The InJustice Of It All

Stealing software the easy way

With one startling exception, it was a routine case of industrial hanky-panky. The defendant, said Judge George Bason Jr. of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Washington, was guilty of stealing a computer program developed by a private company and driving the firm out of business. In a blistering denunciation, Bason accused the defendant of "trickery, fraud and deceit." Nothing terribly unusual there -- except that the defendant was the U.S. Department of Justice.

The bizarre story began five years ago, when Justice granted a $10 million contract to Inslaw, a Washington-based software company, to adapt its Promis computer program for use...

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