Source Code Theft is not a Criminal Offense
A court has found that source code theft is not theft of property per se, and therefore a criminal defendant has escaped prosecution. This may go nowhere ultimately, but it’s an interesting step in the development of software-related intellectual property.
An American court has ruled that software can’t be regarded as property that may be stolen. The ruling in question was delivered in the case of Sergey Aleynikov, a Goldman Sachs programmer. He was accused of downloading source code for the investment company’s high-speed trading system from the company’s servers. Local media reports say that Aleynikov was wrongly charged with theft of property since the code wasn’t a physical object and therefore the defendant didn’t gain control of anything when he downloaded it.