012-04-12 04:37:26 PM  
Wow, fark really screws up formatting. Tabs are cut out once you post???
 
2012-04-12 04:37:42 PM  
Also, it's not impossible to steal computer code.

1) Take all of the drives it's stored on, thus depriving the original owner of use.

2) Copy all of the code, then delete it from the original storage, thus depriving the original owner of use.
 
2012-04-12 04:37:58 PM  
If a guy goes out and murders someone and you charge him with motor vehicle theft solely based on the murder, the case will get thrown out of court since a car wasn't stolen. Nobody in their right mind would think that makes murder legal. But you hear that argument all the time with theft vs. copyright infringement.

That's some fine brainwashing there, RIAA/MPAA.
 
2012-04-12 04:38:37 PM  

GAT_00: 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.

Wow. So, you can steal any computer code you want, and as long as you don't use it to make a profit, you're good? Is that how to correctly interpret that? Did they seriously legalize stealing code because you can't physically steal code, because you cannot wrap your arms around a line of code?


I think the point is that the code he stole wasn't for sale in the first place. It wasn't 'stolen' because it wasn't for sale, not under copyright, and he only 'copied' the code so it was still there for the original owner's use.

Owner didn't cover its ass, and he didn't harm anything by making a copy.
 
2012-04-12 04:38:40 PM  

WhyteRaven74: GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime.

No it says you can't steal code. However you can still get your ass sued into the middle of next year. Basically since code isn't tangible, unlike say a car or a steak, you can't really steel it in the sense of taking it away from someone and depriving them of its use and/or income derived from its use or sale. So then it's up to whoever owns the copyright to come after you. Of course if you haven't used it for commercial purposes, haven't sold it and some other things, that could be tricky depending on exactly what was done.


What happens if you make a copy, then destroy all other copies, including the original?
 
2012-04-12 04:38:43 PM  

Weaver95: alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.

well...no. it's still copyright infringement. so you still have options under the civil code. What this decision does is biatch slap the dept of homeland security for shutting down file trading websites, not to mention sets RIAA back on its pins.


Hmmm, I knew I was missing an important piece of the puzzle this presented when I read a couple of other articles yesterday on this decision. I haven't been sleeping too well lately so not surprising really. This does seem to eliminate the criminal component the **AAs of the world seem to want to be pushing as far as copyright enforcement goes.

I am just as sure that a bill closing this particular inadvertent loophole will be introduced posthaste however.

/and just another reason why I have you favorited.
 
2012-04-12 04:39:39 PM  

Herbie555: Reread my original post. I wasn't trying to "legislate morality", I was lamenting the fact that even the English language didn't really have a properly descriptive word for "getting stuff for free, even if nobody loses anything".

See my last post about copyright law - I would LOVE if copyright infringement could be properly prosecuted, but the Law has not yet caught up to the "value" of software. If you copyright a book or some other written work that can have a price fixed to it, that's one thing. Heck, even software that is "sold" as software can have a value affixed, albiet that's a bit more murky.


We do have a properly described word for it. Piracy. It's pretty common. it's even mentioned a few times in this thread. We even have an actual law. it's called Copyright infringement. Again, used many times in the thread. You're talked about creating a law called "moral theft" that would, at least, be redundant and at worst enforce what you consider to be a moral issue.
 
2012-04-12 04:40:07 PM  

lordargent: Also, it's not impossible to steal computer code.

1) Take all of the drives it's stored on, thus depriving the original owner of use.

2) Copy all of the code, then delete it from the original storage, thus depriving the original owner of use.


Correct, that could be a criminal matter.

Also- work on a project for a client where they contractually have a right to the source code. Ditch the project and deny them access to the code. That could have the cops involved.
 
2012-04-12 04:40:36 PM  

lordargent: timujin: Means that you're not "stealing" CDs. I get that there's still copyright issues, but this decision seems to agree with those who have tried to explain that downloading music and movies isn't theft.

img.chan4chan.com


Wait, what?

So Somali Pirates are just human cloners?

Who knew?

What a Somali Pirate might look like:
images-mediawiki-sites.thefullwiki.org
 
2012-04-12 04:40:43 PM  

Herbie555: MightyPez: You made a bad argument. Don't call other people trolls for calling you on it. You wanted to call it "moral theft." How about we just prosecute copyright infringement under the laws we already have for it (which, by the way, are for more strict than laws against theft) rather than create a new "moral theft" law?

Reread my original post. I wasn't trying to "legislate morality", I was lamenting the fact that even the English language didn't really have a properly descriptive word for "getting stuff for free, even if nobody loses anything".

See my last post about copyright law - I would LOVE if copyright infringement could be properly prosecuted, but the Law has not yet caught up to the "value" of software. If you copyright a book or some other written work that can have a price fixed to it, that's one thing. Heck, even software that is "sold" as software can have a value affixed, albiet that's a bit more murky.


You got into a business selling something made up ... tough cookie ... either change your business or deal with it in another way (like civil court). Until then, STFU, and if you don't like it, step aside, I'm fairly positive some pizza-faced 14 year old could write that same code for your competitors on whatever hardware you're supplying.

Ug ... people choose god-awful careers and then complain when things don't go their way. I'm in film, sir, and my shiat gets seen for free everyday of my life, but, guess what? I don't care. I make films because I love it, making money is secondary to me. And, I've found the "name your own price" scheme to be wildly successful (I make more money putting shiat out there for free and asking for it's worth back than I ever did trying to "sell" my stuff).

Evolve or die.
 
2012-04-12 04:40:53 PM  

lordargent: Take all of the drives it's stored on


Oops, you just stole physical property.
 
2012-04-12 04:40:57 PM  

Herbie555: The could not be convinced to take into account that the copyright infringement at issue lead to the loss of sales of our hardware to the tune of $10-12 MILLION dollars.


blogs.discovermagazine.com
 
2012-04-12 04:41:31 PM  

Ajakk: Then register your copyrights so that you can claim statutory damages. That is the real solution.


It was, and is, and we're still pursuing it. The infringers are not in the USA, which makes everything else much harder.

tricycleracer: So someone should do jail time, amirite? That would get your millions back.


Never said that. However since they're using our software to sell a competing hardware product, we WOULD like to see a portion of their sales revenue returned to us.

seadoo2006: Awh, poor baby ... someone in legal f*cked up and you want to make someone else pay ... how precious ...


Nobody screwed up. A competitor bought one of our units (using fraudulent means, BTW), pulled the firmware off the flash, then started manufacturing hardware knock-offs and loading our firmware onto them. Both the hardware schematic and the firmware were copyrighted. In the first round in court it was found that since we don't "sell" software, there was no "damage value" that could be assigned to the infringement of the software.
 
2012-04-12 04:42:17 PM  

meat0918: then destroy all other copies


Oops, you just destroyed private property.
 
2012-04-12 04:42:49 PM  
So loss of computer code can only be remedied under civil, not criminal law?

I wonder about "illegal numbers". These are numbers that translate into dangerous bits of computer code in various languages (you may understand this if you have read Gödel, Escher, Bach, the justifiably best-selling and famous book by Richard Hoftstader, the computer scientist not the political theorist).

If you can't steal an "illegal number", they presumably can't send you to prison for possession of one. Using it, yes. Or maybe they can get you under something other than "theft", such as "treason" or "homocide" or what not.

I wonder what happens if somebody generates code to create random strings (Markov chains) and then some of these turn out to be copyrighted or protected by intellectual property rights. If your computer rewrites a popular novel, is it violating copyright?

What about the man in the J.L. Borgès story who attempted to write Don Quixote, not as Cervantes, but as a man of his own time?

If he succeeded (and IIRC, he did), then he would have written Don Quixote, but not the Don Quixote of Miguel Cervantès, but of a contemporary avant-garde writer. Is it the same work because it has exactly the same string of characters or is a different work which nobody could possibly confuse with the work of a Seventeenth Century Spanish Military Man?

That ought to keep literary men and lawyers busy, not to mention philosophers, computer programmers, and others.

It raises questions of identity as well as ownership. When is a book not itself?

Titles, I know, can not be copyright because it's too easy to think of the same title, or to actually NEED the same title, for multiple volumes. There's only one way to say certain things, and more than one person needs to say them. You also can not copyright many other things similar to a bit of computer code. The utility of them is so great that to deprive any person of them would be a crime against humanity. It's not that they are grandfathered, like the invention of the wheel or fire or sugar, but they are so to speak innate ideas of humanity and thus public domain.

I am sure that a lot of computer code which is currently proprietary would be better exploited if it were public domain.

It behoves the owners to surrender this code to the productive and creative elements in society at a very low cost or no cost. It would be a crime against humanity to fence off this property which is of such great value to all people, as to have no rightful claim upon it, even from the inventors and creators.

It seems to me that the imminent creation of "Santa Claus" machines may make some ideas, and even some computer code, so easy to replicate that they will become either public domain or illegal. It may simply become impossible to enforce copyright or other property rights when everybody has a machine that can turn out a Rolls Royce or a nuclear bomb at such a low cost that individuals and families can afford what was once the privilege of major governments or corporations.

How could you stop somebody from building a cheap reusable space craft, loading it with a Santa Claus machine and some basic supplies, and leaving the jurisdiction of the rest of mankind? If they were rich enough to do it, they could probably get away with it, no matter how powerful their enemies or rivals.

Wealth creates anarchy as surely as resentment or the love of liberty does. Rich anarchists are some of the worst, but could also be among the best. But once everybody is rich, there is no more government without the consent of the governed.

This is why a healthy and large middle class almost always leads to democracy of some sort. You can't keep a large mass of determined democrats down. Their collective power exceeds the power of any corporation or government that might oppose them. They have to be willing and able to think and to work and to fight, but once enough of them are, the rest will follow. The rest will always follow. They are followers, not leaders, under any system, including anarchy.
 
2012-04-12 04:43:45 PM  

fisker: Crotchrocket Slim: Protip: learn what a copyright is

I'm going to copy write this without your permission and then I am going to sell it without your permission. What are you going to do about it? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!!!?

If you quote me and this in a response I am SEWING YOU!.


You'd have to file a copyright and prove damages in court.

I have a lawyer friend who could use some trial experience if you don't mind her totally pwning you in response to wasting the courts' time :D

Herbie555: Crotchrocket Slim: Protip: learn what a copyright is

Fully aware. Unfortunately, the primary penalty for copyright infringement is "the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer" (See US Copyright Law, Chapter 5 § 504, section A)

The problem is that the courts have traditionally had a hard time understanding the whole "value" of software so the value of "owner's actual damages" has been near impossible to calculate.

The the case of my company's last suit along these lines, the court found that since we did not explicitly charge for software (because we manufacture and sell hardware w/ firmware loaded on it), then the value of the damages was basically zero. The could not be convinced to take into account that the copyright infringement at issue lead to the loss of sales of our hardware to the tune of $10-12 MILLION dollars.


Ouch, was that some sort of industrial espionage? Agreed that damages need to be calculated some other way but admittedly I'm at a loss for another metric. Sorry for the tone of the previous post.
 
2012-04-12 04:44:31 PM  

GAT_00: 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.

Wow. So, you can steal any computer code you want, and as long as you don't use it to make a profit, you're good? Is that how to correctly interpret that? Did they seriously legalize stealing code because you can't physically steal code, because you cannot wrap your arms around a line of code?

That is a seriously dangerous precedent.


It'll be interesting to see how the Supreme Court chooses to interpret this one... this ruling might be considered to contradict aspects of the NET Act.

If so, then it makes things even more confusing than before.
 
2012-04-12 04:44:49 PM  

Crotchrocket Slim: Dr. Dave Disco: Humean_Nature: GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.

You're getting hung up on the IP argument, I think. Publicizing the proprietary code secrets of a piece of software might be intellectual property infringement, but it isn't theft, which is what this guy was convicted for.

The difference being that the penalty for trying to "copy that floppy" is most significantly NOT jail time. IP still exists. You just can't go to jail for violating it.

Humean_Nature: GAT_00: But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.

You're getting hung up on the IP argument, I think. Publicizing the proprietary code secrets of a piece of software might be intellectual property infringement, but it isn't theft, which is what this guy was convicted for.

The difference being that the penalty for trying to "copy that floppy" is most significantly NOT jail time. IP still exists. You just can't go to jail for violating it.

Yet...

Me thinks that this is going to cause a national law to get passed very quickly that will allow IP related crimes to become criminal and thus result in jail time.

Come on... you knew it had to happen at some point.

Not at all considering Intellectual Property laws have existed for decades before the internet and the consequences for breaking them have never been criminal. If you would explain why you think digital data differs from print (even though both are about as equally infinitely copyable) I would be most appreciative.


If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?
 
2012-04-12 04:45:59 PM  

pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?


The courts say otherwise.
 
2012-04-12 04:46:01 PM  

TheGreenMonkey: Weaver95: alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.

well...no. it's still copyright infringement. so you still have options under the civil code. What this decision does is biatch slap the dept of homeland security for shutting down file trading websites, not to mention sets RIAA back on its pins.

Hmmm, I knew I was missing an important piece of the puzzle this presented when I read a couple of other articles yesterday on this decision. I haven't been sleeping too well lately so not surprising really. This does seem to eliminate the criminal component the **AAs of the world seem to want to be pushing as far as copyright enforcement goes.

I am just as sure that a bill closing this particular inadvertent loophole will be introduced posthaste however.

/and just another reason why I have you favorited.


However, there is a criminal component to the copyright laws that the **AA's can use.

"(a) Criminal Infringement. -

(1) In general. - Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed -

(A) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain;

(B) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000; or

(C) by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution."
 
2012-04-12 04:47:16 PM  

lordargent: timujin: Means that you're not "stealing" CDs. I get that there's still copyright issues, but this decision seems to agree with those who have tried to explain that downloading music and movies isn't theft.

<img.chan4chan.com>


4chan's blocked here at work, so I have no idea what that image is.
 
2012-04-12 04:47:29 PM  

Herbie555: Ajakk: Then register your copyrights so that you can claim statutory damages. That is the real solution.

It was, and is, and we're still pursuing it. The infringers are not in the USA, which makes everything else much harder.

tricycleracer: So someone should do jail time, amirite? That would get your millions back.

Never said that. However since they're using our software to sell a competing hardware product, we WOULD like to see a portion of their sales revenue returned to us.

seadoo2006: Awh, poor baby ... someone in legal f*cked up and you want to make someone else pay ... how precious ...

Nobody screwed up. A competitor bought one of our units (using fraudulent means, BTW), pulled the firmware off the flash, then started manufacturing hardware knock-offs and loading our firmware onto them. Both the hardware schematic and the firmware were copyrighted. In the first round in court it was found that since we don't "sell" software, there was no "damage value" that could be assigned to the infringement of the software.


Again, someone in legal f*cked up and you're assessing blame on someone else. Sorry, dude, your business model sucked and bit you in the ass ... I bet now you have assigned value to both your hardware AND software? You had to learn the hard way. LOTS of people have to learn the hard way, but that doesn't make what you went through wrong, it just means your business f*cked up and you paid.

That's happened to me too ... an entire wedding I shot was corrupted on a broken hard drive, I didn't have the originals because I shoot on solid state and guess what? I got sued for breach of contract. Bummer, it sucked, but I learned ... which is why my contract now SPECIFICALLY negates any technical errors outside of my control as my fault. I'm not even obligated to refund that portion of the client's contract which I completed (my time and equipment at the wedding itself), however, I do refund all in case of a technical difficulty.

I learned the hard way too ... stop trying to make the courts do something you should've had covered in the first place.
 
2012-04-12 04:49:37 PM  
Anybody have an actual copy of the GS computer code?
 
2012-04-12 04:49:53 PM  

brantgoose: So loss of computer code can only be remedied under civil, not criminal law?

I wonder about "illegal numbers". These are numbers that translate into dangerous bits of computer code in various languages (you may understand this if you have read Gödel, Escher, Bach, the justifiably best-selling and famous book by Richard Hoftstader, the computer scientist not the political theorist).

If you can't steal an "illegal number", they presumably can't send you to prison for possession of one. Using it, yes. Or maybe they can get you under something other than "theft", such as "treason" or "homocide" or what not.

I wonder what happens if somebody generates code to create random strings (Markov chains) and then some of these turn out to be copyrighted or protected by intellectual property rights. If your computer rewrites a popular novel, is it violating copyright?

What about the man in the J.L. Borgès story who attempted to write Don Quixote, not as Cervantes, but as a man of his own time?

If he succeeded (and IIRC, he did), then he would have written Don Quixote, but not the Don Quixote of Miguel Cervantès, but of a contemporary avant-garde writer. Is it the same work because it has exactly the same string of characters or is a different work which nobody could possibly confuse with the work of a Seventeenth Century Spanish Military Man?

That ought to keep literary men and lawyers busy, not to mention philosophers, computer programmers, and others.

It raises questions of identity as well as ownership. When is a book not itself?

Titles, I know, can not be copyright because it's too easy to think of the same title, or to actually NEED the same title, for multiple volumes. There's only one way to say certain things, and more than one person needs to say them. You also can not copyright many other things similar to a bit of computer code. The utility of them is so great that to deprive any person of them would be a crime against humanity. It's not that they are grandfath ...


Malicious code/software has its own laws, not necessarily covered under copyright law. Intentionally taking over hardware you don't have the legal right to is not exactly theft but it still is taking control of physical property away from someone, and as such criminal.
 
2012-04-12 04:50:07 PM  

MightyPez: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

The courts say otherwise.


Batshiat crazy courts
 
2012-04-12 04:50:49 PM  

Herbie555: works out so well.

That's a troll's response and you know it. Like all abstractions, morality has many shades. Many are up for debate and many are generally agreed upon by everyone but sociopaths to be true. The relative morality of a dude kissing another dude is apparently up for debate. The relative morality of gunning down your neighbor "just because" is not generally up for debate. The morality of gaining the free use of software, possibly for your own profit, that was written by someone else and not given to you freely, seems to me to be somewher


that may be so Herbie555, but...

That's a troll's response and you know it.

/watches Herbie555's head explode.
 
2012-04-12 04:51:24 PM  
Steal a $15 DVD from Best Buy by sticking in your pocket and walking out the door: $300 fine and possible community service.

"Steal" a $15 DVD from the Internet by downloading a torrent: $50,000 fine. Possible extended jail sentence.

How does the MPAA get off making "Filesharing is STEALING" advertisements that compare filesharing to shoplifting when they seem to be unwilling to actually treat it like shoplifting and punish it as if it's "stealing"?

Get your story straight, MPAA and RIAA. Is it "stealing" or is it a different crime?

Just for perspective, let me point out that you could probably steal a diamond bracelet worth $945, and still not be penalized as stiffly as you would if you got caught in a RIAA or MPAA sting for downloading something with a retail value of under $20.

If you're gonna call it "stealing" then treat it like stealing and make it subject to the laws regarding petty larceny and grand larceny.
 
2012-04-12 04:51:34 PM  

pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?


Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

27.media.tumblr.com
 
2012-04-12 04:51:45 PM  

seadoo2006: You got into a business selling something made up ... tough cookie ... either change your business or deal with it in another way (like civil court). Until then, STFU, and if you don't like it, step aside, I'm fairly positive some pizza-faced 14 year old could write that same code for your competitors on whatever hardware you're supplying.


Not sure what "something made up" is supposed to mean. We sell networking equipment that complies with a particular standard. My company helped to develop the standard over a period of about 10 years. Literally hundreds of engineers from many companies involved. We (a team of about 20) then wrote a FARKTON of code to do some quite complicated signal processing and some less-complicated network handling.

We've made a pretty substantial investment in both developing the standard and creating our own product. Then some dipshiat asian ODM comes along and rips off the hardware layout and directly boosts our firmware, and a US court can't decide the value of our losses due to the software piracy.
 
2012-04-12 04:52:05 PM  

Herbie555: I understand the arguments, and that because a copy of code doesn't deprive the "owner" of it's use, it can't really be stolen, but I still wish to hell that our legal system (and our language, for that matter) had the concept of a moral theft.

When something intangible has value to it's creator, and it has value to YOU, and you obtain said thing without compensating the creator - you've done something morally wrong, and you create a disincentive (however small) for the creator to continue creating.

Justify it all you want with your talk of how broken the system is or how the wrong people get paid, I still stand by the above statement. As someone who writes software for a living, and who has had my work misappropriated and lost money out of my own pocket because of it, I just can't see it any other way.


But by that argument, if I record myself playing stairway to heaven for my own enjoyment, write down a passage of my favorite book in my journal, or copy a painting to hang in my own livingroom, I am a moral thief.
 
2012-04-12 04:54:00 PM  

pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?


It's cool not to post anything if you don't have any clue what the adults are talking about.
 
2012-04-12 04:54:05 PM  

pxsteel: MightyPez: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

The courts say otherwise.

Batshiat crazy courts


If you have case law showing their decision was wrong I'm sure there is a prosecuting attorney that would like a word with you. In the interim, it looks like the court made a decision based on the letter of the law.
 
2012-04-12 04:55:07 PM  

seadoo2006: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

[27.media.tumblr.com image 500x420]


But but but... I take a dump, but I'm actually GIVING something! I'm so confused.
 
2012-04-12 04:56:20 PM  

MightyPez: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

The courts say otherwise.


Not really... It's just that "taking" also involves removing the item in question... If the item remains, it wasn't "taken", but merely "copied"... And, "copying something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to copy" is not called stealing...
 
2012-04-12 04:56:27 PM  

j__z: Anybody have an actual copy of the GS computer code?


sort of... here's part of it is in pseudo code...

begin steal_money
define bribe_officials as funding_legislation
lie
cheat
steal
go to court when others lie, cheat, and steal *better* than you
end steal_money

begin court
payoff police
payoff judge
end court
 
2012-04-12 04:56:44 PM  

CthulhuCalling: seadoo2006: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

[27.media.tumblr.com image 500x420]

But but but... I take a dump, but I'm actually GIVING something! I'm so confused.


fumaga.com
 
2012-04-12 04:58:10 PM  

seadoo2006: I bet now you have assigned value to both your hardware AND software?


Photographer eh? Would you prefer that when you buy a new camera that you be charged separately for the camera and the firmware that runs it? The body and the electronics inside are worthless unless it's running firmware, and the firmware is worthless without the hardware. Once you've bought a camera body and firmware, should you pay for each firmware update thereafter?

That's the best analogy for our business I can come up with, except that we don't sell single units to end-customers. If you consider that a screwed up business model, then so be it.
 
2012-04-12 04:58:45 PM  

pxsteel: MightyPez: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

The courts say otherwise.

Batshiat crazy courts


You are correct, if you take something from someone without their consent, it's stealing. But in this case you are neither "taking" nor "stealing" anything. If you take something, then the other person doesn't have it. If you copy something, then both of you have it.

Again, if I run a book through a copier, then I have committed copyright infringement, but I haven't stolen anything. Same goes for copying music. Just because it's easier to do, doesn't change what's actually occurring.
 
2012-04-12 04:59:35 PM  

Herbie555: had the concept of a moral theft.


true
we could shoot and kill cops with impunity for being morally impure!!!!
 
2012-04-12 04:59:49 PM  
That movie sucked
 
2012-04-12 05:00:02 PM  
tricycleracer : Oops, you just stole physical property.

Exactly, but you also stole the contents of that drive.

IE, it's not just the drives that you're dinged for, it's also the software on those drives since they are being physically stolen.
 
2012-04-12 05:00:26 PM  

RobSeace: Not really... It's just that "taking" also involves removing the item in question... If the item remains, it wasn't "taken", but merely "copied"... And, "copying something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to copy" is not called stealing...


Which is what the court was saying too. Did you intend to reply to me?
 
2012-04-12 05:01:15 PM  

toraque: MugzyBrown: Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?

Why should it be illegal? Stealing code does not affect anybody else's property or life.

It's like saying performing a cover song should be illegal.

It can potentially affect the people who try to make a living by writing that code.

I make games for a living. If I can't sell any of the games I make, because everyone who wants to play the game just gets it for free, I go out of business.

Pirating isn't really stealing, it's more like sneaking into a club without paying the cover charge. Sure, one or two people won't hurt, but if too many people duck under the rope the club goes broke and closes.


The cover charge is usually for the DJ. The club makes its money from the drinks. For your analogy to work the club would have to be handing out free drinks. Which is kinda why games are moving towards micro transactions. Whereas before they were charging an enormous cover and you drank for free (in which case ducking under the rope is a problem) they're skipping the cover and making people pay for drinks (which believe it or not is turning into a wildly successful business model. Look at heroes of newerth.
 
2012-04-12 05:01:47 PM  

downstairs: ZAZ: This should have no effect on the web sites or RIAA. The court found two criminal laws inapplicable to the acts in question.

Correct. The RIAA/MPAA have never used the term "theft" in the legal sense. Because their lawyers are smarter than that. They're going after copyright infringement.

They may have used the term "theft" in an off-handed way. But never tried to get a prosecutor to go after a person for criminal theft.


They haven't used it as a throwaway term.

Who Music Theft Hurts (new window)

It's commonly known as "piracy," but that's too benign of a term to adequately describe the toll that music theft takes on the enormous cast of industry players working behind the scenes to bring music to your ears. That cast includes songwriters, recording artists, audio engineers, computer technicians, talent scouts and marketing specialists, producers, publishers and countless others.


The Law (new window)

If you make digital copies of copyrighted music on your computer available to anyone through the Internet without the permission of the copyright holder, you're stealing.

RIAA Announces New Round Of Music Theft Lawsuits (new window)

Even better - they use it when "helping" students write reports.

For Students Doing Reports (new window)

Music theft is a real, ongoing and evolving challenge
...
-According to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, the digital theft of music, movies and copyrighted content takes up huge amounts of Internet bandwidth - 24 percent globally, and 17.5 percent in the U.S.
...
While the music business has increased its digital revenues by 1,000 percent from 2004 to 2010, digital music theft has been a major factor behind the overall global market decline of around 31 percent in the same period.


Types of Content Theft (new window)

CAMCORDER THEFT

Approximately ninety percent of newly released movies that are pirated can be traced to thieves who use a digital recording device in a movie theater to literally steal the image and/or sound off the screen. Camcorder theft is one of the biggest problems facing the film industry...Since 2003, the major motion picture studios have employed technology such as watermarking films, which enables film companies to discern the source of a stolen film through forensic analysis and trace it back to the very theater in which it was recorded.

PEER-TO-PEER (P2P) THEFT

STREAMING THEFT

It's called fraud and theft.

OPTICAL DISC THEFT


And note - they include an ACTUAL theft, just to keep the false equivalency going.

THEATRICAL PRINT THEFT
Theft of a film print (35 or 16 mm) or digital file from a theater, film depot, courier service or other industry-related facility...


But of course they follow up with several more examples that are not "theft," but which they identify as "theft" anyway.
 
2012-04-12 05:02:10 PM  

namegoeshere: But by that argument, if I record myself playing stairway to heaven for my own enjoyment, write down a passage of my favorite book in my journal, or copy a painting to hang in my own livingroom, I am a moral thief.


I would strongly disagree.

If the defendant in this case had taken the time to code (from scratch) a software tool that had done the exact same thing as the software he copied, I wouldn't feel he'd done anything wrong - moral or otherwise.
 
2012-04-12 05:02:30 PM  

lordargent: tricycleracer : Oops, you just stole physical property.

Exactly, but you also stole the contents of that drive.

IE, it's not just the drives that you're dinged for, it's also the software on those drives since they are being physically stolen.


If you have the sole copy, sure. No one here is debating that.

If I sneak into Atlantic Records with an electromagnet and wipe out all the Ray Charles masters, no one will argue that I didn't commit a criminal act.
 
2012-04-12 05:03:39 PM  

MightyPez: pxsteel: MightyPez: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

The courts say otherwise.

Batshiat crazy courts

If you have case law showing their decision was wrong I'm sure there is a prosecuting attorney that would like a word with you. In the interim, it looks like the court made a decision based on the letter of the law.


Those damn activist judges...using the actual words in a law, rather than interpreting it and writing new law from the bench to fit their interpretation.
 
2012-04-12 05:04:05 PM  

tricycleracer: lordargent: tricycleracer : Oops, you just stole physical property.

Exactly, but you also stole the contents of that drive.

IE, it's not just the drives that you're dinged for, it's also the software on those drives since they are being physically stolen.

If you have the sole copy, sure. No one here is debating that.

If I sneak into Atlantic Records with an electromagnet and wipe out all the Ray Charles masters, no one will argue that I didn't commit a criminal act.


Which is vandalism. Not theft, nor piracy nor copyright violation.
 
2012-04-12 05:04:57 PM  

Humean_Nature: Exactly. If you're taking a closed-source piece of software and using it in your own homebrew programming for some other project, go nuts. But you can't use that code as the basis for your new game World of Snorecraft and try to sell it without Blizzard climbing straight up your ass.


I cast level 3 sleep apnea on you!
 
2012-04-12 05:05:12 PM  

Herbie555: the firmware is worthless without the hardware


Yet you still want damages because somebody copied your worthless firmware.
 
2012-04-12 05:05:15 PM  

tricycleracer: lordargent: tricycleracer : Oops, you just stole physical property.

Exactly, but you also stole the contents of that drive.

IE, it's not just the drives that you're dinged for, it's also the software on those drives since they are being physically stolen.

If you have the sole copy, sure. No one here is debating that.

If I sneak into Atlantic Records with an electromagnet and wipe out all the Ray Charles masters, no one will argue that I didn't commit a criminal act.


But they no longer have what was on them before. Thus, you deprived them of that data, just as if you had physically taken the masters with you.

If you made a copy of them instead, they still had the originals, thus - no theft.
 
2012-04-12 05:05:19 PM  
I believe this bears out a bit of legal research. I'll see if I can find the specific code sections under which he was originally charged. I've seen many cases tossed because the defendant was charged with a crime that cannot be prosecuted under one code section, yet is a criminal or civil violation under another code.

The court didn't say he was innocent, they only said that he wasn't guilty of a criminal act as charged.

I'll quote a certain SC Justice in this instance: "Fapp, instead of traipsing through the woods hunting turkeys, why don't you come down during oral arguments...I'll show you a courtroom full of em."

That said...I miss the good ol' days of filesharing, downloading a PC full of viruses, the impending BSOD's, trying to get that damned Knoppix disc to run...
 
2012-04-12 05:05:47 PM  

Herbie555: seadoo2006: I bet now you have assigned value to both your hardware AND software?

Photographer eh? Would you prefer that when you buy a new camera that you be charged separately for the camera and the firmware that runs it? The body and the electronics inside are worthless unless it's running firmware, and the firmware is worthless without the hardware. Once you've bought a camera body and firmware, should you pay for each firmware update thereafter?

That's the best analogy for our business I can come up with, except that we don't sell single units to end-customers. If you consider that a screwed up business model, then so be it.


I, the end user, don't have to see it. But, you'd be damned silly if you think Canon or Nikon don't have value assigned to their firmware internally for JUST the reason you went through. As I said, it's tough having to eat a mistake, especially when it costs you a farkton, but you not recouping losses was nobody else's fault but your own legal and financial department who couldn't assign value to your various products on a itemized basis.

When I charge for weddings, my time, equipment, editing, copyright waiver, and contract are all itemized out for the client to see. If the client wants to retain copyright to all photos, that's fine by me, I have a line itemed price for just that. You don't need to sell it that way, but you need to account for it internally. Your company failed to do so and it was a steep learning curve on needing to assign value to each specific part of what you make and what you sell. Had you done that, the courts would've gotten you damages, but, this whole experience was not the court's fault, it was a mistake by your company exploited by someone else.
 
2012-04-12 05:06:28 PM  

MightyPez: RobSeace: Not really... It's just that "taking" also involves removing the item in question... If the item remains, it wasn't "taken", but merely "copied"... And, "copying something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to copy" is not called stealing...

Which is what the court was saying too. Did you intend to reply to me?


Well, the reply was really for pxsteel, but you sort of validated his incorrect use of "take" by saying the courts disagreed with him... I was merely saying they didn't disagree with what he actually said, since "taking" involves removing just like "stealing"... However, it's clear what he actually meant was to equate "taking" with "copying", which is just plain crazy talk...
 
2012-04-12 05:07:37 PM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.


I am a lawyer, and: no, they are not.
 
2012-04-12 05:08:43 PM  

RobSeace: Well, the reply was really for pxsteel, but you sort of validated his incorrect use of "take" by saying the courts disagreed with him... I was merely saying they didn't disagree with what he actually said, since "taking" involves removing just like "stealing"... However, it's clear what he actually meant was to equate "taking" with "copying", which is just plain crazy talk...


I validated it by refuting it? Ok...
 
2012-04-12 05:09:35 PM  

Bad_Seed: Herbie555: the firmware is worthless without the hardware

Yet you still want damages because somebody copied your worthless firmware.


Well played.

I acknowledge that I should have said "The firmware won't take pictures without the hardware". Or in my case, "the firmware won't decode an encoded signal, packetize and route said packets, etc. etc." without the hardware.

In our case, they also violated the copyright on the hardware schematic.
 
2012-04-12 05:10:08 PM  

tyguy101aa: This will all change once they find the higgs boson and electrons are legally given mass.


But will it be a traditional Latin mass, or simply include some Latin components for the sake of the observer?
 
2012-04-12 05:14:00 PM  

Herbie555: seadoo2006: You got into a business selling something made up ... tough cookie ... either change your business or deal with it in another way (like civil court). Until then, STFU, and if you don't like it, step aside, I'm fairly positive some pizza-faced 14 year old could write that same code for your competitors on whatever hardware you're supplying.

Not sure what "something made up" is supposed to mean. We sell networking equipment that complies with a particular standard. My company helped to develop the standard over a period of about 10 years. Literally hundreds of engineers from many companies involved. We (a team of about 20) then wrote a FARKTON of code to do some quite complicated signal processing and some less-complicated network handling.

We've made a pretty substantial investment in both developing the standard and creating our own product. Then some dipshiat asian ODM comes along and rips off the hardware layout and directly boosts our firmware, and a US court can't decide the value of our losses due to the software piracy.


Let me help with that... Your "value"... $0.00
If people valued your product so much, they wouldn't buy a cheap Asian knockoff instead.

And no, I don't believe that is right. But I can walk into any store and point to over thousands of products that have been copied by cheap Asian knockoffs.

You want a solution? Not sure there are that many, but an easy one for the Microsoft's of the world is the house the software they sell *in-house* the way Google and Apple do it. Google docs? How about buy an iPhone without paying for the OS?

Why we aren't seeing more dumb terminals being sold and more software run exclusively off the web, I'm not sure. If *I* were in charge of Microsoft Office, I'd keep the CD version the same cost, and give a reduced cost for subscribing to a web version of our software updated regularly with new features. -Start leasing it like the folks of World of Warcraft. -As long as your content is good, subscribers will keep coming back.

How would that work with hardware? I don't know, but what about introducing code that actually slows down the device when activated? How about if you haven't upgraded your code monthly, the switches slow down to a crawl until you download software from a website *you* control?

Or alternatively, put an expiration code on the chip that keeps it from working without a long encrypted key being downloaded monthly (which of course you charge for).

Or just do what so many other companies do and instead of making the hardware (and firmware) your primary money maker, just make training and add-ons your money maker. If add on support costs were your money maker, it wouldn't matter *who* copied you as you would *always* be able to provide better support for your product than they could.
 
2012-04-12 05:14:07 PM  

seadoo2006: But, you'd be damned silly if you think Canon or Nikon don't have value assigned to their firmware internally for JUST the reason you went through.


Internally isn't good enough (as we found out). We have an internal value for our firmware. We know exactly how much the firmware "costs" as a part of the bill-of-materials. We even have a precedent for EXTERNAL value for our firmware, as we sometimes have charged certain pain-in-the-ass customers for firmware upgrades when they want something special. But the court found that because IN THIS CASE we didn't charge for the firmware, then we suffered no loss. Canon and Nikon have NEVER charged for a firmware upgrade, so far as I know.
 
2012-04-12 05:15:14 PM  

lordargent: Also, it's not impossible to steal computer code.

1) Take all of the drives it's stored on, thus depriving the original owner of use.

2) Copy all of the code, then delete it from the original storage, thus depriving the original owner of use.


No, that's copyright infringement followed by vandalism.
 
2012-04-12 05:15:39 PM  
Subby here,

While I think that producers of all intellectual property need to be protected from other commercial entities, such as Herbie555's case or say a movie studio or author. I don't think that individuals should be punished for non-commercial usage of intellectual property if they obtained it through copying. And if they are, it should be a civil suit for lost profits from that individual, not some BS about how they might have distributed it 50k times.

/yarrrr
 
2012-04-12 05:15:52 PM  

Humean_Nature: GAT_00: Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?

Pretty much. It's like memorizing a book and then never ever writing it down and trying to pass it off as your own work. You've made a copy that isn't authorized, but you'll never show it to anyone or try to make money off of it. Where's the plagiarism?


Schrodinger say "What?"
 
2012-04-12 05:16:14 PM  
"It is not theft...it is piracy."

So you are using the strict legal definition for "theft", but a general, common-use definition for "piracy"? That is not consistent.

Either it is both "theft" and "piracy" (non-technical use of terms) or it is neither (technical use of terms). Technically, it is "infringement." You are infringing the rights granted, by law, to the copyright holder.

Copyright holders call it "theft" because they see it as someone taking money due to them. Hackers call it "piracy" because they think pirates are cool.
 
2012-04-12 05:17:10 PM  

Herbie555: Well played.

I acknowledge that I should have said "The firmware won't take pictures without the hardware". Or in my case, "the firmware won't decode an encoded signal, packetize and route said packets, etc. etc." without the hardware.

In our case, they also violated the copyright on the hardware schematic.


Then sue them for the hardware. If the cost of developing the firmware is already accounted for in the price of the hardware, then the damages you get from from the hardware infringement should cover the theoretical losses from the firmware being copied.
 
2012-04-12 05:17:17 PM  
No one is justifying anything. Everyone in this thread who tries to put forth this argument is misinformed. This didn't make it "okay" to go out and copy code. It just means it doesn't fall under the legal definition of theft.

This is a VERY important ruling. Think of it this way:

John goes into Macy's and shoplifts a t-shirt. The police arrest him and charge him with armed robbery. John gets acquitted of the robbery because what he did does not fall under the definition of armed robbery.

This really is no different. Attempting to charge someone with theft when they haven't met the legal definition of theft is wrong, plain and simple. Not only does this say once and for all, "no, this is not theft in the legal sense", it also says "no, we will not charge people for crimes they didn't technically commit"

Again, this doesn't make it so everyone can suddenly go out and pirate everything they want. The main disincentive to piracy has always been lawsuits, not jail time. Clearly, if we take the war on drugs as an example jail time isn't a disincentive anyhow. It baffles me how anyone in the US could support throwing even more people in jail when they are filled with non-violent "criminals" who come out less able to integrate into society than when they went in.
 
2012-04-12 05:18:11 PM  

seadoo2006: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

[27.media.tumblr.com image 500x420]


When I take a shower, the shower is still there when I am done, and as many people as want to, can still take a shower. Should I say "Im going to go copy a shower" ?
 
2012-04-12 05:18:41 PM  

Girion47: Subby here,

While I think that producers of all intellectual property need to be protected from other commercial entities, such as Herbie555's case or say a movie studio or author. I don't think that individuals should be punished for non-commercial usage of intellectual property if they obtained it through copying. And if they are, it should be a civil suit for lost profits from that individual, not some BS about how they might have distributed it 50k times.

/yarrrr


Agreed. I'm the first person to scoff when the MPAA or RIAA makes these demands for HUGE damages against individual infringers. If someone is convicted, the "loss" part of the judgement should be the real street price of the song, or movie, or whatever. I'll leave it to the policy wonks to decide if there should be additional disincentive in the form of an additional fine or penalty, but even that should "scale" with the "crime".
 
2012-04-12 05:19:12 PM  
Thank you! And, Thank you. I've been 'stealing' code for decades. You know why? You can't steal it, it's out there. IT'S CALLED FU*KING CODE LIBRARIES!!!! Take it, use it, get a job. Thank you, and thank you very much. If you wrote it and it's on the 'net, it's mine. Don't like that? Don't put it on the intertubes.
 
2012-04-12 05:19:51 PM  

Herbie555: In our case, they also violated the copyright on the hardware schematic.


Did they copy your schematic directly or did they reverse engineer it?
 
2012-04-12 05:20:42 PM  

Herbie555: seadoo2006: You got into a business selling something made up ... tough cookie ... either change your business or deal with it in another way (like civil court). Until then, STFU, and if you don't like it, step aside, I'm fairly positive some pizza-faced 14 year old could write that same code for your competitors on whatever hardware you're supplying.

Not sure what "something made up" is supposed to mean. We sell networking equipment that complies with a particular standard. My company helped to develop the standard over a period of about 10 years. Literally hundreds of engineers from many companies involved. We (a team of about 20) then wrote a FARKTON of code to do some quite complicated signal processing and some less-complicated network handling.

We've made a pretty substantial investment in both developing the standard and creating our own product. Then some dipshiat asian ODM comes along and rips off the hardware layout and directly boosts our firmware, and a US court can't decide the value of our losses due to the software piracy.


Wow. You and I seem to do the same thing. The firmware I write is for BACnet products, what about you?

On a related note, we also ran into the exact same thing as you. A Korean company got their hands on some of our hardware copied the ROM and the PCB and flooded the asian market. It sucked.
 
2012-04-12 05:22:09 PM  
earreverends.com
Obligatory?
 
2012-04-12 05:22:10 PM  

ISO15693: seadoo2006: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

[27.media.tumblr.com image 500x420]

When I take a shower, the shower is still there when I am done, and as many people as want to, can still take a shower. Should I say "Im going to go copy a shower" ?


I can only assume that would involve you standing above a tub and pissing on people...
 
2012-04-12 05:22:50 PM  

ISO15693: seadoo2006: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

[27.media.tumblr.com image 500x420]

When I take a shower, the shower is still there when I am done, and as many people as want to, can still take a shower. Should I say "Im going to go copy a shower" ?


that's probably slightly different, it is possible that you use up all the hot water, and they have to wait or something.

how about a pool. a pool is a pool is a pool.
or it was until you peed in it.
jerk.
 
2012-04-12 05:23:44 PM  

Bad_Seed: Then sue them for the hardware. If the cost of developing the firmware is already accounted for in the price of the hardware, then the damages you get from from the hardware infringement should cover the theoretical losses from the firmware being copied.


We have. It's taking longer to prove that their layout was "copied" and not "reverse engineered". We'll get there one way or the other, but in all likelihood, right about the time we "win", I'm betting we'll find out that the ODM in question has nothing left to take.

Once our common customers figured out what had been done, they stopped buying from the ODM. Although sadly not for reasons of good conduct - the customers figured out they were getting no meaningful tech support from a company that hadn't written a single line of code. That's one of the reasons our lost sales are so easy to calculate - we know exactly how many units were sold before the customers got wise. Note that they didn't pull the units from their plants, though. ;-)
 
2012-04-12 05:24:23 PM  

DrippinBalls: Thank you! And, Thank you. I've been 'stealing' code for decades. You know why? You can't steal it, it's out there. IT'S CALLED FU*KING CODE LIBRARIES!!!! Take it, use it, get a job. Thank you, and thank you very much. If you wrote it and it's on the 'net, it's mine. Don't like that? Don't put it on the intertubes.


I'm going to say self-described hacker types with no respect for Intellectual Property help no one (if you're limiting this to open source software then never mind :D ).
 
2012-04-12 05:24:29 PM  

iq_in_binary: toraque: MugzyBrown: Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?

Why should it be illegal? Stealing code does not affect anybody else's property or life.

It's like saying performing a cover song should be illegal.

It can potentially affect the people who try to make a living by writing that code.

I make games for a living. If I can't sell any of the games I make, because everyone who wants to play the game just gets it for free, I go out of business.

Pirating isn't really stealing, it's more like sneaking into a club without paying the cover charge. Sure, one or two people won't hurt, but if too many people duck under the rope the club goes broke and closes.

The cover charge is usually for the DJ. The club makes its money from the drinks. For your analogy to work the club would have to be handing out free drinks. Which is kinda why games are moving towards micro transactions. Whereas before they were charging an enormous cover and you drank for free (in which case ducking under the rope is a problem) they're skipping the cover and making people pay for drinks (which believe it or not is turning into a wildly successful business model. Look at heroes of newerth.


That's true, but I personally don't believe every game should be microtransaction driven.
 
2012-04-12 05:25:37 PM  

Leeds: Wow. You and I seem to do the same thing. The firmware I write is for BACnet products, what about you?


DOCSIS CPEs and CMTSs
 
2012-04-12 05:25:42 PM  

oakleym82: I'm confused.


Yes, you are.
 
2012-04-12 05:25:59 PM  

toraque: Pirating isn't really stealing, it's more like sneaking into a club without paying the cover charge. Sure, one or two people won't hurt, but if too many people duck under the rope the club goes broke and closes.


Funny thing- although the club has been biatching about people who sneak in for decades, they seem to be making record profits. Hmm.
 
2012-04-12 05:27:40 PM  

Herbie555: Bad_Seed: Then sue them for the hardware. If the cost of developing the firmware is already accounted for in the price of the hardware, then the damages you get from from the hardware infringement should cover the theoretical losses from the firmware being copied.

We have. It's taking longer to prove that their layout was "copied" and not "reverse engineered". We'll get there one way or the other, but in all likelihood, right about the time we "win", I'm betting we'll find out that the ODM in question has nothing left to take.

Once our common customers figured out what had been done, they stopped buying from the ODM. Although sadly not for reasons of good conduct - the customers figured out they were getting no meaningful tech support from a company that hadn't written a single line of code. That's one of the reasons our lost sales are so easy to calculate - we know exactly how many units were sold before the customers got wise. Note that they didn't pull the units from their plants, though. ;-)


and that's why I never ever release code with the BUGS flag set to 0.
//hell I'm lucky if it's less that 12 million....
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-04-12 05:27:53 PM  
fisker: What if I hold a mirror up to my TV and have you watch it from outside my house?

There is quite a bit of case law on related situations, but I know of none answering that exact question. The right in question is "public performance." Usually it's obvious whether you are showing something in private or in public. When it is not obvious the courts will split hairs as fine as you want to offer them to give you a "yes" or "no" answer. A restaurant that plays music over a small, portable stereo system is not infringing copyright, but replace the boom box with a commercial system in the ceiling and you owe royalties. If you play a movie in your dorm room on your TV you're safe. If you borrow a lecture hall, invite people not in your social circle, and play a movie on your TV you may need a license.

downstairs: But if your company makes you sign a paper saying you won't take the code... that's a civil contractual issue, which could still be decided in court.

Don't some states have criminal penalties for theft of trade secrets? (In addition to the federal law from this case that only covers trade secrets related to products for sale.)
 
2012-04-12 05:28:06 PM  

ISO15693: seadoo2006: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

[27.media.tumblr.com image 500x420]

When I take a shower, the shower is still there when I am done, and as many people as want to, can still take a shower. Should I say "Im going to go copy a shower" ?


Technically, no, it's not. In this case, "shower" has two meanings. The physical object, "shower," is still there, certainly, but the "shower" you took, the streaming of water over your body for the purpose of cleaning yourself, is now gone down the drain. The particular "shower" you "took" no longer exists.
 
2012-04-12 05:28:40 PM  

mauricecano: Eddie Adams from Torrance:

Which is why I'm planning to copyright 1 and 0. Then every piece of software will be mine..all mine!!!

Too late, its public domain.


Ironically, the idea is copyrighted by the Onion.

Link (new window)

Making mauricecano a copyright infringer, subject to the full weight of the law.

(Sorry if this has already been pointed out. You expect me to read Boobiess? I'm with Scalia on this one.)
 
2012-04-12 05:29:37 PM  

Herbie555: Leeds: Wow. You and I seem to do the same thing. The firmware I write is for BACnet products, what about you?

DOCSIS CPEs and CMTSs


Vixs, gotcha.

Good to see fellow firmware folk on here. :-)
 
2012-04-12 05:30:34 PM  

Sticky Hands: Herbie555: In our case, they also violated the copyright on the hardware schematic.

Did they copy your schematic directly or did they reverse engineer it?


As best we can tell, copied directly. Not only schematic, but possibly layout. As far as I've been told, we haven't determined if they got hold of an electronic copy of a layout and reproduced it, or were just really fastidious about cloning the design. There ARE differences between their board and ours. (Amusingly, differences which make their RF performance measurably worse), and they're arguing that the differences are proof of "parallel design", but there some other things that look to have been copied verbatim that serve no functional purpose. Stuff in the power section that's been re-used from a dozen previous models over the last ten years, so it's kind of frankenstein-y, but we leave it alone because it works and we've never taken the time to clean it up.
 
2012-04-12 05:31:51 PM  

bodangly: No one is justifying anything. Everyone in this thread who tries to put forth this argument is misinformed. This didn't make it "okay" to go out and copy code. It just means it doesn't fall under the legal definition of theft.

This is a VERY important ruling. Think of it this way:

John goes into Macy's and shoplifts a t-shirt. The police arrest him and charge him with armed robbery. John gets acquitted of the robbery because what he did does not fall under the definition of armed robbery.

This really is no different. Attempting to charge someone with theft when they haven't met the legal definition of theft is wrong, plain and simple. Not only does this say once and for all, "no, this is not theft in the legal sense", it also says "no, we will not charge people for crimes they didn't technically commit"

Again, this doesn't make it so everyone can suddenly go out and pirate everything they want. The main disincentive to piracy has always been lawsuits, not jail time. Clearly, if we take the war on drugs as an example jail time isn't a disincentive anyhow. It baffles me how anyone in the US could support throwing even more people in jail when they are filled with non-violent "criminals" who come out less able to integrate into society than when they went in.


How about. keep your hands off other people's stuff and you don't have to worry about it. Splitting hairs to win a case is what this is. Taking, copying, whatever. You know it's wrong, don't do it.
 
2012-04-12 05:32:02 PM  
Oblig (new window)
 
2012-04-12 05:33:21 PM  

fredklein: toraque: Pirating isn't really stealing, it's more like sneaking into a club without paying the cover charge. Sure, one or two people won't hurt, but if too many people duck under the rope the club goes broke and closes.

Funny thing- although the club has been biatching about people who sneak in for decades, they seem to be making record profits. Hmm.


Don't forget about the people that wouldn't pay the cover charge and go do something else if they couldn't sneak into the club. And the people who sneak in the club to see if it is any good and then pay later if it is good. And the people who sneak in for the thrill of sneaking in and go right back out without doing anything.
 
2012-04-12 05:34:10 PM  

lh3.googleusercontent.com
"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me." - Some Guy

 
2012-04-12 05:34:12 PM  

CthulhuCalling: seadoo2006: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

[27.media.tumblr.com image 500x420]

But but but... I take a dump, but I'm actually GIVING something! I'm so confused.


I can actually explain this for you!

In the phrases "take a dump" or "take a whiz", the objects are actually verbs, not nouns, in the same way as "take a nap" or "take a break".

When the thing you are 'taking' is an action instead of a thing, then it works differently. You're taking an action, not leaving (or taking) an object.

So when you say "I'm going to take a dump", it's a lot of useless extra words. You could just as easily say "I'm going to dump", just like you could say "I'm going to nap" or "I'm going to whiz.", or "I'm going to break."

English is silly.
 
2012-04-12 05:36:12 PM  
"Court rules it is impossible to steal computer code".

hmm...

Challenge Accepted.
 
2012-04-12 05:37:43 PM  

rufus-t-firefly: downstairs: ZAZ: This should have no effect on the web sites or RIAA. The court found two criminal laws inapplicable to the acts in question.

Correct. The RIAA/MPAA have never used the term "theft" in the legal sense. Because their lawyers are smarter than that. They're going after copyright infringement.

They may have used the term "theft" in an off-handed way. But never tried to get a prosecutor to go after a person for criminal theft.

They haven't used it as a throwaway term.

Who Music Theft Hurts (new window)

It's commonly known as "piracy," but that's too benign of a term to adequately describe the toll that music theft takes on the enormous cast of industry players working behind the scenes to bring music to your ears. That cast includes songwriters, recording artists, audio engineers, computer technicians, talent scouts and marketing specialists, producers, publishers and countless others.

The Law (new window)

If you make digital copies of copyrighted music on your computer available to anyone through the Internet without the permission of the copyright holder, you're stealing.

RIAA Announces New Round Of Music Theft Lawsuits (new window)

Even better - they use it when "helping" students write reports.

For Students Doing Reports (new window)

Music theft is a real, ongoing and evolving challenge
...
-According to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, the digital theft of music, movies and copyrighted content takes up huge amounts of Internet bandwidth - 24 percent globally, and 17.5 percent in the U.S.
...
While the music business has increased its digital revenues by 1,000 percent from 2004 to 2010, digital music theft has been a major factor behind the overall global market decline of around 31 percent in the same period.


Types of Content Theft (new window)

CAMCORDER THEFT

Approximately ninety percent of newly released movies that are pirated can be traced to thieves who use a digital recording device in a movie theater ...


Oh, I know... I was just saying they may use it in text, but they'd never try to get someone prosecuted for theft.
 
2012-04-12 05:37:51 PM  
Don't worry, they'll just try and weasel this one in some other way, like they're doing with SOPA, I mean, CISPA.

/Honestly
//SOPA, PIPA, CISPA
///Can we stop using cutesy acronyms for heinous laws? Give it a serious name
///Like Proposal 32-B, or something
 
2012-04-12 05:39:06 PM  

pxsteel: bodangly: No one is justifying anything. Everyone in this thread who tries to put forth this argument is misinformed. This didn't make it "okay" to go out and copy code. It just means it doesn't fall under the legal definition of theft.

This is a VERY important ruling. Think of it this way:

John goes into Macy's and shoplifts a t-shirt. The police arrest him and charge him with armed robbery. John gets acquitted of the robbery because what he did does not fall under the definition of armed robbery.

This really is no different. Attempting to charge someone with theft when they haven't met the legal definition of theft is wrong, plain and simple. Not only does this say once and for all, "no, this is not theft in the legal sense", it also says "no, we will not charge people for crimes they didn't technically commit"

Again, this doesn't make it so everyone can suddenly go out and pirate everything they want. The main disincentive to piracy has always been lawsuits, not jail time. Clearly, if we take the war on drugs as an example jail time isn't a disincentive anyhow. It baffles me how anyone in the US could support throwing even more people in jail when they are filled with non-violent "criminals" who come out less able to integrate into society than when they went in.

How about. keep your hands off other people's stuff and you don't have to worry about it. Splitting hairs to win a case is what this is. Taking, copying, whatever. You know it's wrong, don't do it.


It's not about whether it's wrong or not, it's about how it's prosecuted. What if you jaywalked and got charged with murder? And, yes, I'm aware that example is extreme. But my point is that if you are guilty of copyright infringement, then you are prosecuted in civil court, which makes a lot of sense considering the crime. If it is theft, though, then you are tried in criminal court and can go to jail. No one should go to jail for copying a CD. Make them pay for the CD, sure, plus court costs at that, but sending someone to jail for it is a ridiculous outcome.
 
2012-04-12 05:39:40 PM  

MightyPez: RobSeace: Well, the reply was really for pxsteel, but you sort of validated his incorrect use of "take" by saying the courts disagreed with him... I was merely saying they didn't disagree with what he actually said, since "taking" involves removing just like "stealing"... However, it's clear what he actually meant was to equate "taking" with "copying", which is just plain crazy talk...

I validated it by refuting it? Ok...


You didn't validate his position, but his use of the word "take"... You said courts disagreed with him... They don't... It's just he didn't really mean what he actually said! By saying the courts disagreed with what he just said, you were effectively saying that "taking" == "copying", just as he clearly meant to imply... Is this really that hard to understand?

/*sigh* I can't even agree with someone without getting into a damn argument over it!
 
2012-04-12 05:39:42 PM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.


No, actually, it's the opposite... They're saying that source code is intellectual property, not tangible property. You can't physically pick it up, shove it in your pocket, and sneak out, thus stealing it... You can only infringe exclusive rights related to it.

The key quote is:
The NSPA makes it a crime to "transport[], transmit[],
3 or transfer[] in interstate or foreign commerce any goods,
4 wares, merchandise, securities or money, of the value of
5 $5,000 or more, knowing the same to have been stolen,
6 converted or taken by fraud." 18 U.S.C. § 2314. The
7 statute does not define the terms "goods," "wares," or
8 "merchandise." We have held that they provide "a general
9 and comprehensive designation of such personal property or
10 chattels
as are ordinarily a subject of commerce." In re
11 Vericker, 446 F.2d 244, 248 (2d Cir. 1971) (Friendly, C.J.)
12 (quoting United States v. Seagraves, 265 F.2d 876, 880 (3d
13 Cir. 1959)).


and later
"To be sure, where no tangible objects were
22 ever taken or transported, a court would be hard pressed to13
1 conclude that 'goods' had been stolen and transported within
2 the meaning of 2314." Id.


This goes back to the old "theft vs. copyright infringement" argument that everyone likes to have in these threads (and they're having here)... the judges were right - copyright infringement, and even theft of trade secrets, is not the same as stealing a car. Intellectual property is intangible, so laws that require carrying away of a tangible good aren't going to apply.
That doesn't mean that IP goes away... rather, it means that IP statutes apply to IP, and that statutes having to do with theft of goods don't.

... for now. As the court notes, criminal law is purely a creature of statute, and Congress could certainly amend the NSPA to say "for the purpose of this chapter, 'goods' includes intellectual property" or something, not that that would be a great idea. But there are wealthy lobbyists who might be interested in such an amendment.
 
2012-04-12 05:40:41 PM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.


No, copyright is just as valid as it was before the decision, and source code is still copyrighted at the moment of fixation. If you steal someone's source code, you can still be sued for copyright infringement, and in certain specific cases you can face criminal charges for giving away someone's source code (under the No Electronic Theft act.)

This ruling simply states that code is not physical property, like a chair. It is instead copyrighted material, like anything else you type into a text editor.
 
2012-04-12 05:41:18 PM  
This is a horrible ruling and will likely be overturned if appealed. If you link to the actual case, what happened is the guy was quitting Goldman and going to work for a competitor who was going to pay him $1 million per year to build a new trading system for them and the project was only supposed to take six months vs. the typical multi-year development cycle for similar products. Here are the stipulated facts of what he did:

"At approximately 5:20 p.m., just before his going-away party,
10 Aleynikov encrypted and uploaded to a server in Germany more
11 than 500,000 lines of source code for Goldman's HFT system,
12 including code for a substantial part of the infrastructure,
13 and some of the algorithms and market data connectivity
14 programs."

The judge ruled that the stolen property act did not apply given previous precedent but also ruled that the Electronic Espionage Act, which seems to have been specifically created to address this type of crime, did not apply because of a wording issue. The wording is question is:

"Whoever, with intent to
20 convert a trade secret, that is related to or included in a
21 product that is produced for or placed in interstate or
22 foreign commerce, to the economic benefit of anyone other
1 than the owner thereof, and intending or knowing that the
2 offense will, injure any owner of that trade secret,
3 knowingly . . . without authorization . . . downloads,
4 uploads, . . . transmits, . . . or conveys such information"
5 is guilty of a federal offense, and may be imprisoned for up
6 to 10 years.


The judge has the semi-bogus argument in his opinion that since something can't be "placed in" commerce without having been "produced for" commerce, then the wording is vague and can't be enforced. Any rational reading of the rule recognizes that the "or" is related to the fact that something can be "produced for" but not "placed in" commerce. I hope the government appeals this since it will be overturned.
 
2012-04-12 05:41:22 PM  

RobSeace: You didn't validate his position, but his use of the word "take"... You said courts disagreed with him... They don't... It's just he didn't really mean what he actually said! By saying the courts disagreed with what he just said, you were effectively saying that "taking" == "copying", just as he clearly meant to imply... Is this really that hard to understand?

/*sigh* I can't even agree with someone without getting into a damn argument over it!


Pedantry is for courts. We all know exactly what he was saying even if he wasn't using the correct words. Cool your jets.
 
2012-04-12 05:41:54 PM  

birchman: oakleym82: Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.

THIS!

I'm no piracy nazi, in fact quite the opposite, but this is IP law. Would the ruling be any different if he printed it out?

Is this simply a criminal vs civil thing?

I'm confused.

All they're saying is that you can't go to jail for theft. You could still go to jail for other charges or be sued depending on what you did.


Not even... You could still go jail for criminal copyright infringement.

Basically, if you were to sneak into Ford's plant and take a bunch of pictures of their secret designs for next year and then go sell them to GM, you could be charged with theft of trade secrets, criminal copyright infringement, trespass, etc.
... you couldn't be charged with grand theft auto, however.
 
2012-04-12 05:46:33 PM  

beefoe: The judge ruled that the stolen property act did not apply given previous precedent but also ruled that the Electronic Espionage Act, which seems to have been specifically created to address this type of crime, did not apply because of a wording issue. The wording is question is:

"Whoever, with intent to
20 convert a trade secret, that is related to or included in a
21 product that is produced for or placed in interstate or
22 foreign commerce, to the economic benefit of anyone other
1 than the owner thereof, and intending or knowing that the
2 offense will, injure any owner of that trade secret,
3 knowingly . . . without authorization . . . downloads,
4 uploads, . . . transmits, . . . or conveys such information"
5 is guilty of a federal offense, and may be imprisoned for up
6 to 10 years.

The judge has the semi-bogus argument in his opinion that since something can't be "placed in" commerce without having been "produced for" commerce, then the wording is vague and can't be enforced. Any rational reading of the rule recognizes that the "or" is related to the fact that something can be "produced for" but not "placed in" commerce. I hope the government appeals this since it will be overturned.


I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation... Actually, the judge noted that a different section of the EEA would apply, but for some reason, Aleynikov wasn't charged with that section:
The EEA contains two operative provisions. The first
8 section (18 U.S.C. § 1831(a)), which is not charged in the
9 indictment
, applies to foreign espionage and is expressed
10 broadly: "Whoever, intending or knowing that the offense
11 will benefit any foreign government, foreign
12 instrumentality, or foreign agent, knowingly . . . without
13 authorization . . . downloads, uploads, . . . transmits,
14 . . . or conveys a trade secret" is guilty of a federal
15 offense, and may be imprisoned for up to 15 years. 18
16 U.S.C. § 1831(a).
17 Aleynikov, however, was charged with violating 18
18 U.S.C. § 1832...


Basically, I think the prosecutor screwed up there.
 
2012-04-12 05:47:10 PM  
And to think that just six months ago the government was threatening to destroy the internet with SOPA. What a country!
 
2012-04-12 05:47:54 PM  
This is too far down the page for anyone to pay attention, but...

I think that to copyright a computer program, you should be required to publicly provide the commented, uncompiled source code in a recognizable, non-obfuscated computer language.

Not only would it make it easier to prove infringement by those profiting from theft -- it's easier to compare C++ (or whatever) source code than binary gobbledygook -- it would push forward software development, and help prevent software from dying as an orphan.

And hey, if you want to keep your code an in-house trade secret, without copyright protection, feel free.
 
PJ-
2012-04-12 05:48:01 PM  
30.media.tumblr.com

/hot
 
2012-04-12 05:50:40 PM  

beefoe: the guy was quitting Goldman and going to work for a competitor who was going to pay him $1 million per year to build a new trading system for them and the project was only supposed to take six months vs. the typical multi-year development cycle for similar products.


this is what happens when a company man runs between the shadows of the mega-corps:

www.battlecorps.com

/ his legal troubles are far from over.
 
2012-04-12 05:52:45 PM  
dahmers love zombie

I think this is an awful decision. Removing the threat of pound-me-in-the-ass Federal prison from the equation will doom IP as we know it.

I mean, remember when there was music on the radio in the '70s, and cassette tapes came out, and every music company went bankrupt? And there's been no music published since then because of the inability to profit?

And movies -- hell, I remember those from the Seventies, but since Betamax came out, there was no way you could make a movie that made money, and all of the studios folded. I sure wish I could see something in a, what was it called, "cinema"?

Wow, and I can't even imagine what the software industry would have been like. We might even have had home computers by this point, and games you could play on them. This law was a bright spot which might have even allowed for the existence and growth of "software companies", but now I imagine the adding machine factories are redoubling their workforces, seeing as there will be no other option for the foreseeable future.


Further proof of your point
ted.com
 
2012-04-12 05:54:02 PM  

Herbie555: MightyPez: You made a bad argument. Don't call other people trolls for calling you on it. You wanted to call it "moral theft." How about we just prosecute copyright infringement under the laws we already have for it (which, by the way, are for more strict than laws against theft) rather than create a new "moral theft" law?

Reread my original post. I wasn't trying to "legislate morality", I was lamenting the fact that even the English language didn't really have a properly descriptive word for "getting stuff for free, even if nobody loses anything".

See my last post about copyright law - I would LOVE if copyright infringement could be properly prosecuted, but the Law has not yet caught up to the "value" of software. If you copyright a book or some other written work that can have a price fixed to it, that's one thing. Heck, even software that is "sold" as software can have a value affixed, albiet that's a bit more murky.


When shall copyright expire?
 
2012-04-12 05:56:36 PM  

casual disregard: Herbie555: MightyPez: You made a bad argument. Don't call other people trolls for calling you on it. You wanted to call it "moral theft." How about we just prosecute copyright infringement under the laws we already have for it (which, by the way, are for more strict than laws against theft) rather than create a new "moral theft" law?

Reread my original post. I wasn't trying to "legislate morality", I was lamenting the fact that even the English language didn't really have a properly descriptive word for "getting stuff for free, even if nobody loses anything".

See my last post about copyright law - I would LOVE if copyright infringement could be properly prosecuted, but the Law has not yet caught up to the "value" of software. If you copyright a book or some other written work that can have a price fixed to it, that's one thing. Heck, even software that is "sold" as software can have a value affixed, albiet that's a bit more murky.

When shall copyright expire?


Should be 20 years.

Reality is they'll never let Mickey Mouse expire.
 
2012-04-12 05:56:37 PM  

pute kisses like a man: beefoe: the guy was quitting Goldman and going to work for a competitor who was going to pay him $1 million per year to build a new trading system for them and the project was only supposed to take six months vs. the typical multi-year development cycle for similar products.

this is what happens when a company man runs between the shadows of the mega-corps:

[www.battlecorps.com image 220x295]

/ his legal troubles are far from over.


God, what I would give for a fun, modern, non-grindy Shadowrun (mmo)RPG.

/$14.99 a month
 
2012-04-12 05:56:41 PM  
Most Farkers are overlooking the portion of the article that notes that this is not a theft, or a violation of the Electronic Espionage Act only. The court didn't address any other statutes.

The criminal penalties for downloading and/or distributing music, videos and other electronic format content may still be illegal as a result of legislation that makes those specific acts illegal, that do not apply in this case.

Another thing worth mentioning is the court noted the program in question was "was not designed to enter or pass in commerce, or to make something that does". For a federal court to have jurisdiction there must be some form of interstate or foreign commerce. While the courts have generally read this liberally, (fed jurisdiction when you rob someone with a gun produced in another state) there still must be some type of interstate or foreign commerce to violate a federal law. So why a program designed for a companies internal use, that was not distributed in interstate or foreign commerce, may fall outside of the law, that mp3, video or copy of MS Office, will likely fall within the jurisdiction of the federal court.
 
2012-04-12 05:57:12 PM  
We are in the process of trying to reconfigure ownership ideas and laws that were formed before digital copies became possible.

The issue the court decided was that the owner wasn't dispossessed of the original.

While the record industry tries to cling to an outmoded idea of tangible assets, more sophisticated creatives have realized that the issue is not so black and white.

This is a wall in my lounge

i40.tinypic.com

The original of the triple painting is called As I Opened Fire and resides in a public art gallery in Amsterdam.

I would say that the existence of this 'copy' in no way reduces the value of the real thing. Even if I sold the copy, it is so obviously fake that it doesn't reduce the value of the real thing.

To me, this is morally legit, in that nobody is being deprived of anything.
 
2012-04-12 06:01:13 PM  
Please. They're called undocumented downloaders, and they have feelings just like you and me.
 
2012-04-12 06:01:57 PM  

Herbie555: namegoeshere: But by that argument, if I record myself playing stairway to heaven for my own enjoyment, write down a passage of my favorite book in my journal, or copy a painting to hang in my own livingroom, I am a moral thief.

I would strongly disagree.

If the defendant in this case had taken the time to code (from scratch) a software tool that had done the exact same thing as the software he copied, I wouldn't feel he'd done anything wrong - moral or otherwise.


Nobody codes "from scratch." Not unless they're stupid.

Everybody "steals" standard code, the classic example being search algorithms. Efficient programmers re-use as much code as possible.

Good, efficient programmers make sure the wild herds of kangaroos don't shoot at the helicopters in the simulations. [grin]

That said, there's a difference between wholesale recycling of code in new projects versus swiping a competitor's proprietary source code and slapping it onto or into your products so you don't have to do your own engineering and development.

Reality: Programmers swap blocks of code like fratboys and coeds swapping spit (and other miscellaneous fluids) at a Greek Week kegger. The morning after, nobody inquires too closely as to whose bits of whatnot got into or onto who else as long as no active competitors' property rights were directly infringed (in some way they feel they cannot ignore).
 
2012-04-12 06:06:52 PM  

GAT_00: WhyteRaven74: GAT_00: That is a seriously dangerous precedent.

No, it just kicks it back to being a civil matter of copyright infringement. Which is all it should ever be.

But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.


It says if you were to COPY the code for something, that you have not committed a criminal act. However, you may have still committed a civil tort. Even if you make no profit from something, you may be committing the tort of copyright infringement. Copyright is the right to copy, and that is what's in question here.
 
2012-04-12 06:09:53 PM  
Satanic_Hamster:
What the court is saying:
You download/pirate a copy of Mass Effect 3 and play it. Maybe email it to a few people.

You can still be sued in a civil court for piracy. But you can NOT be charged *criminally* by the *government* and go to *jail* for it.

That's really not what they are saying. The guy took raw code, not actual software. He didn't steal media, which is generally intended for the public, instead it's almost exactly analogous to stealing blueprints from an engineering firm or a formula from a chemistry/pharmaceutical firm.

I'm not a corporate espionage lawyer, but something tells me that if you snap a picture of an under-development blueprint your company is working on and walk out of the building with it, you will get busted for theft. The only difference between that situation and this one is that the judges aren't able to differentiate media from schematics.
 
2012-04-12 06:10:15 PM  

dervish16108: Please. They're called undocumented downloaders, and they have feelings just like you and me.


Maybe so...but if they have a proxy in Arizona, they are screwed.
 
2012-04-12 06:12:39 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: Weaver95: alaric3: Shouldn't that legalize software piracy? They made stipulations about music and video not counting but this sounds to me like Windows 7 Ultimate and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 are now free for the taking.

well...no. it's still copyright infringement. so you still have options under the civil code. What this decision does is biatch slap the dept of homeland security for shutting down file trading websites, not to mention sets RIAA back on its pins.

Which is why I'm planning to copyright 1 and 0. Then every piece of software will be mine..all mine!!!


Too late, Microsoft already beat you to it:

Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes (new window)
 
2012-04-12 06:14:12 PM  

CygnusDarius: Don't worry, they'll just try and weasel this one in some other way, like they're doing with SOPA, I mean, CISPA.

/Honestly
//SOPA, PIPA, CISPA
///Can we stop using cutesy acronyms for heinous laws? Give it a serious name
///Like Proposal 32-B, or something


Maybe call it Preparation H? Seems like a fit to me...

I'm just glad legislation voted on in congress isn't the end result of some America's Got Laws reality TV contest (yet).
 
2012-04-12 06:16:11 PM  
So, it is OK to steal someone's identity because, "cannot be physically obtained, it doesn't fit the legal description of a stolen good"?

:-D
 
2012-04-12 06:21:02 PM  
The judge has the semi-bogus argument in his opinion that since something can't be "placed in" commerce without having been "produced for" commerce, then the wording is vague and can't be enforced. Any rational reading of the rule recognizes that the "or" is related to the fact that something can be "produced for" but not "placed in" commerce. I hope the government appeals this since it will be overturned.

I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation... Actually, the judge noted that a different section of the EEA would apply, but for some reason, Aleynikov wasn't charged with that section:
The EEA contains two operative provisions. The first
8 section (18 U.S.C. § 1831(a)), which is not charged in the
9 indictment, applies to foreign espionage and is expressed
10 broadly: "Whoever, intending or knowing that the offense
11 will benefit any foreign government, foreign
12 instrumentality, or foreign agent, knowingly . . . without
13 authorization . . . downloads, uploads, . . . transmits,
14 . . . or conveys a trade secret" is guilty of a federal
15 offense, and may be imprisoned for up to 15 years. 18
16 U.S.C. § 1831(a).
17 Aleynikov, however, was charged with violating 18
18 U.S.C. § 1832...

Basically, I think the prosecutor screwed up there.


I don't completely disagree with you and think that the govt seems to have done a crappy job with the appeal, but the other section of the law the prosecution used and trial court convicted under, seems much to apply much more directly. The section you and the judge quote refer to foreign entities and agents and the company he was going to work for was as US company. i don't know what he appeals judge was trying to prove, except perhaps establish some new precedent, and I don't think it would be a stretch to think that the prosecution wasn't prepared for this particular line of reasoning.
 
2012-04-12 06:24:41 PM  
Well I'm glad that's settled.
 
2012-04-12 06:29:18 PM  
GAT_00: WhyteRaven74: GAT_00: That is a seriously dangerous precedent.

No, it just kicks it back to being a civil matter of copyright infringement. Which is all it should ever be.

But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.


As the court says, stealing and IP infringement are two separate things. You can steal a CD. You can not steal a digital file, or code.

It's a rather simple legal concept that the RIAA and MPAA have wanted to confuse people on for a long time. Stealing involves depriving someone of an object. Copying code or data does no such thing.

This is actually how it's supposed to work.

Hopefully next up they take a look at RIAA/MPAA math.
 
2012-04-12 06:33:05 PM  

mjjt: We are in the process of trying to reconfigure ownership ideas and laws that were formed before digital copies became possible.

The issue the court decided was that the owner wasn't dispossessed of the original.

While the record industry tries to cling to an outmoded idea of tangible assets, more sophisticated creatives have realized that the issue is not so black and white.

This is a wall in my lounge

[i40.tinypic.com image 640x479]

The original of the triple painting is called As I Opened Fire and resides in a public art gallery in Amsterdam.

I would say that the existence of this 'copy' in no way reduces the value of the real thing. Even if I sold the copy, it is so obviously fake that it doesn't reduce the value of the real thing.

To me, this is morally legit, in that nobody is being deprived of anything.


Which is funny as different runs of things meant to be reproduced like books, various forms of music albums, and posters sometimes vary greatly in monetary value between edition.
 
2012-04-12 06:34:56 PM  
Gleeman: Obligatory?

I prefer this one.

kr.typepad.com

// whoever thought up unskippable previews needs to be taken out back and shot.
 
2012-04-12 06:35:37 PM  

mjjt: We are in the process of trying to reconfigure ownership ideas and laws that were formed before digital copies became possible.

The issue the court decided was that the owner wasn't dispossessed of the original.

While the record industry tries to cling to an outmoded idea of tangible assets, more sophisticated creatives have realized that the issue is not so black and white.

This is a wall in my lounge

[i40.tinypic.com image 640x479]

The original of the triple painting is called As I Opened Fire and resides in a public art gallery in Amsterdam.

I would say that the existence of this 'copy' in no way reduces the value of the real thing. Even if I sold the copy, it is so obviously fake that it doesn't reduce the value of the real thing.

To me, this is morally legit, in that nobody is being deprived of anything.


The original was in Phoenix for a while. Went and saw it myself. Hand-painted half tone eh?
 
2012-04-12 06:35:40 PM  
Did they mention that is also a piss poor product because anybody *can* "steal" it? Or that trying to protect code with other code is like trying to keep a fish fresh by putting it inside of another fish? Binary. Whatever you want it to be™
 
2012-04-12 06:39:10 PM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.


Sounds like they are saying just because we copying the files, we are not stealing because they have not been deprived of the original.

Ahh so many torrents, building a 10TB disk array is looking like a good investment.
 
2012-04-12 06:40:04 PM  

MightyPez: Pedantry is for courts. We all know exactly what he was saying even if he wasn't using the correct words. Cool your jets.


I'm sorry, I wasn't even trying to direct the pedantry at you, but rather use it against his argument... I should've just replied directly to him instead of you... But, I just saw you accepting his flawed terminology and couldn't help myself... Yes, we all understood what he was implying, but words do have meanings, and what he was trying to pull off was a subtle trick of saying something perfectly technically correct, but meaning (and having everyone else understand that meaning) something completely different and incorrect... This sort of verbal trickery can only be challenged by pedantic enforcement of the meanings of the words used... You can't just say, "You're wrong" and leave it at that, because he can easily argue that he's completely correct, and back it up... You have to say, "You're technically correct in what you said, but that doesn't apply here; what you meant to say was [whatever], and that fails your claim"...

But, anyway... Sorry to have inadvertently misaimed the Pedant Cannon at you instead of the intended target...
 
2012-04-12 06:40:41 PM  

Herbie555: Once our common customers figured out what had been done, they stopped buying from the ODM. Although sadly not for reasons of good conduct - the customers figured out they were getting no meaningful tech support from a company that hadn't written a single line of code. That's one of the reasons our lost sales are so easy to calculate - we know exactly how many units were sold before the customers got wise. Note that they didn't pull the units from their plants, though. ;-)


If I may make a suggestion: any time any such customer contacts your company, offer them a deal: they can get full technical support from you, immunity from legal action for buying and/or possessing a pirated product, and in all ways be treated as if they had bought the product from you directly, and all they have to do is pay you a one-time fee that is at least thrice what they "saved" by getting it from the ODM, or twice the retail price, whichever is greater. Plus any standard support contract, of course.

Incentive. :-)


12349876: casual disregard: Herbie555: MightyPez: You made a bad argument. Don't call other people trolls for calling you on it. You wanted to call it "moral theft." How about we just prosecute copyright infringement under the laws we already have for it (which, by the way, are for more strict than laws against theft) rather than create a new "moral theft" law?

Reread my original post. I wasn't trying to "legislate morality", I was lamenting the fact that even the English language didn't really have a properly descriptive word for "getting stuff for free, even if nobody loses anything".

See my last post about copyright law - I would LOVE if copyright infringement could be properly prosecuted, but the Law has not yet caught up to the "value" of software. If you copyright a book or some other written work that can have a price fixed to it, that's one thing. Heck, even software that is "sold" as software can have a value affixed, albiet that's a bit more murky.

When shall copyright expire?

Should be 20 years.

Reality is they'll never let Mickey Mouse expire.


The whole purpose of copyright legislation in the past several decades has been to keep Steamboat Willie out of the Public Domain. Ironic indeed since that was itself a parody of a prior work by others, Steamboat Bill.
 
2012-04-12 06:41:03 PM  

GAT_00: Humean_Nature: WhyteRaven74: Of course if you haven't used it for commercial purposes, haven't sold it and some other things, that could be tricky depending on exactly what was done.

Exactly. If you're taking a closed-source piece of software and using it in your own homebrew programming for some other project, go nuts. But you can't use that code as the basis for your new game World of Snorecraft and try to sell it without Blizzard climbing straight up your ass.

Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?


No.

It means that if you do what you described, they can't charge you with theft. You can still be in violation of the copyright.

And for profit or not for profit is irrelevant.
 
2012-04-12 06:46:05 PM  

ensign_noname: Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.

Sounds like they are saying just because we copying the files, we are not stealing because they have not been deprived of the original.

Ahh so many torrents, building a 10TB disk array is looking like a good investment.


It's true, you're not stealing. But that's like saying punching a baby isn't stealing. True enough, but you're still going to go to jail.
 
2012-04-12 06:47:30 PM  

ZeroCorpse: CthulhuCalling: seadoo2006: pxsteel: If you take something that is not yours or you do not have permission from the owner to take - it is called stealing - why is this so hard to understand?

Because you didn't TAKE anything. Try reading the difference between 'take' and 'copy' in the dictionary, please.

[27.media.tumblr.com image 500x420]

But but but... I take a dump, but I'm actually GIVING something! I'm so confused.

I can actually explain this for you!

In the phrases "take a dump" or "take a whiz", the objects are actually verbs, not nouns, in the same way as "take a nap" or "take a break".

When the thing you are 'taking' is an action instead of a thing, then it works differently. You're taking an action, not leaving (or taking) an object.

So when you say "I'm going to take a dump", it's a lot of useless extra words. You could just as easily say "I'm going to dump", just like you could say "I'm going to nap" or "I'm going to whiz.", or "I'm going to break."

English is silly.


Now can you explain why its "the chicken pox", "the measles" or "the hepatitis". As in "that $5 hooker gave me the hepatitis" as opposed to a different disease such as "judging from the the amount of leakage coming out of every orifice, it appears that I've caught ebola".
 
2012-04-12 06:51:05 PM  
This is a good thing. I know people spend a lot of time on code, but it changes so much that something from 3 months ago is not useful in many places. having it be illegal opens the doors for companies to charge former employees with theft.
There are civil penalties for selling or having code anyway.
 
2012-04-12 06:56:42 PM  

Mock26: So, it is OK to steal someone's identity because, "cannot be physically obtained, it doesn't fit the legal description of a stolen good"?

:-D


There are separate laws covering that, separate from those that cover theft of physical goods.
 
2012-04-12 07:02:29 PM  

Julie Cochrane: Herbie555: namegoeshere: But by that argument, if I record myself playing stairway to heaven for my own enjoyment, write down a passage of my favorite book in my journal, or copy a painting to hang in my own livingroom, I am a moral thief.

I would strongly disagree.

If the defendant in this case had taken the time to code (from scratch) a software tool that had done the exact same thing as the software he copied, I wouldn't feel he'd done anything wrong - moral or otherwise.

Nobody codes "from scratch." Not unless they're stupid.

Everybody "steals" standard code, the classic example being search algorithms. Efficient programmers re-use as much code as possible.


WTF? Who the fark steals "search algorithms"? WTF does that even mean? If you're not using Lucene or a Google appliance, you're a farking moron.
 
2012-04-12 07:05:53 PM  

MugzyBrown: Yeah, this is what I meant. If you steal it, break no other laws, and then at no point do you release it or try to profit from it, that's legal now?

Why should it be illegal? Stealing code does not affect anybody else's property or life.

It's like saying performing a cover song should be illegal.


ensign_noname: Don't Troll Me Bro!: I'm no lawyer, but after reading that it seems that they are denying the existence of IP.

Sounds like they are saying just because we copying the files, we are not stealing because they have not been deprived of the original.

Ahh so many torrents, building a 10TB disk array is looking like a good investment.


So, if I write a book on Word that I intend to sell, and someone copies it from my hard drive (sans authorization), publishes it, etc, this is not depriving me of something?
 
2012-04-12 07:06:04 PM  

Satanic_Hamster:
What the court is saying:
You download/pirate a copy of Mass Effect 3 and play it. Maybe email it to a few people.

You can still be sued in a civil court for piracy. But you can NOT be charged *criminally* by the *government* and go to *jail* for it.


You can still go to jail for up to 5 years under the NET act, if you mail it to enough people that you distribute $1000 worth of retail value within a period of 180 days. There are some acts of copyright infringement that are criminal offenses, even if you don't do so for commercial gain.
 
2012-04-12 07:06:40 PM  

Herbie555: Bad_Seed: Herbie555: the firmware is worthless without the hardware

Yet you still want damages because somebody copied your worthless firmware.

Well played.


I feel for ya. You're not going to make any headway with the average Farker. Most are just poking your ribs, trolling you, and the rest, I have no idea what the fark they do, but I seriously think most of them are actually the basement-dwelling stereotype personified.
 
2012-04-12 07:10:34 PM  

Leeds: void main ( void )
{

long loop_variable;

for(loop_variable = 0; loop_variable {
printf("What the fark, 2nd Circuit Appeals Court??? \n");
}

}

}


Studying for a C++ exam and saw this; was afraid I'd finally cracked.

/Which I suppose is the first step to becoming a programmer
 
2012-04-12 07:12:45 PM  
I'm a copyright owner, so I'm getting a kick out of these replies.
 
2012-04-12 07:13:15 PM  

rev. dave: This is a good thing. I know people spend a lot of time on code, but it changes so much that something from 3 months ago is not useful in many places. having it be illegal opens the doors for companies to charge former employees with theft.
There are civil penalties for selling or having code anyway.


It is illegal, and you could still go to jail for copying your employer's code and bringing it to a new employer or using it commercially. It's just not "theft".

Cripes. As if the FUD on the whole "it's theft! no, it's piracy!" wasn't already bad enough, this is going to make it worse. A bunch of people will start trading torrents willy-nilly and when they get sued, claim they read that it wasn't theft so they're fine.
 
2012-04-12 07:15:24 PM  

Theaetetus: rev. dave: This is a good thing. I know people spend a lot of time on code, but it changes so much that something from 3 months ago is not useful in many places. having it be illegal opens the doors for companies to charge former employees with theft.
There are civil penalties for selling or having code anyway.

It is illegal, and you could still go to jail for copying your employer's code and bringing it to a new employer or using it commercially. It's just not "theft".

Cripes. As if the FUD on the whole "it's theft! no, it's piracy!" wasn't already bad enough, this is going to make it worse. A bunch of people will start trading torrents willy-nilly and when they get sued, claim they read that it wasn't theft so they're fine.


The problem is that organizations like RIAA took the copyright argument over a cliff with their ridiculous claims of loss.
 
2012-04-12 07:16:13 PM  

ds_4815: Leeds: void main ( void )
{

long loop_variable;

for(loop_variable = 0; loop_variable {
printf("What the fark, 2nd Circuit Appeals Court??? \n");
}

}

}

Studying for a C++ exam and saw this; was afraid I'd finally cracked.

/Which I suppose is the first step to becoming a programmer


Yeah, Fark tosses tabs (and I think multiple blank lines) and the less than symbol gets interpreted as a tag. So code gets totally farked.

/Have written approx 3000 lines of C++ code in the last 2 days.
//Now off to write the design doc for the code I just wrote.
//Whoever came up with virtual inheritance, I want to thank you and then punch you in the face.
 
2012-04-12 07:18:19 PM  
The "intellectual property" industry didn't exist 150 years ago.
There is no reason to believe it needs to exist 50 years from now.
 
2012-04-12 07:19:54 PM  
If this is the case...

What constitutes "computer code"? I'd argue that media files are indeed computer code, as they contain instructions that tell the computer what to do, or in the case of media files, display/convert to audio.

In that case, RIAA/MPAA have a few problems..
 
2012-04-12 07:20:40 PM  

Shazam999: Theaetetus: rev. dave: This is a good thing. I know people spend a lot of time on code, but it changes so much that something from 3 months ago is not useful in many places. having it be illegal opens the doors for companies to charge former employees with theft.
There are civil penalties for selling or having code anyway.

It is illegal, and you could still go to jail for copying your employer's code and bringing it to a new employer or using it commercially. It's just not "theft".

Cripes. As if the FUD on the whole "it's theft! no, it's piracy!" wasn't already bad enough, this is going to make it worse. A bunch of people will start trading torrents willy-nilly and when they get sued, claim they read that it wasn't theft so they're fine.

The problem is that organizations like RIAA took the copyright argument over a cliff with their ridiculous claims of loss.


Not to mention their whole "you wouldn't steal a car, would you?" propaganda.

I think that's the craziest part about this, though... You go digging through Slashdot or Fark threads about copyright infringement, and you find a ton of people saying "it's not theft! It's copyright infringement! Anyone calling it theft is a moran!"
Then this decision comes out saying "it's not theft (it's copyright infringement)," and those very same Slashdotters and Farkers are suddenly saying "durr, software is now free forever!!"
I mean, holy cripes... it's like they believe that because they were right once, they get to shove the whole topic over the Cliffs of Retarded.
 
jes
2012-04-12 07:22:56 PM  
This sort of puts everything into the Creative Commons' most strict license, i.e. copying is ok so long as no economic exploitation is taking place.
However, I see one major problem with this: this assumes that a copy has no value, that is, no economic value.
The value of "intellectual property", which is to say music or films or software (all of which are easily copyable in digital format) is accessed by the user when using it, and it provides its value that way. There is an exchange rate, should someone buy it initially, which is where the monetary value is prescribed. When listened to or viewed or whatever, the intrinsic value is still present, regardless of whether the version is an original or copy. But somehow there is no longer a value-exchange rate with money.
Money itself, paper money especially, is only valuable by a social contract - we agree on its value.
The value of music, film, software, is much more intrinsic, but somehow, even though that value is being accessed in the pirated versions, the pirates are willing to believe that it is valueless monetarily simply by being a copy - breaking another social contract.

I see a hypocrisy here: a pirate agrees on the cultural value of these items and uses them as such, but once accessed somehow disbelieves that there is a monetary value. This would be like taking somebody's currency and then claiming that it is only paper and therefore valueless, and then spending it!
 
2012-04-12 07:22:57 PM  

jso2897: The "intellectual property" industry didn't exist 150 years ago.
There is no reason to believe it needs to exist 50 years from now.


The "intellectual property" industry has existed for almost two thousand years, and patents and copyrights have existed for almost 500. They were so important, in fact, that it's one of the few powers explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution, and the year after signing it, they were working on this country's Copyright Act and Patent Act. First U.S. patent was granted in 1790, dude.
 
2012-04-12 07:24:24 PM  

Sean M: If this is the case...

What constitutes "computer code"? I'd argue that media files are indeed computer code, as they contain instructions that tell the computer what to do, or in the case of media files, display/convert to audio.


Certainly.

In that case, RIAA/MPAA have a few problems..

Only if they try to get prosecutors to file charges for theft when they're still in possession of the originals.

Honestly, this decision doesn't change anything and just confirms what we've been saying for years: copyright infringement isn't the same as stealing a car.
 
2012-04-12 07:25:35 PM  

Mock26: So, it is OK to steal someone's identity because, "cannot be physically obtained, it doesn't fit the legal description of a stolen good"?

:-D


Inasmuch as the identity has been devalued (loss of credit, possible criminal action), yes, there is a potential theft component in identity appropriation.

But the larger point is that something can be a crime even if it's not theft.
 
2012-04-12 07:27:37 PM  

Theaetetus: Shazam999: Theaetetus: rev. dave: This is a good thing. I know people spend a lot of time on code, but it changes so much that something from 3 months ago is not useful in many places. having it be illegal opens the doors for companies to charge former employees with theft.
There are civil penalties for selling or having code anyway.

It is illegal, and you could still go to jail for copying your employer's code and bringing it to a new employer or using it commercially. It's just not "theft".

Cripes. As if the FUD on the whole "it's theft! no, it's piracy!" wasn't already bad enough, this is going to make it worse. A bunch of people will start trading torrents willy-nilly and when they get sued, claim they read that it wasn't theft so they're fine.

The problem is that organizations like RIAA took the copyright argument over a cliff with their ridiculous claims of loss.

Not to mention their whole "you wouldn't steal a car, would you?" propaganda.

I think that's the craziest part about this, though... You go digging through Slashdot or Fark threads about copyright infringement, and you find a ton of people saying "it's not theft! It's copyright infringement! Anyone calling it theft is a moran!"
Then this decision comes out saying "it's not theft (it's copyright infringement)," and those very same Slashdotters and Farkers are suddenly saying "durr, software is now free forever!!"
I mean, holy cripes... it's like they believe that because they were right once, they get to shove the whole topic over the Cliffs of Retarded.


Yeah, it's funny, ain't it? They're just trying to justify their behaviour, I guess. Better to pretend to be noble than confess to be a thief?
 
2012-04-12 07:28:01 PM  
main()
{
printf("hello, world\n");
}

I've got copyright on this, biatches.
 
2012-04-12 07:28:35 PM  

tricycleracer: lordargent: tricycleracer : Oops, you just stole physical property.

Exactly, but you also stole the contents of that drive.

IE, it's not just the drives that you're dinged for, it's also the software on those drives since they are being physically stolen.

If you have the sole copy, sure. No one here is debating that.

If I sneak into Atlantic Records with an electromagnet and wipe out all the Ray Charles masters, no one will argue that I didn't commit a criminal act.


I'm late to the party, so I'm not sure if anyone has posted this one yet

But it's immediately what I thought of upon reading your post.
 
2012-04-12 07:28:35 PM  

Shazam999:
Yeah, it's funny, ain't it? They're just trying to justify their behaviour, I guess. Better to pretend to be noble than confess to be a thief an infringer?


;)
 
2012-04-12 07:31:14 PM  

Dude O Matic 5000: mjjt: We are in the process of trying to reconfigure ownership ideas and laws that were formed before digital copies became possible.

The issue the court decided was that the owner wasn't dispossessed of the original.

While the record industry tries to cling to an outmoded idea of tangible assets, more sophisticated creatives have realized that the issue is not so black and white.

This is a wall in my lounge

[i40.tinypic.com image 640x479]

The original of the triple painting is called As I Opened Fire and resides in a public art gallery in Amsterdam.

I would say that the existence of this 'copy' in no way reduces the value of the real thing. Even if I sold the copy, it is so obviously fake that it doesn't reduce the value of the real thing.

To me, this is morally legit, in that nobody is being deprived of anything.

The original was in Phoenix for a while. Went and saw it myself. Hand-painted half tone eh?


House paint acryllic. Total absence of ben-day dots.
 
2012-04-12 07:37:27 PM  

MightyPez: Herbie555: I understand the arguments, and that because a copy of code doesn't deprive the "owner" of it's use, it can't really be stolen, but I still wish to hell that our legal system (and our language, for that matter) had the concept of a moral theft.

Yeah. Legislating morality. That always works out so well.


How do you legislate morality when the "legislature" is immoral?
 
2012-04-12 07:38:32 PM  

Begoggle: main()
{
printf("hello, world\n");
}

I've got copyright on this, biatches.


#include "stdio.h"

Yes, but I have copyright on this, so good luck getting it to compile without violating my copyright.
 
2012-04-12 07:43:49 PM  

ThreadSinger: So, if I write a book on Word that I intend to sell, and someone copies it from my hard drive (sans authorization), publishes it, etc, this is not depriving me of something?


That is criminal copyright infringement. Somebody has already listed the specific law, but the general rule is: if it's designed for commercial use, and if you use it for commercial use, it's criminal copyright infringement. It's also criminal infringement if you give away more than $1000 worth of it.

So if you download a song and listen to it, that's civil. If you download a song and allow others to upload it, it's criminal.

If the code is in-house (so you can't buy it at any price), and you don't try to sell or distribute it, then it's not theft or criminal copyright infringement. That's all this court decided. If he tries to sell it, then it's criminal copyright infringement, and probably fraud.
 
2012-04-12 07:44:34 PM  
Because intellectual property laws, and ideas about what is considered "theft", pretty much every employer in the world makes you sign a non-disclosure agreement, or at least a contract stating that whatever you invent under their roof is theirs.

This company completely screwed themselves if they didn't take those steps.
 
2012-04-12 07:47:09 PM  

TyrantII: GAT_00: WhyteRaven74: GAT_00: That is a seriously dangerous precedent.

No, it just kicks it back to being a civil matter of copyright infringement. Which is all it should ever be.

But it says that stealing it isn't a crime. So, if you were to steal the entire code for whatever program, but break no other laws and attempt to make no profit from it, then you haven't committed a crime. Is that what it says, because that's how I read it.

As the court says, stealing and IP infringement are two separate things. You can steal a CD. You can not steal a digital file, or code.

It's a rather simple legal concept that the RIAA and MPAA have wanted to confuse people on for a long time. Stealing involves depriving someone of an object. Copying code or data does no such thing.

This is actually how it's supposed to work.

Hopefully next up they take a look at RIAA/MPAA math.


If someone copies a program for personal use instead of buying the program then they are depriving the manufacturer of income.
 
2012-04-12 07:47:29 PM  

Theaetetus: It is illegal, and you could still go to jail for copying your employer's code and bringing it to a new employer or using it commercially. It's just not "theft".


The holding is actually even narrower than that. The court only determined that it is not "theft" under the National Stolen Property Act. This holding might also influence the interpretation of other laws, but that most likely depends on how the other law is worded and what jurisdiction the lower court is in (i.e. if it is directly under that appeals court or not).
 
2012-04-12 07:48:18 PM  

j__z: Anybody have an actual copy of the GS computer code?


I think I have the critical section:

gsFunds += customerFunds;
customerFunds = 0;
 
2012-04-12 07:49:38 PM  
I just came across this and I had to post it:

Copyright This
by Scott Bonds

"I decided to copyright my DNATM. I mentioned this to my parents, and they produced a copy of the End User License Agreement (EULA) that I signed for my DNA when I was just a few seconds ol