The David LaMacchia Case


This is a compilation of articles, legal documents, and newsgroup postings pertaining to the software piracy case of David LaMacchia, an MIT student who allegedly used university hardware to distribute commercial software over the Internet, which raises important issues about the liability of system operators and the scope of computer crime and copyright laws.


Chronological Index

In April 1994, MIT junior David LaMacchia was indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, based on the accusation that he had modified an Athena workstation to allow people on the network to use it to download copyrighted software without paying. The case received national notoriety, the US Attorney in Boston calling it the largest incident of software piracy ever. In December 1994, the charges against LaMacchia were dismissed, with the judge ruling that copyright infringement can not be prosecuted under the wire fraud statute. The case raises important issues about liability of system operators and about the scope of computer crime and copyright laws.

Source documents

News articles and reactions

Here are some of the news articles on the case, and some of the reactions on network newsgroups:

Anonymous. . The David LaMacchia Case. Online Ethics Center. DOI:.