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  1. Default Code is not physical property

    This means:

    - The BMS source code downloaded from an open server was legal.
    - Any person that leaves their server open with critical files needs to have their heads checked.

  2. Default Re: Code is not physical property

    I thought this would be about Oracle vs Google.

  3. Default Re: Code is not physical property

    Stupid back button ate my reply. Read the court's decision if you're interested. It's actually a lot more narrow than you might think. Under one specific (old) law that wasn't written to involve code or intellectual property, the court is saying the accused was not guilty of theft. I don't even think it would be double jeopardy for him to be indicted on charges from a more relevant law, since he'd be tried for a different crime.

    Although regarding the internal reasoning of this case, I think the espionage charge should've stuck. Wickard v filburn craps all over the idea that something being used internally isn't interstate commerce. I don't agree with it, but that's the precedent.

    The reason why I wanted to post was to say how important this realm of legal jurisprudence is and will be. A lot of the major problems faced by the internet stem from weird or outright bad precedent/legislation regarding intellectual property. If we as people/courts/legislators can sort that out, things like patent trolling and file sharing lawsuits could be a thing of the past.

    Pursuant to this case, should code be patented or copyrighted? I don't know the answer, but I can tell you preserving code as a trade secret contributed to Goldman effectively losing this case.

  4. Default Re: Code is not physical property

    I saw this but decided against posting it, since I didn't really do any research on it beforehand. Nevertheless, this is a pretty important precedent, I just hope people don't take advantage of it...I can see self-entitled pirates flooding the courts because they think they have a real chance of winning (and maybe even do, now).

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    Default Re: Code is not physical property

    What pirates have to do with OPEN source code? None.

  6. Default Re: Code is not physical property

    Thus the "because they think" part.

    And I added the "and maybe they do" because, you never know, our justice system is pretty pineappleed up sometimes, and judges are usually old men so they have no clue how to technology.

  7. Default Re: Code is not physical property

    The problem with patenting or copyrighting code is that copy-pasting already optimized pieces of code is common practice for building your program. Having to do everything from scratch each time while having to make small changes so it doesn't step into a patent would be annoying and a hindrance to the work of programmers.

  8. Default Re: Code is not physical property

    Sure, but making it possible or convenient to copyright code need not involve presuming all code is copyrighted. That's actually a relatively recent feature of copyrighting media. It didn't use to be that if you wrote a book you had an assumed copyright to it, you had to register for one.

    And at least in this case, the code in question wasn't freely available to be copied. My comment was more about comparative systems of intellectual property rather than protected versus not.

    So to rephrase, if you want intellectual property over code, what is the best way for society to enable that?

  9. Default Re: Code is not physical property

    This statement is somwhat inaccurate depending on how you scale 'recently'.
    The Berne Convention established automatic copyright in 1886.
    The US has been part of the convention since 1988. From 1790 to 1988 the US would've been under the Copyright Act of 1790, which did require registration, but that was over 20 years ago and not recent by the standards of most people, only recent in comparison to the ~200 preceeding years. More accurate to say 'for the majority of copyright history in the U.S.' than 'recent'.

    And of course it's patently untrue for the people who've been in the Berne Convention since day 1 who've had 'assumed copyright' as a de facto standard for over a century and a quarter.

  10. Default Re: Code is not physical property

    I scale it 'relatively'. Over the course of copyright law in the US, it is a relatively recent development that copyright is automatically assumed over written works (of various kinds) rather than explicitly registered for. It's part of the reason why we've been so slovenly to address the impact on machine code - for most of the history of intellectual property over code, it has been this "new" copyright regime. With utterly inadequate analysis as to whether it's at all appropriate.



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