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US Court: Code isn't property, therefore it can't be stolen

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New York's Second Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that computer code cannot be stolen after acquitting former Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov. He'd been charged with property theft and economic espionage which carried an eight year prison sentence, but left court a free man after serving just a year of his term. The case hinged upon the definition of both property and economic espionage, and the court found that code, being an intangible, couldn't be property that's capable of being stolen within the definition of the statute -- affirming a state of affairs that's been in place since the British case of Oxford v Moss from 1979. Just as a warning: the Judges advised Congress to amend the relevant legislation in order to prevent thefts of this nature in the future, so we'd hold back on any big data-heists you've got planned.

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