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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Legally speaking: is information property?

This column will discuss why the law has traditionally resisted characterizing information as the sort of thing that can be private property, and will speculate about why judges may be more receptive nowadays to assertions that information should be treated as property. This new attitude is illustrated by a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision which upheld criminal convictions based solely on the misappropriation of information which the Court found to be the property of one of the defendants' employers.

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