Comments on: Aleynikov goes free http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: Christofurio http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-37890 Sat, 14 Apr 2012 22:50:01 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-37890 The court actually issued its opinion in this matter on April 11:

Jacobs said that the language of the statute refers to products that have been “produced for or placed in interstate or foreign commerce….”. This, then, includes two sorts of product, both with a limited meaning, those that have “already been introduced into [placed in] the stream of commerce” on the one hand and on the other hand to those that “are still being developed or readied” [produced for] such placement. The words evoke two distinct sets of products with a sequential relationship to one another, which satisfies well-established rules of statutory construction.

Aleynikov’s work was specifically in the development of “infrastructure programs that facilitate the flow of information throughout the trading system and monitor the system’s performance.” That trading system was created for the sake of engaging in commerce without regard to state or national lines. But the infrastructure of that system does not thereby satisfy the language “produced for or placed in….”

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By: PaulaProduct http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36290 Thu, 23 Feb 2012 18:10:24 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36290 Felix – I share at least some of your concern about overreacting here, but your characterization of the Economic Espionage Act as being intended to apply only to stealing secrets that affect national security omits an important part of that law. Sure, there is one part that addresses the of trade secrets for the benefit of states, state actors, and state enterprises. But there’s another, completely separate part of that law that criminalizes theft of trade secrets for economic advantage – the very sort of conduct you’re saying happened here. The prosecutors here may have overreached in attempting to pin such a charge on Aleynikov, but that law has been on the books for more than a decade, and many states also have criminal sanctions for trade secret theft as well. If there is a flaw with this case, it’s not that the EEA was never meant to punish solely economic crimes. Clearly it was. One can, of course, doubt the wisdom of criminalizing that behavior is a good idea, and take issue with prosecutors for charging under this law in this particular case, but as a general matter, that’s what US law says.

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By: Curmudgeon http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36252 Wed, 22 Feb 2012 20:29:41 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36252 Danny, you may be right about that. While in general I know what coders make around the US, I simply have no feel about what happens in the finance industry. And while I would love to get a consulting/employment offer at three times my current income, I would be wondering who I would have to kill.

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By: Danny_Black http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36231 Wed, 22 Feb 2012 06:24:50 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36231 Curmudgeon, I was simply expressing that fact as a complete non-expert talking to someone who is in that field you would almost certainly know better than me.

I wasn’t a salesman but the value that salesman has is his/her relationships not the actual names – which are typically the same people the company he is going to are already selling to. In this case, judging by his salary bracket, the guy was a coder not a quant or a developer of the algos themselves. As such what he could take with him in his head was some of the pitfalls or shortcuts that the new company could avoid or take in building a similar system and that experience would be his to give. However, I doubt writing fast market data handler code is worth 1.2million USD and debugged reading to go code is likely to be more likely what they were paying for.

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By: Curmudgeon http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36200 Tue, 21 Feb 2012 13:54:41 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36200 Danny, I wasn’t criticizing. In giving more thought to who owns the code they write, it’s pretty clear in law that your employer does, but I can easily see someone saying that they want copies to demonstrate their ability or experience to future employers. I developed a fledgling commercial software product as a university professor. It ultimately failed, but if it succeeded, it might have been reasonable for my university to claim both credit and profit.

You are/were in finance. If you were a salesman, you might think that you had some level of right to your client list, which you developed and succeeded with over a period of years. Your employer likely thinks it owns your client list, and you have no rights to it after you leave.

In one instance I was at a software company where an employee quit and attempted to download an entire product source tree onto a CD before leaving. That was pretty clearly criminal theft. What if he had taken only the code he had written? It is still theft, but you would have difficulty demonstrating criminal intent.

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By: Danny_Black http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36198 Tue, 21 Feb 2012 13:33:57 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36198 Curmudgeon, I defer to your greater expertise on the matter….

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By: Curmudgeon http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36195 Tue, 21 Feb 2012 11:37:47 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36195 @Danny, any license that is recognized as open source by the Open Source Initiative requires that any redistribution include in source form any additional code that is statically linked to the open source (the definition of statically linked is fuzzy, and to my knowledge has never been tested in court). Last I checked, there were almost 60 such licenses.

Software groups that intend to redistribute (ie, software vendors, such as those I have worked for) typically do a very good job at keeping open source separate from proprietary code.

In my experience, many organizations that use open source internally only, without intending to redistribute, don’t do a very good job of this. In fact, sometimes individual developers bring in open source code without telling anyone in order to get a head start on a development effort.

I have no knowledge or opinion of what might have happened at GS. I do find it difficult to believe that Aleynikov would have taken it upon himself to return open source code used in his job back to the community. Sometimes, however, developers think of code they have written as “theirs”, to use either as a part of their demonstrated expertise, or to reuse in future projects.

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By: Danny_Black http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36188 Tue, 21 Feb 2012 07:01:08 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36188 KenG_CA, not a developer so am quite possibly talking rubbish but from recollection only one licence – GPL – requires that if you redistribute the programe in executeable form then you have to give the code too and most commercial organisations prevent their developers even looking at said code in case they “contaminate” the commercial code, let alone embed that code for exactly this reason. It is exactly because of that I don’t believe he was posting open-source code.

I haven’t seen any evidence that the government simply took GS word for it and unfortunately we don’t have the reason the conviction was overturned but the way it reads it is over the applicability of the particular law that the prosecutor chose to use.

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By: KenG_CA http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36185 Tue, 21 Feb 2012 06:24:50 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36185 Some open source licenses require you to provide modifications you make to the original source back to the public. It’s possible he didn’t finish doing that, and didn’t expect Goldman to follow though on posting the code.

So does the government prosecute with such zeal every complaint made by private citizens? I think not. Also, you usually have to provide evidence that what was taken was of material value. My point is that the government shouldn’t just take Goldman’s word that they were wronged, without providing evidence. Is there any public record of the code in question? The engineer’s claim that the code was open source could be very easily verified or debunked.

If the engineer violated his agreement by taking code with him, it’s a civil case. The government turned it into a criminal case, and tried to use statutes that were not applicable.

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By: cnhedge http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/17/aleynikov-goes-free/comment-page-1/#comment-36183 Tue, 21 Feb 2012 05:26:39 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12231#comment-36183 goldman is truly invincible.

http://www.cnhedge.com

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