Court Rules It’s Legal to Use Hacked Codes…If You’re GE

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A federal appeals court has ruled it was okay for General Electric to use computer software copyrighted by another company even though it hacked its way into the protected technology. The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed by MGE UPS Systems, manufacturer of uninterruptible power supply machines used by Power Maintenance International (PMI), which GE bought in 2001. When PMI fixed its machines, it used information provided by hackers to access the MGE technology, instead of utilizing an external hardware security key called a “dongle.” Judge Emilio Garza ruled: “Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the (Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s) anti-circumvention provision.”

 
MGE asserted that GE used the software in dispute even after a judge ordered GE not to in August 2005. A jury awarded MGE more than $4.6 million in damages for misappropriation of trade secrets and copyright infringement, but the judge dismissed the judgment.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
MGE UPS Systems v. GE (U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit) (pdf)

Comments

Don 9 years ago
I read the decision, and it affirmed the permanent injunction against GE/PMI using the MGE software and trade secrets. So how can you say the "court has ruled it was okay for General Electric to use computer software copyrighted by another company"?

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