The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed Sergey Aleynikov’s conviction for statutory theft of source code from Goldman Sachs, stating:
“Although “[t]he infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone[,] . . . he does not assume physical control over the copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use.” Id. at 217. 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 NSPA.”
How does this affect the value of trade secrets? Presumably, it doesn’t. Aleynikov still would face sanctions for breach of the contractual confidentiality relationship he had with Goldman.