Bitcoin Forum

Bitcoin => Legal => Topic started by: CharlieContent on October 10, 2012, 04:07:55 AM



Title: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on October 10, 2012, 04:07:55 AM
If I somehow gain unauthorized access to your wallet.dat, I can be arrested for computer crimes.

But suppose I somehow deceive you into transferring the coins to me yourself.

In the eyes of the law, have I committed a crime?

Personally I think that in most countries, if you reported it to the police, there is nothing they could do. However I am not a lawyer so I am interested to hear what some of the more legally knowledgeable people here think.

I know of one country where I think it would be a crime. South Korea has a "virtual crime" unit, and presumably virtual crime laws. This was set up to prosecute people who steal items and in-game currency in MMORPGs and similar games and I believe that many cases have come to court, although it's not regarded as a particularly serious crime.

There are also two countries where it may be a crime. In Japan a young man was arrested for "virtual mugging" in a game called Lineage 2. A Dutch teenager was also arrested for stealing virtual furniture in a visual chat environment called Habbo Hotel. However I can't find any information as to whether either of these arrests lead to prosecution and conviction. After the Dutch arrest a spokesperson for the company which developed Habbo Hotel said "It is theft because the items were bought with real money." So perhaps in Holland it is only illegal to steal coins which have been purchased and not mined.

What do you all think?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on October 10, 2012, 04:26:11 AM
Of course stealing bitcoins is illegal.

Taking something that does not belong to you by force or by fraud is one of the things governments were put in place to stop.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on October 10, 2012, 06:11:09 AM
Of course stealing bitcoins is illegal.

Which jurisdiction are you referring to?  Can you reference a law, statute or decision that can back up this assertion?

You seem very sure, but I am quite sure that it is a far more complicated matter than your answer suggests.

In China, Qiu Chengwei was sentenced to life in prison after stabbing and killing fellow The Legend of Mir 3 gamer Zhu Caoyuan. In the game Qiu had lent Zhu a powerful sword (a "dragon sabre"), which Zhu then went on to sell on eBay for 7,200 Yuan (about £473 or US$870). With no Chinese laws covering the online dispute, there was nothing the police could do.

The sword is a virtual item, created out of nothingness, which trades for a significant sum on the open market. Even though the item was worth a lot of money, the theft and subsequent sale was not an illegal act.  Is a Bitcoin really substantially different in the eyes of the law?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Puppet on October 10, 2012, 07:23:12 AM
I suspect theft of bitcoins will be hard to demonstrate, although most jurisdictions do have a concept of intangible property, and unless china does not, I dont see why it wouldnt have applied to that game sword.

In most cases however, assuming you willingly sent your coins, so the "theft" isnt a result from someone hacking your PC (in which case other laws would apply), then fraud would likely be easier to prove. From wiki:

In the United States, common law recognizes nine elements constituting fraud:[8][9]

a representation of an existing fact;
its materiality;
its falsity;
the speaker's knowledge of its falsity;
the speaker's intent that it shall be acted upon by the plaintiff;
the plaintiff's ignorance of its falsity;
the plaintiff's reliance on the truth of the representation;
the plaintiff's right to rely upon it; and
consequent damages suffered by the plaintiff.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on October 10, 2012, 09:38:56 AM
I suspect theft of bitcoins will be hard to demonstrate, although most jurisdictions do have a concept of intangible property, and unless china does not, I dont see why it wouldnt have applied to that game sword.

In most jurisdictions, intangible property is things like copyright, patents, trademarks, brands and other intellectual property. While these are universally recognized as own-able properties, it's reasonable to say that none of these can be stolen in the same way as a Bitcoin. Intangible property is more a thing to be misused, or infringed upon. I can steal a Bitcoin and remove it from circulation, but I can't steal the Coca Cola logo and remove it from circulation.

From a semantic point of view, Bitcoins are of course intangible, but from a legal point of view I think they have little in common with what is usually defined as intangible property.





Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: greyhawk on October 10, 2012, 09:49:45 AM
Ok, most of you don't know this, because they are either too young or have never worked a day in their lives. But in Europe before we had the Euro, we had another currency in addition to national currencies. That was the ECU, a digital, virtual currency extensively used for commercial and bank purposes across national borders within the EU. Stealing someone's ECU was of course illegal.

Bitcoin is the same thing.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: lonelyminer (Peter Šurda) on October 10, 2012, 10:04:30 AM
If you convince someone to transfer Bitcoins to you while misrepresenting the nature of the transaction to the other party, this can be a violation of contract. It's not necessarily theft from a legal perspective but you can sue him for a contract violation.

If physical force is used, it's even easier. There have been several cases already where people were coerced to transfer virtual currencies (in one case they were threatened with a knife), and the court decided against the violator.

Property rights in Bitcoin are not necessary (indeed that would create contradictions just like any other IP rights). As long as there are property rights in media storing private keys and contracts are enforceable, there are no fundamental issues. The real issue seems to be how to find the perpetrator if something happens, however fiddling around with property rights definition does not fix that.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on October 10, 2012, 02:03:55 PM
Ok, most of you don't know this, because they are either too young or have never worked a day in their lives. But in Europe before we had the Euro, we had another currency in addition to national currencies. That was the ECU, a digital, virtual currency extensively used for commercial and bank purposes across national borders within the EU. Stealing someone's ECU was of course illegal.

Bitcoin is the same thing.

The ECU wasn't a currency. It was a measurement of the valuation of a basket of currencies, to be used as an accounting unit. As such it wasn't possible to steal "an ECU". You could steal currency to the value of an ECU or number of ECUs, but not an ECU its self.

Bitcoin is not the same thing, in countless different ways.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on October 10, 2012, 07:18:46 PM
Of course stealing bitcoins is illegal.

Which jurisdiction are you referring to?  Can you reference a law, statute or decision that can back up this assertion?

You seem very sure, but I am quite sure that it is a far more complicated matter than your answer suggests.

How about this question: Is stealing bread illegal?

I would answer: Of course stealing bread is illegal.

You: "In what jurisdiction? Can you reference a law?

Me: "WFT man, everybody knows its illegal to steal stuff."

I would hope that laws would be written to cover theft of property, the law does not have to name every possible item that could possibly be stolen.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on October 10, 2012, 09:30:39 PM
How about this question: Is stealing bread illegal?

Yes.

I would answer: Of course stealing bread is illegal.

Yep, I'm with you.

You: "In what jurisdiction? Can you reference a law?

It wouldn't take long to dig that out. People have been prosecuted for stealing bread many times i'd imagine. However there aren't any instances of people being prosecuted for stealing Bitcoins, so you are making an unproven assertion.

Me: "WFT man, everybody knows its illegal to steal stuff."

It's not always illegal to steal stuff. Check out the post I made earlier in the thread about that sword incident in China. Legal theft in action - and it's a very similar thing to Bitcoin.

I would hope that laws would be written to cover theft of property, the law does not have to name every possible item that could possibly be stolen.

Well laws are mostly pretty old, especially ones which deal with fundamental crimes such as theft. Here in the UK the Theft Act was written in 1968, when the idea of an item existing purely in the virtual world was science fiction. There were electronic funds transfers though, but those transfers were backed by hard currency somewhere or other. Bitcoin is backed by nothing. You can't take it out of the bank, it is purely a virtual item. To expect people to legislate for something like this back in 1968 is asking too much.

No laws name every possible item or have to, but usually they name one (or both) of two main types of legally defined property: tangible property, and intangible property. Tangible property is the stuff you can hold in your hand, like bread, or money (even if you never actually see the cash money and it just goes from bank to card to another bank etc, it still technically exists, it's in a vault, and you can go and get it whenever you want.)  Intangible property is intellectual property, like the copyright to a film.

Things can be both. Like if you buy an old master painting, generally the right to reproduce prints comes with it. But things can't be neither...or they are free for the taking.

Which category does a Bitcoin come under? I would argue that it is neither a tangible asset nor intellectual property. So, legally, it may not even be property at all, and therefore criminal charges can't be brought against Bitcoin thieves.

In the law, there are very few "of courses" If there was, we wouldn't need laywers.







Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: markm on October 12, 2012, 07:08:11 AM
If bitcoin is not property, it cannot be owned.

If it cannot be owned, obviously I do not own any.

If I do not own any, obviously I do not owe any taxes on it.

Thanks for solving the tax problem for bitcoins! :)

-MarkM-


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: justusranvier on October 12, 2012, 02:51:02 PM
I see this entire thread as missing the point.

If you don't want your bitcoins to be stolen be careful about how you store them.

If you're not sure the police will do anything to help you recover stolen bitcoins and you don't want them to be stolen be very careful about how you store them.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on October 12, 2012, 03:37:51 PM
If bitcoin is not property, it cannot be owned.

If it cannot be owned, obviously I do not own any.

If I do not own any, obviously I do not owe any taxes on it.

Thanks for solving the tax problem for bitcoins! :)

-MarkM-


Haha wouldn't that be nice.

I'm afraid tax laws are a bit more simple than property laws! Income is income, whatever the legal status of the source. They are always very clear about that one.

However if you don't sell Bitcoins then you won't have any tax liability.

I see this entire thread as missing the point.

If you don't want your bitcoins to be stolen be careful about how you store them.

If you're not sure the police will do anything to help you recover stolen bitcoins and you don't want them to be stolen be very careful about how you store them.

I think you have missed the fact that this is precisely my point!


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on October 12, 2012, 04:13:24 PM
If bitcoin is not property, it cannot be owned. If it cannot be owned, obviously I do not own any. If I do not own any, obviously I do not owe any taxes on it. Thanks for solving the tax problem for bitcoins! :)

-MarkM-


Haha wouldn't that be nice.

I'm afraid tax laws are a bit more simple than property laws! Income is income, whatever the legal status of the source. They are always very clear about that one.

However if you don't sell Bitcoins then you won't have any tax liability.

To have something count as income, you have to gain possesion of it. If bitcoins cannot be owned then they cannot be income.

It does not matter if you sell them or not. What matter is if you own them or not. If one can own bitcoins, and I claim they can, then whether you sell them or not makes no difference. Just like any barter transactions. For example, I do some work for a guy and he gives me a TV. That TV would count as income whether I sell it or not. Barter transactions may be more complicated and harder for the government to monitor, but they are still taxed like monetary transactions.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on October 12, 2012, 04:17:35 PM
There's no legal precedent for stealing Bitcoins = theft, but I am certain any court of law would rule it theft if it came up in a lawsuit.  They have obvious value, and people can own them.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Gatorhex on October 12, 2012, 04:40:06 PM
Hacking is a crime.

Breaking a contract for non-legal tender is not.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: casascius on October 12, 2012, 04:53:51 PM
I suspect theft of bitcoins will be hard to demonstrate, although most jurisdictions do have a concept of intangible property, and unless china does not, I dont see why it wouldnt have applied to that game sword.

In most jurisdictions, intangible property is things like copyright, patents, trademarks, brands and other intellectual property. While these are universally recognized as own-able properties, it's reasonable to say that none of these can be stolen in the same way as a Bitcoin. Intangible property is more a thing to be misused, or infringed upon. I can steal a Bitcoin and remove it from circulation, but I can't steal the Coca Cola logo and remove it from circulation.

From a semantic point of view, Bitcoins are of course intangible, but from a legal point of view I think they have little in common with what is usually defined as intangible property.


If I prepay a year of tuition at a local university, what do I have?  Nothing?  Or a right to attend school there?  Is that an asset?  Do I own it?  Is it tangible?  Is it intellectual property?

There are plenty of other kinds of intangible property that aren't intellectual property.  Examples include unpaid debts, water rights, liquor licenses, stocks, futures, electronic event tickets, someone's promise to perform or deliver something at a later date', etc...


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on October 12, 2012, 04:55:05 PM
Hacking is a crime.

Breaking a contract for non-legal tender is not.
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Gatorhex on October 12, 2012, 04:59:17 PM
Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot pay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: DannyHamilton on October 12, 2012, 05:05:12 PM
Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot ay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.
Not sure what land you are from, but this is definitely not true in the United States.

I can enter a contract with someone to exchange 5 televisions for their 3 microwave ovens.  If they fail to deliver the microwave ovens, the courts of the land will still recognize the contract.  Now, I will be expected to be willing to accept the legal tender of the land as restitution.  But once I have that legal tender, I can go find someone willing to exchange 3 microwave ovens for it to make my intended transaction whole once again.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on October 12, 2012, 05:12:45 PM
Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot pay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.
No, all contracts can be made right in the legal tender of the law though.  If I stole 10 Bitcoins from you, you could sue me for $120.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Gatorhex on October 12, 2012, 05:32:05 PM
Quote
I can enter a contract with someone to exchange 5 televisions for their 3 microwave ovens.

That is barter, and yes, I stand corrected, the USA made barter taxable with the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 which means they would uphold a bitcoin contract as enforcable in the USA!  :o

Just don't forget that also means the IRS can come after you for not declaring your bitcoin income taxes.  ::)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on October 13, 2012, 05:47:17 AM
If I prepay a year of tuition at a local university, what do I have?  Nothing?  Or a right to attend school there?  Is that an asset?  Do I own it?  Is it tangible?  Is it intellectual property?

It's not an asset, you don't own it, it's not tangible and it's not intellectual property.

It isn't property of any kind.

What you have is advanced payment for services rendered. It's non transferrable, and it can't be stolen.

I'm not sure what your point is.

There are plenty of other kinds of intangible property that aren't intellectual property. 

This is true and I should have mentioned this. However Bitcoin isn't legally defined as one of the, Debts, regulated financial instruments, and money are all intangibles, but Bitcoin doesn't fall into any of those categories. It also isn't a an event ticket or water rights.

Again, I'm confused as to your point.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: strideynet on November 16, 2012, 06:54:31 AM
It's illegal. Scamming and stealing and hacking are all illegal. And if courts are stupid we explain the bitcoin.
They realise it has a large real world value. No law references the virtual currencies. But under the general 4 laws of society.
No stealing
No murder.
No terrorism.
No scamming.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 16, 2012, 04:17:37 PM
It's illegal. Scamming and stealing and hacking are all illegal. And if courts are stupid we explain the bitcoin.

That's not how it works. You can't just explain something to a court. There has to be a law against it.

They realise it has a large real world value.

Do they? How can you be so sure?

No law references the virtual currencies.

That's right. That is the problem.

But under the general 4 laws of society.
No stealing
No murder.
No terrorism.
No scamming.

There are no general laws for society. That's not how the law works. There are specific laws for specific situations. Legislation is not the ten commandments from the Bible.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 17, 2012, 12:30:11 AM
There are no general laws for society. That's not how the law works. There are specific laws for specific situations. Legislation is not the ten commandments from the Bible.

Amazingly there's more than one society in the world. Here's how the supreme court in the Netherlands views the issue:

Quote
By laying down various criminal provisions, the legislator intended to protect rightholders' control over any goods owned by them. Under article 310 of the Criminal Code it is a criminal offence to deliberately take de facto control of any good belonging to another person with the intention of unlawfully appropriating it. The term 'any good' has an autonomous definition under the criminal law. An intangible object may be considered a good provided it is an object that by its nature can be removed from the de facto control of another person.

Quote
The assertion that the objects are not goods because they consist of 'bits and bytes' is untenable. The virtual nature of these objects does not in itself preclude their being considered goods within the meaning of article 310 of the Criminal Code. The appeal court's ruling on this matter is thoroughly reasoned and is in no way incorrect in its interpretation of the law. The Supreme Court bases this conclusion in part on the fact that the appeal court established that 'for the victim, the defendant and his co-accused, the possessions they collect in the game hold genuine value, which can be taken away from them'

http://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie/Hoge-Raad/Supreme-court/Summaries-of-some-important-rulings-of-the-Supreme-Court/Pages/Extractfromthejudgment.aspx



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 17, 2012, 04:33:22 AM
Amazingly there's more than one society in the world. Here's how the supreme court in the Netherlands views the issue:

Amazingly, I mentioned the Netherlands in the OP



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: sippsnapp on November 17, 2012, 04:39:26 AM
Im not a lawyer too but its kind obviously.

In germany this would most probably fall under extortion.

http://dejure.org/gesetze/StGB/253.html
Quote
Strafgesetzbuch
      Besonderer Teil (§§ 80 - 358)     
      20. Abschnitt - Raub und Erpressung (§§ 249 - 256)     
§ 253
Erpressung

(1) Wer einen Menschen rechtswidrig mit Gewalt oder durch Drohung mit einem empfindlichen Übel zu einer Handlung, Duldung oder Unterlassung nötigt und dadurch dem Vermögen des Genötigten oder eines anderen Nachteil zufügt, um sich oder einen Dritten zu Unrecht zu bereichern, wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu fünf Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft.

(2) Rechtswidrig ist die Tat, wenn die Anwendung der Gewalt oder die Androhung des Übels zu dem angestrebten Zweck als verwerflich anzusehen ist.

(3) Der Versuch ist strafbar.

(4) In besonders schweren Fällen ist die Strafe Freiheitsstrafe nicht unter einem Jahr. Ein besonders schwerer Fall liegt in der Regel vor, wenn der Täter gewerbsmäßig oder als Mitglied einer Bande handelt, die sich zur fortgesetzten Begehung einer Erpressung verbunden hat.

Translatd with google translator:

Quote
criminal code
    Special Section (§ § 80 - 358)
    20th Section - robbery and extortion (§ § 249 - 256)
§ 253
extortion

(1) Who a person unlawfully by force or threat of appreciable harm to an action, toleration or omission compels and thus the ability of the forced or other disadvantage inflicted to himself or a third enrich unjustly will be punished with imprisonment up convicted to five years or a fine.

(2) the act is unlawful if the use of force or the threat of the evil to the intended purpose is to be regarded as reprehensible.

(3) The attempt is punishable.

(4) In especially serious cases the punishment is not less than one year. A particularly serious case is usually when the perpetrator acts professionally or as a member of a gang which has combined for the continued commission of extortion.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Nolo on November 17, 2012, 05:22:49 AM
Well I'll answer the question that obviously you don't have to be an attorney to answer  :D

A person commits theft of property if, with intent to deprive the owner of property, the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner's effective consent.

So obviously, if you jack someone's wallet.dat, and they didn't tell you you could have it, you just committed the crime of theft.  

You're also going to be liable in tort for conversion.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 17, 2012, 05:49:27 AM
Well I'll answer the question that obviously you don't have to be an attorney to answer  :D

A person commits theft of property if, with intent to deprive the owner of property, the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner's effective consent.

So obviously, if you jack someone's wallet.dat, and they didn't tell you you could have it, you just committed the crime of theft.  

You're also going to be liable in tort for conversion.

Do you think that Bitcoins fall under the legal definition of property? If so, why?

Also, what do you think about situations where someone transfers Bitcoins under false pretences?

I think the most compelling argument that stealing Bitcoins isn't illegal is the fact that Pirate's identity is known, yet he hasn't been prosecuted.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Nolo on November 17, 2012, 06:10:18 AM
Well I'll answer the question that obviously you don't have to be an attorney to answer  :D

A person commits theft of property if, with intent to deprive the owner of property, the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner's effective consent.

So obviously, if you jack someone's wallet.dat, and they didn't tell you you could have it, you just committed the crime of theft.  

You're also going to be liable in tort for conversion.

Do you think that Bitcoins fall under the legal definition of property? If so, why?

Also, what do you think about situations where someone transfers Bitcoins under false pretences?

I think the most compelling argument that stealing Bitcoins isn't illegal is the fact that Pirate's identity is known, yet he hasn't been prosecuted.

The issue with pirate's prosecution isn't that what he did wasn't illegal, it is that no prosecutor that has jurisdiction to prosecute him has chosen to do so as of yet.  Also, for the whole pirate issue, there is the question of "intent".  Was it pirate's intent to steal the bitcoins?  Or was he just incredibly negligent and therefore should face civil liability as opposed to criminal punishment?  I don't know enough about that whole situation to go into alot of details on it. 

Property is simply any physical or intangible entity owned by a person.  A bitcoin would be an intangible entity, just as a checking account would be an intangible entity. 

The common law definition of larceny relied on tangible personal property (something you could actually touch and carry away), but that distinction is pretty much gone today. 

Getting someone to transfer you bitcoins under false pretenses would subject the tortfeasor to civil damages for the misrepresentation.  Whether any criminal charges could be brought would depend on the facts of the actual case, but if I was a prosecutor, the first thing I would think of is wire fraud.  This involves providing information and transmitting documents through the mail or through electronic media in conjunction with an allegedly fraudulent plan or scheme.  Many people are charged with this crime by the federal government, and do serious prison time. 



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 17, 2012, 06:30:00 AM
Of course stealing bitcoins is illegal.

Which jurisdiction are you referring to?  Can you reference a law, statute or decision that can back up this assertion?

You seem very sure, but I am quite sure that it is a far more complicated matter than your answer suggests.

In China, Qiu Chengwei was sentenced to life in prison after stabbing and killing fellow The Legend of Mir 3 gamer Zhu Caoyuan. In the game Qiu had lent Zhu a powerful sword (a "dragon sabre"), which Zhu then went on to sell on eBay for 7,200 Yuan (about £473 or US$870). With no Chinese laws covering the online dispute, there was nothing the police could do.

The sword is a virtual item, created out of nothingness, which trades for a significant sum on the open market. Even though the item was worth a lot of money, the theft and subsequent sale was not an illegal act.  Is a Bitcoin really substantially different in the eyes of the law?

Failure to return an item is a civil matter in most cases because it's not the cops job to figure out the 'terms' of your agreement that led to the item not being returned.  Of course I know nothing of chinese law.

Anyway... I don't think you can really make a case for 'stealing' bitcoins since nothing has really been taken.  Now all sorts of laws aginst unauthorized access may come into play since your wallet.dat is like a cryptologic signature and using that to execute unauthorized transactions would almost certinly run afoul of such laws.

For example; loging into someones account and taking their sword in WoW probably won't get you arrested for taking the sword.  But you can be damn sure loging into their account is aginst the law.  Though I'm not sure how the ruling would come down on P2P network vs Servers...  that could be intresting to see.  But if the courts have ruled you can't even steal source code then I don't think they'd look fondly on the same argument for bitcoins.

Of course none of the above would prevent you from suing the ever living shit out of the person who took your bitcoins.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Nolo on November 17, 2012, 06:41:26 AM

Failure to return an item is a civil matter in most cases because it's not the cops job to figure out the 'terms' of your agreement that led to the item not being returned.  Of course I know nothing of chinese law.

Anyway... I don't think you can really make a case for 'stealing' bitcoins since nothing has really been taken.  Now all sorts of laws aginst unauthorized access may come into play since your wallet.dat is like a cryptologic signature and using that to execute unauthorized transactions would almost certinly run afoul of such laws.



I have seen this stated several times in this thread. I can't stress enough how wrong it is.  An intangible piece of property is still property and still subject to theft.  
Quote
The extension of 18 U.S.C. § 641 to intangible property interests is consistent with both the plain language of the statute and the judicial construction of that language. The term "thing of value" is certainly broad enough to encompass both tangible and intangible properties and, in fact, has been construed to cover intangibles. See United States v. Girard, 601 F.2d at 71
- US Attorneys Criminal Resource Manual

§ 641 is one of the many federal theft statutes.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 17, 2012, 06:48:36 AM

Failure to return an item is a civil matter in most cases because it's not the cops job to figure out the 'terms' of your agreement that led to the item not being returned.  Of course I know nothing of chinese law.

Anyway... I don't think you can really make a case for 'stealing' bitcoins since nothing has really been taken.  Now all sorts of laws aginst unauthorized access may come into play since your wallet.dat is like a cryptologic signature and using that to execute unauthorized transactions would almost certinly run afoul of such laws.



I have seen this stated several times in this thread. I can't stress enough how wrong it is.  An intangible piece of property is still property and still subject to theft. 
Quote
The extension of 18 U.S.C. § 641 to intangible property interests is consistent with both the plain language of the statute and the judicial construction of that language. The term "thing of value" is certainly broad enough to encompass both tangible and intangible properties and, in fact, has been construed to cover intangibles. See United States v. Girard, 601 F.2d at 71
- US Attorneys Criminal Resource Manual

§ 641 is the federal theft statute.

Ok first off 641 is only for the governments money... so if you steal the fed's bitcoins 641 may come into play.

Theft is normally under the state's jursidiction

So here's Texas' take

(6) "Intangible personal property" means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document. It includes a stock, bond, note or account receivable, franchise, license or permit, demand or time deposit, certificate of deposit, share account, share certificate account, share deposit account, insurance policy, annuity, pension, cause of action, contract, and goodwill.

Which one do you feel bitcoin falls under?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 17, 2012, 07:38:34 AM
  Property is simply any physical or intangible entity owned by a person.  A bitcoin would be an intangible entity, just as a checking account would be an intangible entity. 

From what I've read, it's not so simple. At least not in the US or the UK. It seems like intangible property is quite strictly defined, and Bitcoin doesn't really fall under any of the definitions.

I don't understand this checking account comparison. I'm not sure how one would steal a checking account. Obviously they could steal the contents, that would be pretty simple, but to steal the actual account is a curious thought. It seems fairly impossible. It seems to me that you don't actually own a checking account. You own the money inside. The account is merely a way of keeping track of that money. Can you elucidate a bit on this idea so that I understand what you mean?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: strideynet on November 17, 2012, 08:08:13 AM
Who wants to contact Obama and request they create laws for the virtual enviiroments. Then when the world uses much virtual currencies it's already there. And obamas a nice guy. It would secure the Internet a bit more if virtual items with a irl value could be brought to court for stealing. The world will eventually use online currencies and if they don't make the law now, things could get messy.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 17, 2012, 11:46:19 AM
Amazingly, I mentioned the Netherlands in the OP

Yes, without finding the most relevant supreme court decision. To answer the question you pose in the OP: Yes, stealing Bitcoins is illegal, and would be prosecuted everywhere there's a functioning legal system.

You have provided no support whatsoever for any other interpretation of relevant law that has been cited in this thread. I'll re-quote the Supreme court in the Netherlands below:

Quote
The assertion that the objects are not goods because they consist of 'bits and bytes' is untenable. The virtual nature of these objects does not in itself preclude their being considered goods

Your personal views to the contrary are not relevant.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 17, 2012, 01:03:58 PM
Quote
Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?

Performing illegal action against illegal (virtual) object is perfectly legal...After all, this what the so called war on terror is about. We learn from our governments, right?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Nolo on November 17, 2012, 05:15:36 PM

Failure to return an item is a civil matter in most cases because it's not the cops job to figure out the 'terms' of your agreement that led to the item not being returned.  Of course I know nothing of chinese law.

Anyway... I don't think you can really make a case for 'stealing' bitcoins since nothing has really been taken.  Now all sorts of laws aginst unauthorized access may come into play since your wallet.dat is like a cryptologic signature and using that to execute unauthorized transactions would almost certinly run afoul of such laws.



I have seen this stated several times in this thread. I can't stress enough how wrong it is.  An intangible piece of property is still property and still subject to theft. 
Quote
The extension of 18 U.S.C. § 641 to intangible property interests is consistent with both the plain language of the statute and the judicial construction of that language. The term "thing of value" is certainly broad enough to encompass both tangible and intangible properties and, in fact, has been construed to cover intangibles. See United States v. Girard, 601 F.2d at 71
- US Attorneys Criminal Resource Manual

§ 641 is the federal theft statute.

Ok first off 641 is only for the governments money... so if you steal the fed's bitcoins 641 may come into play.

Theft is normally under the state's jursidiction

So here's Texas' take

(6) "Intangible personal property" means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document. It includes a stock, bond, note or account receivable, franchise, license or permit, demand or time deposit, certificate of deposit, share account, share certificate account, share deposit account, insurance policy, annuity, pension, cause of action, contract, and goodwill.

Which one do you feel bitcoin falls under?

You're right about the state action.  The overwhelming majority of criminal charges are brought by the state.  The feds don't have a straight up "theft" statute, as typically there has to be something more complicated than just stealing something before the feds even have jurisdiction, such as stealing something in interstate commerce.  So §641 is one of the closest statutes you can get to, to see what the federal courts feel about the issue. 

The part you didn't bold is where I feel bitcoin falls in the Texas statute. 
Quote
"Intangible personal property" means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document.

The part you bolded was just a bunch of examples the TX legislature gave.  It isn't meant to be an exclusive list. 


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: dirtycat on November 17, 2012, 05:24:52 PM
its just magic nerd money.. sure stealing it is wrong and I am sure thieves feel horrible about taking it and have many sleepless nights but it is not illegal.. nobody has ever went to prison over it and nobody ever will.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Nolo on November 17, 2012, 05:26:04 PM
  Property is simply any physical or intangible entity owned by a person.  A bitcoin would be an intangible entity, just as a checking account would be an intangible entity. 

From what I've read, it's not so simple. At least not in the US or the UK. It seems like intangible property is quite strictly defined, and Bitcoin doesn't really fall under any of the definitions.

I don't understand this checking account comparison. I'm not sure how one would steal a checking account. Obviously they could steal the contents, that would be pretty simple, but to steal the actual account is a curious thought. It seems fairly impossible. It seems to me that you don't actually own a checking account. You own the money inside. The account is merely a way of keeping track of that money. Can you elucidate a bit on this idea so that I understand what you mean?

I can't speak, to UK law, as I have no clue what it says.  But in the US intangible property really isn't that strictly defined.  It is basically anything you can't see or touch that has value.  Since the previous poster used the Texas state statute, we'll stick to that.  

Quote
(6) "Intangible personal property" means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document. It includes a stock, bond, note or account receivable, franchise, license or permit, demand or time deposit, certificate of deposit, share account, share certificate account, share deposit account, insurance policy, annuity, pension, cause of action, contract, and goodwill.

Anything that has value yet cannot be perceived by the senses is intangible property.  That strikes me as the very essence of a bitcoin.  

The state of TX then goes on to list numerous examples.

Most of these are difficult to steal, I'll grant you.  But if you do, you have committed theft.  


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 17, 2012, 05:49:07 PM
The part you didn't bold is where I feel bitcoin falls in the Texas statute. 
Quote
"Intangible personal property" means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document.

The part you bolded was just a bunch of examples the TX legislature gave.  It isn't meant to be an exclusive list. 
It's a complete list of examples and none come close to bitcoin.

Maybe we can try Florida?
(14) “Intangible property” includes, by way of illustration and not limitation:
(a) Moneys, checks, drafts, deposits, interest, dividends, and income.
(b) Credit balances, customer overpayments, security deposits and other instruments as defined by chapter 679, refunds, unpaid wages, unused airline tickets, and unidentified remittances.
(c) Stocks, and other intangible ownership interests in business associations.
(d) Moneys deposited to redeem stocks, bonds, bearer bonds, original issue discount bonds, coupons, and other securities, or to make distributions.
(e) Amounts due and payable under the terms of insurance policies.
(f) Amounts distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide any health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death, stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment insurance, or similar benefit.

Still nothing that comes close to bitcoin.


Your problem is you don't seem to understand that your wallet.dat is not 'filled' with bitcoins.  It's just a big long number... it's the same as someone stealing your password.  Even you should be able to see that charging someone with stealing a password is absurd.  It's the actions you take with the stolen password that matter.
So you can't STEAL bitcoins.  You can only gain unauthorized access to the network and execute actions and that's covered under standard computer law.
The real legal question is it's easy to see how someone can gain unauthorized access to a big monolithic server with a password but it would be interesting to see how the law comes down on unauthorized access to a p2p network with a private crypto key....  That's where the real legal loophole might be.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on November 17, 2012, 06:00:15 PM
The part you didn't bold is where I feel bitcoin falls in the Texas statute. 
Quote
"Intangible personal property" means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document.

The part you bolded was just a bunch of examples the TX legislature gave.  It isn't meant to be an exclusive list. 
It's a complete list of examples and none come close to bitcoin.

Maybe we can try Florida?
(14) “Intangible property” includes, by way of illustration and not limitation:
(a) Moneys, checks, drafts, deposits, interest, dividends, and income.
(b) Credit balances, customer overpayments, security deposits and other instruments as defined by chapter 679, refunds, unpaid wages, unused airline tickets, and unidentified remittances.
(c) Stocks, and other intangible ownership interests in business associations.
(d) Moneys deposited to redeem stocks, bonds, bearer bonds, original issue discount bonds, coupons, and other securities, or to make distributions.
(e) Amounts due and payable under the terms of insurance policies.
(f) Amounts distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide any health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death, stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment insurance, or similar benefit.

Still nothing that comes close to bitcoin.


Your problem is you don't seem to understand that your wallet.dat is not 'filled' with bitcoins.  It's just a big long number... it's the same as someone stealing your password.  Even you should be able to see that charging someone with stealing a password is absurd.  It's the actions you take with the stolen password that matter.
So you can't STEAL bitcoins.  You can only gain unauthorized access to the network and execute actions and that's covered under standard computer law.
The real legal question is it's easy to see how someone can gain unauthorized access to a big monolithic server with a password but it would be interesting to see how the law comes down on unauthorized access to a p2p network with a private crypto key....  That's where the real legal loophole might be.

I would say that Bitcoins fall in the category of "Money".


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 17, 2012, 06:30:57 PM
I would say that Bitcoins fall in the category of "Money".
100% NO
'Money' only comes from the government.
Sticking with Florida
UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE: GENERAL PROVISIONS

671.201 General definitions.—Unless the context otherwise requires, words or phrases defined in this section, or in the additional definitions contained in other chapters of this code which apply to particular chapters or parts thereof, have the meanings stated. Subject to definitions contained in other chapters of this code which apply to particular chapters or parts thereof, the term:
.....
(24) “Money” means a medium of exchange currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between two or more countries.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Nolo on November 17, 2012, 06:42:18 PM
The part you didn't bold is where I feel bitcoin falls in the Texas statute.  
Quote
"Intangible personal property" means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document.

The part you bolded was just a bunch of examples the TX legislature gave.  It isn't meant to be an exclusive list.  
It's a complete list of examples and none come close to bitcoin.

Maybe we can try Florida?
(14) “Intangible property” includes, by way of illustration and not limitation:
(a) Moneys, checks, drafts, deposits, interest, dividends, and income.
(b) Credit balances, customer overpayments, security deposits and other instruments as defined by chapter 679, refunds, unpaid wages, unused airline tickets, and unidentified remittances.
(c) Stocks, and other intangible ownership interests in business associations.
(d) Moneys deposited to redeem stocks, bonds, bearer bonds, original issue discount bonds, coupons, and other securities, or to make distributions.
(e) Amounts due and payable under the terms of insurance policies.
(f) Amounts distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide any health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death, stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment insurance, or similar benefit.

Still nothing that comes close to bitcoin.


Your problem is you don't seem to understand that your wallet.dat is not 'filled' with bitcoins.  It's just a big long number... it's the same as someone stealing your password.  Even you should be able to see that charging someone with stealing a password is absurd.  It's the actions you take with the stolen password that matter.
So you can't STEAL bitcoins.  You can only gain unauthorized access to the network and execute actions and that's covered under standard computer law.
The real legal question is it's easy to see how someone can gain unauthorized access to a big monolithic server with a password but it would be interesting to see how the law comes down on unauthorized access to a p2p network with a private crypto key....  That's where the real legal loophole might be.

I don't know what to say to that other than you've taken the position that you have taken, and are not willing to adopt a view contrary.  

Do you believe identity theft is legal?  

And please don't tell me I don't understand something.  That's terribly rude, especially in light of the argument you are attempting to make.  

I really don't believe the law could be any more clear on the issue.  Bitcoins have value.  Stealing them is a crime.  Both a state and federal crime (since you are involved in interstate commerce when the theft occurs).  

If you can cite to me any law whatsoever that seems to support your position that the theft of virtual goods that have value is not theft, then I would be very interested to read that. 


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 17, 2012, 08:12:27 PM
I don't know what to say to that other than you've taken the position that you have taken, and are not willing to adopt a view contrary. 

Do you believe identity theft is legal? 

And please don't tell me I don't understand something.  That's terribly rude, especially in light of the argument you are attempting to make. 

I really don't believe the law could be any more clear on the issue.  Bitcoins have value.  Stealing them is a crime.  Both a state and federal crime (since you are involved in interstate commerce when the theft occurs). 

If you can cite to me any law whatsoever that seems to support your position that the theft of virtual goods that have value is not theft, then I would be very interested to read that. 
Bitcoins aren't virtual goods...  They aren't goods at all.  It's simply a ledger of 'transactions'.  Bitcoins aren't a real thing they don't even represent a real thing.  There are no bitcoins on your computer there are no bitcoins anywhere.  Only the argeed upon rules of the 'game' allow bitcoins to exist.


Basiclly you have a file on your computer that says
5 to bob
6 from sue
1 to mack
4 from bob
3 to sue
and so on

And I log into your computer
and add
1000 to reyals

That's theft?  Because that's what you're saying.  I haven't taken anything I've simply created a frauduinty entry in a ledger of a system that is afford no special legal proection (which is why this would be a crime if you tried it with stocks)

If data representing nonreal things was afford these protections then it would open a huge can of worms...
Can someone be arrested for taking my stuff in EvE online even though it's allowed by the game?  No?
So then they could be arrested for taking stuff in WoW because it's not allowed there?  Yes?
Ok so if Dark Ages of Camelot crashes and deletes my items is Mythic liabel for destroying my property?
What if someone hacks WoW and deletes my items?  Does blizzard have to pay?  I mean the items were in their 'bank'.

Lets be totally assine now.  What if I hack bitcointalk.org and change my post count to 10000 and yours to 1?  Did I steal posts from you? Because that's what you're saying. 


Bitcoin is to weird...  If bitcoin wants to be protected by theft statues then the law needs to be updated.  Right now though it's still protected by computer laws.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: foggyb on November 17, 2012, 08:31:38 PM
It's illegal. Scamming and stealing and hacking are all illegal. And if courts are stupid we explain the bitcoin.

That's not how it works. You can't just explain something to a court. There has to be a law against it.

They realise it has a large real world value.

Do they? How can you be so sure?

No law references the virtual currencies.

That's right. That is the problem.

But under the general 4 laws of society.
No stealing
No murder.
No terrorism.
No scamming.

There are no general laws for society. That's not how the law works. There are specific laws for specific situations. Legislation is not the ten commandments from the Bible.

There are general laws of morality that apply to all humans, regardless of one's belief in them (or lack thereof). The constitution of the USA (correctly) acknowledges the rights of all individuals under God. It is this reality that all who presume to reside in a moral vacuum, are blinded against.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 17, 2012, 10:59:49 PM
It's a complete list of examples and none come close to bitcoin.

The list was not exclusive, as has already been pointed out.

Maybe we can try Florida?

Sure!

(14) “Intangible property” includes, by way of illustration and not limitation:

There you go!


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: justusranvier on November 18, 2012, 12:15:27 AM
Quote
"Intangible personal property" means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document."
Is it really that hard to see if Bitcoin falls into this definition?

Is a Bitcoin address a claim, interest, right or "other thing"?
Does a Bitcoin address have value?
Can a Bitcoin address be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: chrisrico on November 18, 2012, 12:24:57 AM
Does a Bitcoin address have value?

I would change this to say "Does a Bitcoin private key have value", to which the answer is yes, because only with the key you can sign a transaction transferring the value stored in the block chain.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: justusranvier on November 18, 2012, 12:28:53 AM
Does a Bitcoin address have value?

I would change this to say "Does a Bitcoin private key have value", to which the answer is yes, because only with the key you can sign a transaction transferring the value stored in the block chain.
Alternately, you can refer to unspent outputs.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 18, 2012, 12:37:42 AM
(14) “Intangible property” includes, by way of illustration and not limitation:

There you go!
Of course it isn't inclusive... it doesn't list a great many types of financial derivatives
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_(finance)
But they still protected.
It has to be similar to thing things on the list; IE you can't steal air for example no matter how much value you'd like to assign to it because it's like nothing else on the list.

Is it really that hard to see if Bitcoin falls into this definition?

Is a Bitcoin address a claim, interest, right or "other thing"?
No!
That's why people share them in their freaking sigs. It's an account number.  You can't steal someone's account number.
Does a Bitcoin address have value?
Absolutely not.  If they did I can generate a few 1000 address per second.  You want to buy some?
Can a Bitcoin address be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses?
No?  That doesn't seem germane though...


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 18, 2012, 12:41:23 AM
Does a Bitcoin address have value?

I would change this to say "Does a Bitcoin private key have value", to which the answer is yes, because only with the key you can sign a transaction transferring the value stored in the block chain.
Does a password have value?  A private key is a password and you can't steal a password.  If you could pastebin would be guilty of a billion counts of handling stolen property every time anonymous posted their latest password dump.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 18, 2012, 01:06:02 AM
It has to be similar to thing things on the list; IE you can't steal air for example no matter how much value you'd like to assign to it because it's like nothing else on the list.

Aaaaand back to the Supreme court of the Netherlands:

Quote
Under article 310 of the Criminal Code it is a criminal offence to deliberately take de facto control of any good belonging to another person with the intention of unlawfully appropriating it. The term 'any good' has an autonomous definition under the criminal law. An intangible object may be considered a good provided it is an object that by its nature can be removed from the de facto control of another person.

Using another person's private key to sign over the control over their bitcoins to yourself fits the above definition quite well.

(Don't worry, the same reasoning applies in other countries as well)

And yes, using a password you find on pastebin to take control over someone else's property would also apply.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 18, 2012, 02:07:34 AM
Why is it so important to you people that bitcoins be prosecuted as theft?
If it's so important to you get the laws changed.  You want an example of a law that would likely protect you?

Here let us read New Jersey's.

2C:20-1. Definitions.

  "Property" means anything of value, including real estate, tangible and intangible personal property, trade secrets, contract rights, choses in action and other interests in or claims to wealth, admission or transportation tickets, captured or domestic animals, food and drink, electric, gas, steam or other power, financial instruments, information, data, and computer software, in either human readable or computer readable form, copies or originals.

Sounds a little different doesn't it?

Bitcoins are probably considered propriety in New Jersey but many other places do not enumerate such specific rights.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 18, 2012, 07:08:13 AM
Sounds a little different doesn't it?

Bitcoins are probably considered propriety in New Jersey but many other places do not enumerate such specific rights.
Ah I see. Stealing bitcoins from someone living in New Jersey is illegal but stealing bitcoins from someone living in Iran or Syria is legal? Sounds like a double standard to me.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 18, 2012, 07:54:44 AM
Yes, without finding the most relevant supreme court decision.

So what? I already acknowledged that there is a good chance that the Dutch legal would prosecute theft of Bitcoins. I appreciate you providing additional evidence to support that, but there is no need to be so combative about it. As you saw in the OP, I had already mentioned the Netherlands. I think it's more relevant to the debate if you bring up something I haven't already acknowledged, don't you? Many other people have made great contributions to the debate, but all you have done is reiterate a point I already made and try to somehow use it against me, haha.

To answer the question you pose in the OP: Yes, stealing Bitcoins is illegal, and would be prosecuted everywhere there's a functioning legal system.

Really? What a big assertion. EVERYWHERE there's a functioning legal system you say? Hmm...

I haven't seen you provide any relevant evidence from Columbian law, or the legal code of Burkina Faso.

Seems to me like you are using Dutch law as evidence for a global standard!

Don't you realise that:

Amazingly there's more than one society in the world.

 :D

I think you have been shmoking too much of those lovely Dutch spliffs, yesh?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Luke-Jr on November 18, 2012, 08:39:34 AM
To answer the question you pose in the OP: Yes, stealing Bitcoins is illegal, and would be prosecuted everywhere there's a functioning legal system.
Really? What a big assertion. EVERYWHERE there's a functioning legal system you say? Hmm...
I'll go one step further: Stealing Bitcoins is illegal everywhere there has ever been a functioning legal system. How am I so sure? Because any legal system where stealing is not illegal is by definition not functioning. I presume the most common argument is going to be that there's some technicality a thief could get off on; but a system where the laws are interpreted in such a strict sense is just another kind of non-functioning brokenness. In a functioning legal system, the court doesn't care what was stolen or how it is done: just that it was stolen.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 18, 2012, 09:46:43 AM
If it's so important to you get the laws changed

No need, existing laws cover Bitcoin theft just fine. Numerous examples have been posted.

Seems to me like you are using Dutch law as evidence for a global standard!

No, but I am European and know how unlikely it is for the EU court to have a different opinion. If it was likely the Dutch case would've already been on its way there. Other examples posted in this thread supports the same applying to the US.

If there are laws against something in the EU and US it's very unlikely for other countries who want to be part of global trade to take a different stance.

Cited for your convenience, the definition of 'goods' in the EU:

Quote
3 . 1 . 2 .   M E A N I N G   O F   ‘ G O O D S ’
Articles 34  and 35  TFEU cover all types of imports and exports of goods and products. The range of goods covered is as wide as the range of goods in existence, so long as they have economic value: 'by goods, within the meaning of the … Treaty, there must be understood products which can be valued in money and which are capable, as such, of forming the subject of commercial transactions'

The law most certainly covers stealing of goods.



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 19, 2012, 03:32:16 AM
Sounds a little different doesn't it?

Bitcoins are probably considered propriety in New Jersey but many other places do not enumerate such specific rights.
Ah I see. Stealing bitcoins from someone living in New Jersey is illegal but stealing bitcoins from someone living in Iran or Syria is legal? Sounds like a double standard to me.
Sigh...
Stealing bit coins while in New Jersey is illegal.   Not from.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurisdiction
And seriously you post New Jersey VS Iran/Syria and want to talk about double standards??? -cough-

And stealing bitcoins is always illegal because it likely violates the laws on unauthorized access.


If it's so important to you get the laws changed

No need, existing laws cover Bitcoin theft just fine. Numerous examples have been posted.
I'm the only one that's posted a law that might cover Bitcoin.

Quote
3 . 1 . 2 .   M E A N I N G   O F   ‘ G O O D S ’
Articles 34  and 35  TFEU cover all types of imports and exports of goods and products. The range of goods covered is as wide as the range of goods in existence, so long as they have economic value: 'by goods, within the meaning of the … Treaty, there must be understood products which can be valued in money and which are capable, as such, of forming the subject of commercial transactions'

The law most certainly covers stealing of goods.
There are no goods... why is this so hard for you to understand?
If I log into your trading account and transfer stock out I've stolen STOCK.
If I log into account and sell off all your corn futures I've stolen CORN.  (technically no... but good enough for an example)

If I use your private key to transfer out some bitcoins what have I stolen?  Bitcoins?  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BITCOINS.
Bitcoins are just an agreement between all the participants in the network to trade imgenary units with each other.

If you can just call anything with value a good then eve online is filled with criminals yet no one has ever been arrested?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 19, 2012, 03:38:55 AM
In all honesty it seems pretty clear to me that the answer to this problem is:

"Who knows?"

[With the exceptions of the countries I mentioned in the OP]

It's incredibly hard to determine something unless a legal precedent has been established.

When a case involving the theft of Bitcoins (or a very similar digital item) goes through a court and results in a prosecution, or Bitcoins are specifically named in a piece of legislation, then we won't have a clear answer to this question.



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Jutarul on November 19, 2012, 05:34:19 AM
It's a complete list of examples and none come close to bitcoin.

Maybe we can try Florida?
(14) “Intangible property” includes, by way of illustration and not limitation:
(a) Moneys, checks, drafts, deposits, interest, dividends, and income.
(b) Credit balances, customer overpayments, security deposits and other instruments as defined by chapter 679, refunds, unpaid wages, unused airline tickets, and unidentified remittances.
(c) Stocks, and other intangible ownership interests in business associations.
(d) Moneys deposited to redeem stocks, bonds, bearer bonds, original issue discount bonds, coupons, and other securities, or to make distributions.
(e) Amounts due and payable under the terms of insurance policies.
(f) Amounts distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide any health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death, stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment insurance, or similar benefit.

Still nothing that comes close to bitcoin.


Your problem is you don't seem to understand that your wallet.dat is not 'filled' with bitcoins.  It's just a big long number... it's the same as someone stealing your password.  Even you should be able to see that charging someone with stealing a password is absurd.  It's the actions you take with the stolen password that matter.
So you can't STEAL bitcoins.  You can only gain unauthorized access to the network and execute actions and that's covered under standard computer law.
The real legal question is it's easy to see how someone can gain unauthorized access to a big monolithic server with a password but it would be interesting to see how the law comes down on unauthorized access to a p2p network with a private crypto key....  That's where the real legal loophole might be.

The closest thing to bitcoin is IMHO coupons, with the private key being the mechanism for redeeming them.
Now if someone steals my coupon codes is that illegal? Only if that someone redeems them. right?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 19, 2012, 06:21:42 AM
....
Still nothing that comes close to bitcoin.


Your problem is you don't seem to understand that your wallet.dat is not 'filled' with bitcoins.  It's just a big long number... it's the same as someone stealing your password.  Even you should be able to see that charging someone with stealing a password is absurd.  It's the actions you take with the stolen password that matter.
So you can't STEAL bitcoins.  You can only gain unauthorized access to the network and execute actions and that's covered under standard computer law.
The real legal question is it's easy to see how someone can gain unauthorized access to a big monolithic server with a password but it would be interesting to see how the law comes down on unauthorized access to a p2p network with a private crypto key....  That's where the real legal loophole might be.

The closest thing to bitcoin is IMHO coupons, with the private key being the mechanism for redeeming them.
Now if someone steals my coupon codes is that legal? Only if that someone redeems them. right?
No.
Coupons represent money.  Money is real. 
Bitcoins represent bitcoins...  Bitcoins may be worth money but they represent nothing.

The closet thing to bitcoin is MMORPG gold.  In fact the only difference is the fact that MMORPGs use a server and bitcoin is over a P2P network.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 19, 2012, 06:22:49 AM
Stealing bit coins while in New Jersey is illegal.   Not from.
Is that really different?
Stealing bitcoins while in Mudville is illegal. Stealing bitcoins while in Langley is legal... How is that different from a double standard? -cough-

And stealing bitcoins is always illegal because it likely violates the laws on unauthorized access.
I can't really understand what position you're defending?

Is stealing bitcoins illegal or not?
You can't just say - depends who is the thief? Or, depends who is the owner? This is ridiculous!



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Luke-Jr on November 19, 2012, 06:28:13 AM
Coupons represent money.  Money is real. 
Bitcoins represent bitcoins...  Bitcoins may be worth money but they represent nothing.
Um, bitcoins are money.
Bitcoins also represent nothing; Just like the US dollar, Euro, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, etc...


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 19, 2012, 06:30:02 AM
 
Bitcoins represent bitcoins...  Bitcoins may be worth money but they represent nothing.
No. Bicoin(s) represent contract(s). An agreement between the Bitcoin community and an individual who is part of this community. The rules of the community are written in the bitcoin protocol. Is that so complicated to understand?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 19, 2012, 06:32:19 AM
The quality of the comments are really going down hill....

Stealing bit coins while in New Jersey is illegal.   Not from.
Is that really different?
Stealing bitcoins while in Mudville is illegal. Stealing bitcoins while in Langley is legal... How is that different from a double standard? -cough-

And stealing bitcoins is always illegal because it likely violates the laws on unauthorized access.
I can't really understand what position you're defending?

Is stealing bitcoins illegal or not?
You can't just say - depends who is the thief? Or, depends who is the owner? This is ridiculous!

As I've stated from my very first post
Anyway... I don't think you can really make a case for 'stealing' bitcoins since nothing has really been taken.  Now all sorts of laws aginst unauthorized access may come into play since your wallet.dat is like a cryptologic signature and using that to execute unauthorized transactions would almost certinly run afoul of such laws.
(and a few since then)
The question is not illegal vs illegal the question is theft vs some other crime.



Coupons represent money.  Money is real. 
Bitcoins represent bitcoins...  Bitcoins may be worth money but they represent nothing.
Um, bitcoins are money.
Bitcoins also represent nothing; Just like the US dollar, Euro, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, etc...
Please go away I've already covered the money argument.
I would say that Bitcoins fall in the category of "Money".
100% NO
'Money' only comes from the government.
Sticking with Florida
UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE: GENERAL PROVISIONS

671.201 General definitions.—Unless the context otherwise requires, words or phrases defined in this section, or in the additional definitions contained in other chapters of this code which apply to particular chapters or parts thereof, have the meanings stated. Subject to definitions contained in other chapters of this code which apply to particular chapters or parts thereof, the term:
.....
(24) “Money” means a medium of exchange currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between two or more countries.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 19, 2012, 06:35:44 AM
 
Bitcoins represent bitcoins...  Bitcoins may be worth money but they represent nothing.
No. Bicoin(s) represent contract(s). An agreement between the Bitcoin community and an individual who is part of this community. The rules of the community are written in the bitcoin protocol. Is that so complicated to understand?
Is that really the road you want to go down?  Because I can tell you right now breach of contract is not theft.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 19, 2012, 06:43:10 AM
The question is not illegal vs illegal the question is theft vs some other crime.
The question is "Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?"

Quote
Definition of theft

Overview of noun theft

The noun theft has 1 senses? (no senses from tagged texts)

1. larceny, theft, thievery, thieving, stealing

(the act of taking something from someone unlawfully; "the thieving is awful at Kennedy International")
http://www.synonym.com/definition/theft/


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 19, 2012, 07:05:55 AM
The quality of the comments are really going down hill....
Ah okay, sorry for bothering you. Enjoy your little world where stealing is not thieving.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 19, 2012, 07:16:07 AM
The question is not illegal vs illegal the question is theft vs some other crime.
The question is "Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?"

Quote
Definition of theft

Overview of noun theft

The noun theft has 1 senses? (no senses from tagged texts)

1. larceny, theft, thievery, thieving, stealing

(the act of taking something from someone unlawfully; "the thieving is awful at Kennedy International")
http://www.synonym.com/definition/theft/

Stealing bitcoins is not a crime....  but there is no way to 'steal' them without committing a crime.
IE you're not commiting theft when you take someone's bitcoins; you're commiting unauthorized computer access, you'd probably run afoul of some idenity theft laws, maybe get nailed on fraud?  Not sure would take some research.
But theft it's not.

The fundamental problem with calling it theft is you've equated bitcoins with 'real stuff' and when you've done that with out careful court rulings and defined laws you open up the door to all sorts of zany antics.

The quality of the comments are really going down hill....
Ah okay, sorry for bothering you. Enjoy your little world where stealing is not thieving.
It's not my world.  It's the real world.
I can't prove a negitive. 
You find me someone that is charged and convicted of stealing a purely digital item and then we can talk.  Bitcoin maybe 'new' but computers have been around for a while so if it really is theft you should be able to find a case for us to discuss.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Jutarul on November 19, 2012, 07:50:23 AM
Stealing bitcoins is not a crime....  but there is no way to 'steal' them without committing a crime.
IE you're not commiting theft when you take someone's bitcoins; you're commiting unauthorized computer access.
I think that pretty nailed it.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 19, 2012, 08:20:30 AM
This thread is, to my mind, the perfect example of the problems created by dogmatic belief in magical papers.  The bickering going on here about whether stealing Bitcoins is "illegal" or not according to this or that paper ("law"), is no different from the bickering going on in religious forums about whether homosexuality is a "sin" according to this or that Scriptural passage.

The real underlying questions being asked here are:

- Is taking someone's Bitcoins without his consent or under false pretesens wrong?  (Yes)
- If this were to happen to me, how would I go about recovering them?  (Spoiler alert: the men in blue costumes don't give a shit)

Discussing whether the contents of a piece of paper actually mean "stealing Bitcoins is illegal" is a waste of time that does nothing to answer the real underlying questions.

Snap out of the fantasy already, people.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 19, 2012, 08:58:34 AM
If you can just call anything with value a good then eve online is filled with criminals yet no one has ever been arrested?

Because no one has filed charges. Feel free to be the first. To be tested are the claims over who's effectively in control (game devs or users - not an issue in Bitcoin) and whether an EULA allowing theft in-game is lawful.

(I refer to earlier posts when it comes to the definition of goods in the Netherlands and EU)

I have no idea why you want to claim that theft of bitcoins isn't theft, but I suggest you put your hypothesis to the test if you're so sure of yourself.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 19, 2012, 10:38:24 AM
This thread is, to my mind, the perfect example of the problems created by dogmatic belief in magical papers.  The bickering going on here about whether stealing Bitcoins is "illegal" or not according to this or that paper ("law"), is no different from the bickering going on in religious forums about whether homosexuality is a "sin" according to this or that Scriptural passage.

The real underlying questions being asked here are:

- Is taking someone's Bitcoins without his consent or under false pretesens wrong?  (Yes)
- If this were to happen to me, how would I go about recovering them?  (Spoiler alert: the men in blue costumes don't give a shit)

Are you out of your fucking tree? Those aren't the real underlying questions being asked. The morality of stealing Bitcoins is nothing to do with this thread.

Discussing whether the contents of a piece of paper actually mean "stealing Bitcoins is illegal" is a waste of time that does nothing to answer the real underlying questions.

This thread is about discussing whether the contents of a piece of paper actually mean "stealing Bitcoins is illegal."  If you find it a waste of time, then please don't post in this thread. Furthermore, I would suggest that you might find better uses of your time outside the legal subforum, since you don't seem to have an interest in the law.

Snap out of the fantasy already, people.

Jesus, what is wrong with you?

If you want to live in a fantasy where the law has no impact on your life, then please, go and live that fantasy elsewhere. Certainly don't come in here and accuse us of living in a fantasy for acknowledging reality, you slowly melting cum-popsicle of a man.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 19, 2012, 10:51:59 AM
I have no idea why you want to claim that theft of bitcoins isn't theft, but I suggest you put your hypothesis to the test if you're so sure of yourself.

He doesn't have to put it to the test. Hundreds of other people have done that for him. There have been hundreds, if not thousands of Bitcoin thefts over the years, amounting to millions of dollars worth of coins.

Prosecutions - 0.
Criminal charges brought - 0.
Arrests - 0.

I'd say the hypothesis was pretty well tested.

Also, I have no idea why you wish to claim with absolute certainty that Bitcoin theft would be regarded as a criminal offense by every court in the world, despite a lack of evidence for that point. You seem very passionate about this issue, to the point of being quite rude to those who disagree with you. Your passion makes me wonder if your conviction is based more on a kind of "Bitcoin zeal" rather than an intellectual conclusion that you have reached. The fact you make grandiose claims based on your assumptions (such as "Bitcoin theft would be recognized as theft by any country with a functioning legal system") makes me further question the rigor of your thought processes. Also, please forgive me if this sounds rude, but I've noticed you have problems with comprehension and a lack of critical faculties.

There are a few people on this forum who are so enamored with Bitcoin that they refuse to acknowledge has any shortcomings whatsoever, and they become irate when confronted with evidence to the contrary. From reading your post in this thread I believe you fall into this category, so there's not really much point in engaging with you. It would be like asking the Pope to consider the merits of open minded Agnosticism.



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 19, 2012, 12:36:14 PM
This thread is, to my mind, the perfect example of the problems created by dogmatic belief in magical papers. 
Yeap, reminds of the scientific discussions in "The Name of the Rose" the movie. Although I would disagree about the real underlying questions being asked here!

Where I'm from (Ireland), a very old law was uncovered recently that technically made it legal to steal bread, milk, sugar & tea, it basically says you can't be charged in court for stealing any of these.
Actually this is a good point to start from.

A man stealing a loaf of bread.
Stealing of bread is also a self defense. The thief is defending his physical health and integrity of their body because without food he will die.

Justification of the above leads to next.

A woman stealing a pair of stockings.
This is also a self defense as she is a kleptomaniac.  She is defending her mental health, because without that she will go crazy.

Justification of the above leads to next.

A nation stealing other nation resources.
This is also a self defense as this nation is trying to defend their way of life and standard of living.

Hope, now you see where all that might go?


Stealing bitcoins is not a crime....  but there is no way to 'steal' them without committing a crime.
IE you're not commiting theft when you take someone's bitcoins; you're commiting unauthorized computer access
So, a crime is not a crime unless you get caught?

Or even better... Stealing is not a crime if the thief is authorized to steal your bitcoins? Authorized by whom? By the secret court authority that authorizes authorizers to authorize the authorized thieves?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 19, 2012, 01:16:36 PM
Stealing bitcoins is not a crime....  but there is no way to 'steal' them without committing a crime.
IE you're not commiting theft when you take someone's bitcoins; you're commiting unauthorized computer access
So, a crime is not a crime unless you get caught?

Or even better... Stealing is not a crime if the thief is authorized to steal your bitcoins? Authorized by whom? By the secret court authority that authorizes authorizers to authorize the authorized thieves?

What the heck are you going on about?
If someone hacks your game account and deletes your avatar is it murder?  No but it's still illegal because hacking is illegal.

Taking someone's bitcoins may superficially match the common usage of the word stealing, but almost no court has taken that postion and I've tried to provide clear legal reasons why.  That however doesn't negates the fact it is still a crime to do so.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 19, 2012, 05:13:55 PM
I'd say the hypothesis was pretty well tested.

Lack of filed charges does not mean a crime hasn't been committed. No matter what type of crime.

Also, I have no idea why you wish to claim with absolute certainty that Bitcoin theft would be regarded as a criminal offense by every court in the world, despite a lack of evidence for that point.

Because of the very real court decisions I've linked to when it comes to the most similar cases available? Or maybe evidence is only evidence when it supports your opinion.

Quote
Finnish police are investigating up to 400 cases of theft, with some members reporting the loss of up to €1000 (£840) worth of virtual furniture and other items, according to Detective Sergeant Marko Levonen.

"We have done five home searches in five cities in Finland," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10207486

Quote
"The criminal judge effectively found that those poker chips were property and therefore they were capable of being stolen.

Even though the terms and conditions said they are not property, the judge found that because people put value in them they must have some sort of legal status.

Even more recently than that, the Dutch Supreme Court has recently found that when one user took away virtual items from another user without authorisation that constituted criminal theft.

So both of those cases involved the finding the virtual goods had legal status or were even property." - Jas Purewal, interactive entertainment lawyer

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3466221.htm

There's plenty of support for the opinion that Bitcoin theft would be prosecuted as theft. There's very little (none, actually) to support it wouldn't. Your rudeness aside.



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on November 19, 2012, 05:21:20 PM
It is taking something of value that does not belong to you.  Of course it is theft!  Any judge trying to rule otherwise would be out of their mind.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 19, 2012, 06:15:12 PM
Are you out of your fucking tree?
Jesus, what is wrong with you?

This is the standard "SHUT UP ABOUT THE QUESTION" of the religious believer.  As such, I will ignore it.

If you want to live in a fantasy where the lawmy Scripture has no impact on your life, then please, go and live that fantasy elsewhere. Certainly don't come in here and accuse us of living in a fantasy for acknowledging realitythe pieces of paper we fervently believe in,  

Oh, believe me, I would in an instant... if it wasn't for the fact that the entire planet is infested with brainwashed idiots who, like you, are willing to ruin, cage, brutalize or murder anyone who disbelieves ("doesn't acknowledge" in your religious parlance) the Scripture you worship and analyze in your Bible Study threads...

...which, frankly, are an eyesore that lead nowhere.  If you wanted an answer to your stupid question, instead of trying to read the tea leaves of your Scripture, you should go and talk to one of your priests (I believe they are called "judges" or "lawyers" in your dogma), asking them for the Revealed Truth.

you slowly melting cum-popsicle of a man.

Religious-fueled anger all over again.  Not surprised.

That said, you're now on my ignore list for your gratuituous emotionally violent verbal abuse tirade.  Emotionally unstable individuals like you, who explode when someone questions their dogma, don't deserve the privilege of addressing decent humans.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 19, 2012, 06:27:36 PM
...which, frankly, are an eyesore that lead nowhere.  If you wanted an answer to your stupid question, instead of trying to read the tea leaves of your Scripture, you should go and talk to one of your priests (I believe they are called "judges" or "lawyers" in your dogma), asking them for the Revealed Truth.

Haha man what a weirdo.  :D


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 19, 2012, 06:38:21 PM
I'd say the hypothesis was pretty well tested.

Lack of filed charges does not mean a crime hasn't been committed. No matter what type of crime.
It does when you can't point to any.  Sodomy laws for example... yah no one -really- enforces them anymore (and would probably be thrown out if they tried) but there is plenty of cases that one can point to that it is in fact illegal to do so.
You can't do that with digital item theft.  The best I was able to find is one case of domain name theft that might have set some applicable law... but the guy pled out and there was no appeals so it didn't actually set any precedent.


Also, I have no idea why you wish to claim with absolute certainty that Bitcoin theft would be regarded as a criminal offense by every court in the world, despite a lack of evidence for that point.

Because of the very real court decisions I've linked to when it comes to the most similar cases available? Or maybe evidence is only evidence when it supports your opinion.

Quote
Finnish police are investigating up to 400 cases of theft, with some members reporting the loss of up to €1000 (£840) worth of virtual furniture and other items, according to Detective Sergeant Marko Levonen.

"We have done five home searches in five cities in Finland," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10207486

Quote
"The criminal judge effectively found that those poker chips were property and therefore they were capable of being stolen.

Even though the terms and conditions said they are not property, the judge found that because people put value in them they must have some sort of legal status.

Even more recently than that, the Dutch Supreme Court has recently found that when one user took away virtual items from another user without authorisation that constituted criminal theft.

So both of those cases involved the finding the virtual goods had legal status or were even property." - Jas Purewal, interactive entertainment lawyer

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3466221.htm

There's plenty of support for the opinion that Bitcoin theft would be prosecuted as theft. There's very little (none, actually) to support it wouldn't. Your rudeness aside.

First off I don't know the rest of the world's law so I'm sticking with American.

Secondly you can't just posted news links and go AHH HA got you.
I said charged and convicted... the cops are not law experts and can arrest you for whatever they want to.  What the prosecutor charges someone with and more importantly what the judge actually rules on is what really matters.  That's what you need to see.  Not some reporter or street cop saying 'sounds like theft'

Thirdly even that link you posted I can show the profound misunderstanding surrounding your use of the word theft.
Lets take a look at some of the details.

Quote
"The criminal judge effectively found that those poker chips were property and therefore they were capable of being stolen.

Even though the terms and conditions said they are not property, the judge found that because people put value in them they must have some sort of legal status.
Wow what a great sound bite!... hmm but wait.. it doesn't say what is actual crime was does it?  Stolen property.. yah yah what ever

TO GOOGLE!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/04/zynga-poker-chips-hacker-pleads-guilty_n_818288.html
"Charged with violating the Computer Misuse Act, Mitchell issued his guilty plea to Exeter Crown Court's Judge Philip Wassall, who said that Mitchell could face years behind bars for the theft"

http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/15706/hacker-steals-virtual-poker-chips-from-online-gaming-firm/
"At Exeter Crown Court, Ashley Mitchell pleaded guilty to five charges brought under the UK's Computer Misuse Act and the Proceeds from Crime Act"

http://socialtimes.com/want-to-steal-from-zynga-think-again-poker-thief-caught_b41057
"Ashley Mitchell, the infamous Zynga Poker hacker, plead guilty last week to multiple charges under the Computer Misuse Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act for stealing online poker chips in large amounts. However, according to sources, further information has come forth from a late witness."

Hmmm telling isn't it?  And I don't even know anything about British law but the fact he wasn't charged with theft but charged with computer crimes says something.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 19, 2012, 06:42:45 PM
Because of the very real court decisions I've linked to when it comes to the most similar cases available? Or maybe evidence is only evidence when it supports your opinion.

I don't have an opinion on this matter yet. I think that it's impossible to determine based on the information available.

I think there are a few countries where it may very well be a crime, and a few court decisions in a few countries makes it look likely.

I think to say that similar cases in a few countries = a specific truth in all countries is pretty nuts.

The fact you are 100% sure of this, despite the lack of specific evidence, leads me to believe that your conviction is based on zeal rather than any kind of intellectual analysis. It's based 100% on assumption, and yet you defend it to the death as an absolute truth. Bizarre.

Lack of filed charges does not mean a crime hasn't been committed. No matter what type of crime.

That's true. Lack of filed charges isn't proof of anything. It just seemed like you were saying to him "Oh you don't think stealing Bitcoins is a crime, do you? Well go and steal some coins, you won't get away with it!"

Which is ridiculous when so many people have gotten away with doing just that. Everyone who has ever stolen a coin has successfully gotten away with it. It's a 100% avoidance of prosecution rate.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 19, 2012, 07:36:26 PM
I said charged and convicted... the cops are not law experts and can arrest you for whatever they want to.  What the prosecutor charges someone with and more importantly what the judge actually rules on is what really matters.  That's what you need to see.  Not some reporter or street cop saying 'sounds like theft'

Quote
"The criminal judge effectively found that those poker chips were property and therefore they were capable of being stolen.

Even though the terms and conditions said they are not property, the judge found that because people put value in them they must have some sort of legal status.

(Quote from Jas Purewal - interactive entertainment lawyer)

TO GOOGLE!

Sure!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/04/zynga-poker-chips-hacker-pleads-guilty_n_818288.html
"Charged with violating the Computer Misuse Act, Mitchell issued his guilty plea to Exeter Crown Court's Judge Philip Wassall, who said that Mitchell could face years behind bars for the theft"

Hmmm telling isn't it?

Indeed :) He did a lot more than just stealing - and those offenses are covered under that act.

Quote
the court in the Ashley Mitchell case in effect confirmed that virtual currency is "property" requiring legal protection. The historical approach to virtual currency being a purely a matter of contract law is outdated

(Quote from an associate at Olswang law firm)

http://www.olswang.com/articles/2011/06/virtual-currency-blurring-the-boundaries-between-gaming-and-gambling/



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 19, 2012, 08:04:59 PM
I said charged and convicted... the cops are not law experts and can arrest you for whatever they want to.  What the prosecutor charges someone with and more importantly what the judge actually rules on is what really matters.  That's what you need to see.  Not some reporter or street cop saying 'sounds like theft'

Quote
"The criminal judge effectively found that those poker chips were property and therefore they were capable of being stolen.

Even though the terms and conditions said they are not property, the judge found that because people put value in them they must have some sort of legal status.

(Quote from Jas Purewal - interactive entertainment lawyer)

TO GOOGLE!

Sure!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/04/zynga-poker-chips-hacker-pleads-guilty_n_818288.html
"Charged with violating the Computer Misuse Act, Mitchell issued his guilty plea to Exeter Crown Court's Judge Philip Wassall, who said that Mitchell could face years behind bars for the theft"

Hmmm telling isn't it?

Indeed :) He did a lot more than just stealing - and those offenses are covered under that act.

Quote
the court in the Ashley Mitchell case in effect confirmed that virtual currency is "property" requiring legal protection. The historical approach to virtual currency being a purely a matter of contract law is outdated

(Quote from an associate at Olswang law firm)

http://www.olswang.com/articles/2011/06/virtual-currency-blurring-the-boundaries-between-gaming-and-gambling/

What part of Judge is unclear?
Why do you take the world of an associate from 'Oslwang law firm' over my word?  Because she wrote a blog entry?  Because she is saying what you want to hear?  Where are his words and not people interpreting them the way they want and do note that both your quotes use the words 'effectively' and 'in effect'.  Why the weasel words if what the judge said was so clear?

But you're still making the same mistake; you're trying to use plain usage of the words to extrapolate their legal meaning.  With out reading the ruling (does England not post them online for some reason?) you don't know the scope of what the judgment was saying.
Perhaps his ruling was limited only to the requirements of property with regards to prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act.


Edit: And more to the point... HE STILL WASN'T CHARGED WITH THEFT!


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 19, 2012, 08:44:12 PM
Why do you take the world of an associate from 'Oslwang law firm' over my word?

Amazing, isn't it?



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on November 19, 2012, 09:43:16 PM
I have no idea why you want to claim that theft of bitcoins isn't theft, but I suggest you put your hypothesis to the test if you're so sure of yourself.

He doesn't have to put it to the test. Hundreds of other people have done that for him. There have been hundreds, if not thousands of Bitcoin thefts over the years, amounting to millions of dollars worth of coins.

Prosecutions - 0.
Criminal charges brought - 0.
Arrests - 0.

I'd say the hypothesis was pretty well tested.


Number of tests of hypothesis: 0

You can hardly call that well-tested.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Serith on November 19, 2012, 09:56:47 PM
I hope I understand the basic principles of how Justice system works, and maybe I can contribute to the thread.

There is two core questions about Bitcoin:

1. Is it a property from Justice system point of view?
if it is
2. how to punish for stealing it?

Right now Bitcoin is beyond the scope of laws in most jurisdictions. The simplest way the scope can change is to declare through precedent or amending a law that bitcoin is property because it is. But, bitcoin, namecoin, litecoin etc. is a message that has core feature which differentiate it from any other type of message. Bitcoin is a record in distributed database that solves the Byzantine Generals' Problem (http://www.mail-archive.com/cryptography@metzdowd.com/msg09997.html). In another words it is a record in distributed database that is consistent among all it's users, and that's exactly the reason why it is possible for such record to have a value (http://paulbohm.com/articles/bitcoins-value-is-decentralization/). And it can be declared that record in such database is property, because that's what makes it different from WoW gold or EVE ISKs.

But, punishing for theft won't be easy because possibility of finding those responsible depends on how bitcoins were stolen e.g. a case where bitcoins were stolen by virus from a home computer is different from case when bitcoins were stolen by exchange operator who run away with it.


Also, it's not directly related to the topic but there is other laws related to property that could be enforced if it is possible to prove in court that specific bitcoin transaction happened between two parties, possible technical implementation by Gavin (https://gist.github.com/2217885).


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Nolo on November 19, 2012, 10:13:33 PM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 





Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Serith on November 19, 2012, 10:19:05 PM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 

Sure, it's better to have Kings Rule without all this legal nonsense. /sarcasm


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on November 19, 2012, 10:53:52 PM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 
I think in instances like this, people just need to take a step back and think about the purpose of laws, and what the reasonable thing to do would be.  Is it reasonable to allow someone to get away with stealing other people's Bitcoins?  No.  Therefore, a law will be enacted against such theft, if one does not already exist that can be reasonably applied.

Whether a law currently exists or not is largely irrelevant - a law (or at the very least, a new precedent by judgement) will be created if necessary to ensure people's bitcoins are not stolen.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Nolo on November 19, 2012, 10:59:46 PM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars.  

Sure, it's better to have Kings Rule without all this legal nonsense. /sarcasm

The overwhelming majority of what has been spouted in this thread is legal nonsense, put forth by people who have no legal education whatsoever.  

For those of us who do have a legal education, and quite a bit of experience in the courtroom, the issue is as clear as can be.  Bitcoins are intangible property.  Any jackassery that tries to claim, "but you're really only stealing a key, and yada yada yada", is just that. Jackassery.  Explain that theory to a judge and let me know how that works out for you.  Their eyes will glaze over.  

If you remove intangible property from its rightful owner without their consent, with the intent to permanently deprive them of that intangible property you have committed theft.  

There really isn't any need to pass any additional laws to cover this subject.  


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Serith on November 19, 2012, 11:50:11 PM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 
I think in instances like this, people just need to take a step back and think about the purpose of laws, and what the reasonable thing to do would be.  Is it reasonable to allow someone to get away with stealing other people's Bitcoins?  No.  Therefore, a law will be enacted against such theft, if one does not already exist that can be reasonably applied.

Whether a law currently exists or not is largely irrelevant - a law (or at the very least, a new precedent by judgement) will be created if necessary to ensure people's bitcoins are not stolen.

The discussion is about is it possible and if it is then how, it is not as simple as:
Therefore, a law will be enacted against such theft


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on November 20, 2012, 02:12:21 AM
For those of us who do have a legal education, and quite a bit of experience in the courtroom

What type of legal practice are you involved in Nolo? Just for the sake of my own curiosity.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 20, 2012, 02:13:32 AM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 





Exactamundo. It is like sitting on a Byzantine council surrounded by goats baleetin', deciding what part of what doctrine is valid without consulting priests.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 20, 2012, 02:15:50 AM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 

Sure, it's better to have Kings Rule without all this legal nonsense. /sarcasm

Yeah straw man and sarcasm, throw in a bone and you got a stew going baby. (But not a rational argument)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Serith on November 20, 2012, 03:16:46 AM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 

Sure, it's better to have Kings Rule without all this legal nonsense. /sarcasm

Yeah straw man and sarcasm, throw in a bone and you got a stew going baby. (But not a rational argument)

Apparently, my argument about "Kings Rule" is not as obvious as I thought and requires farther explanation.

By common sense bitcoin is property, but a verdict can not be based on common sense or opinion because then it's not law but Kings Rule. But, US Justice system based on precedential authority (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_law_(legal_system)), which means it resembles Kings Rule when presented with case that has no precedent. In most countries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_law_(legal_system)) justice system is not based on precedents, rather on written laws, which means that a judge can make a verdict only when situation matches law description. For example, court in France decided (http://bitcoinmagazine.net/a-recap-of-mega-corporate-and-government-attention-on-bitcoin-this-past-year/) that it is not qualified to determine if bitcoin is a currency or not because bitcoin is not described by a law that they know.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 20, 2012, 06:01:54 AM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 

Sure, it's better to have Kings Rule without all this legal nonsense. /sarcasm

Yeah straw man and sarcasm, throw in a bone and you got a stew going baby. (But not a rational argument)

Apparently, my argument about "Kings Rule" is not as obvious as I thought and requires farther explanation.

By common sense bitcoin is property, but a verdict can not be based on common sense or opinion because then it's not law but Kings Rule. But, US Justice system based on precedential authority (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_law_(legal_system)), which means it resembles Kings Rule when presented with case that has no precedent. In most countries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_law_(legal_system)) justice system is not based on precedents, rather on written laws, which means that a judge can make a verdict only when situation matches law description. For example, court in France decided (http://bitcoinmagazine.net/a-recap-of-mega-corporate-and-government-attention-on-bitcoin-this-past-year/) that it is not qualified to determine if bitcoin is a currency or not because bitcoin is not described by a law that they know.

Oh, good point, Roman Law countries have this "no law, no crime" fundamental principle, where existing statutes aren't to be interpreted by judges and then be registered as case law.

Just one more way in which law is just a collection of arbitrary opinions like any other Scripture :-)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: strideynet on November 20, 2012, 06:13:15 AM
You would,be surprised. Some judges interpret not convey the law.

And anyway is a law needed.

When a child grows up they are not taught law references rather just some rules.
No stealing
No hurting
Etc etc.

When a child grows up he doesn't know no hurting is assault.


What is saying is its the few main laws. They probably don't even need to exist in the law books.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 20, 2012, 06:18:23 AM
If you remove intangible property from its rightful owner without their consent, with the intent to permanently deprive them of that intangible property you have committed theft.  
Stealing bicoins is a theft, no doubt. But it is not that simple, Nolo.

The complexity comes from the public/private nature of bitcoin as digital asset. You can not 'remove' bitcoins from its owner because bitcoins do not move. They stay on the blockchain. The blockchain is a public property!

Also, who is the 'rightful' owner? The complexity comes from the fact that the private key gives you this right and nothing else! There is no third party keeping records about rightful owners. Remember, the private key IS the right. If you have the private key you have the right!

Another aspect is how the rightful owner will prove in court that they are deprived of their private key against their will? In fact, this would be the most difficult practical question to deal with.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on November 20, 2012, 05:07:08 PM
I'm guilty of posting in it, but this whole thread is asinine.  Dozens of hypothesis of why stealing bitcoins wouldn't be illegal based on technicalities of what a bitcoin is by armchair legal scholars. 
I think in instances like this, people just need to take a step back and think about the purpose of laws, and what the reasonable thing to do would be.  Is it reasonable to allow someone to get away with stealing other people's Bitcoins?  No.  Therefore, a law will be enacted against such theft, if one does not already exist that can be reasonably applied.

Whether a law currently exists or not is largely irrelevant - a law (or at the very least, a new precedent by judgement) will be created if necessary to ensure people's bitcoins are not stolen.

Laws do not just appear out of thin air by themselves. They require people to write them. We should encourage our representatives to write laws that make it clear that stealing bitcoins is illegal, and have them do it sooner rather than later.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: justusranvier on November 20, 2012, 05:18:51 PM
We should encourage our representatives to write laws
No.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on November 20, 2012, 05:38:53 PM
We should encourage our representatives to write laws
No.
Could we ask them to clarify existing laws then? Isn't that what they are there for?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 20, 2012, 11:47:54 PM
We should encourage our representatives to write laws
No.

Seconded.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 20, 2012, 11:49:00 PM
We should encourage our representatives to write laws
No.
Could we ask them to clarify existing laws then? Isn't that what they are there for?

No.  They are there to prey on you.  The whole "representatives are there to write just laws and defend the people" is just an *excuse* to prey on unsuspecting people who believe what these sociopaths say.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on November 21, 2012, 05:23:59 PM
We should encourage our representatives to write laws
No.
Could we ask them to clarify existing laws then? Isn't that what they are there for?

No.  They are there to prey on you.  The whole "representatives are there to write just laws and defend the people" is just an *excuse* to prey on unsuspecting people who believe what these sociopaths say.

Maybe we could ask them to remove the laws we don't like then?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 21, 2012, 10:30:52 PM
We should encourage our representatives to write laws
No.
Could we ask them to clarify existing laws then? Isn't that what they are there for?

No.  They are there to prey on you.  The whole "representatives are there to write just laws and defend the people" is just an *excuse* to prey on unsuspecting people who believe what these sociopaths say.

Maybe we could ask them to remove the laws we don't like then?

You can always ask.  Meanwhile, the people who profit from these laws will give them millions of dollars to keep them there.  The result will be that the laws will be intensified rather than removed.

Say you ask lawmakers to remove corn subsidies (because, uh, HFCS is poisoning people as we speak).  The expected benefit for you, when risk is factored in, is on the order of a couple of cents or dollars, for a few hours of your time.  Why would you even ask, then?  But if you are a corn farmer who depends on those subsidies... well, you stand to lose millions of dollars if someone else asks lawmakers to remove corn subsidies.  Millions of dollars.  That will surely prompt you to give ~50K to the lawmakers' bribe coffers campaign fund.

What do you think the lawmaker is going to do?  Do you think he will, on principle, remove the laws?  OR do you think he's going to rationalize the corn farmer's corn-pone opinion and make it his own?

If you need practical answers to this question, look at the laws regarding corn subsidies today.

It's the standard concentrated vs diffuse incentives problem.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on November 21, 2012, 11:07:07 PM
If you remove intangible property from its rightful owner without their consent, with the intent to permanently deprive them of that intangible property you have committed theft.  
Stealing bicoins is a theft, no doubt. But it is not that simple, Nolo.

The complexity comes from the public/private nature of bitcoin as digital asset. You can not 'remove' bitcoins from its owner because bitcoins do not move. They stay on the blockchain. The blockchain is a public property!

Also, who is the 'rightful' owner? The complexity comes from the fact that the private key gives you this right and nothing else! There is no third party keeping records about rightful owners. Remember, the private key IS the right. If you have the private key you have the right!

Another aspect is how the rightful owner will prove in court that they are deprived of their private key against their will? In fact, this would be the most difficult practical question to deal with.
I completely disagree.  I own the bitcoins in my wallet just as much as I own my plot of land according to county records or the dollars in my bank account according to my bank.  It doesn't matter that the blockchain is made public.  If someone stole my password to my bank account, they might have access to my funds, but that doesn't give them a right to my funds.  Neither would the theft of my private keys give them a right to my bitcoins.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 21, 2012, 11:14:30 PM
If you remove intangible property from its rightful owner without their consent, with the intent to permanently deprive them of that intangible property you have committed theft.  
Stealing bicoins is a theft, no doubt. But it is not that simple, Nolo.

The complexity comes from the public/private nature of bitcoin as digital asset. You can not 'remove' bitcoins from its owner because bitcoins do not move. They stay on the blockchain. The blockchain is a public property!

Also, who is the 'rightful' owner? The complexity comes from the fact that the private key gives you this right and nothing else! There is no third party keeping records about rightful owners. Remember, the private key IS the right. If you have the private key you have the right!

Another aspect is how the rightful owner will prove in court that they are deprived of their private key against their will? In fact, this would be the most difficult practical question to deal with.
I completely disagree.  I own the bitcoins in my wallet just as much as I own my plot of land according to county records or the dollars in my bank account according to my bank.  It doesn't matter that the blockchain is made public.  If someone stole my password to my bank account, they might have access to my funds, but that doesn't give them a right to my funds.  Neither would the theft of my private keys give them a right to my bitcoins.

Well said.  While possession is nine tenths of ownership, that other ten percent is god damn important.  All too often people think that, just because some piece of paper was written, or because someone gained possession of your stuff, suddenly you have lost any entitlement to keep and protect what was yours.  That is, of course, ridiculous, because it's a horrible confusion between what is and what ought to be.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: legitnick on November 26, 2012, 01:25:34 AM
Only if you get caught ;)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Bitcoin Oz on November 26, 2012, 01:33:57 AM
It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on November 26, 2012, 05:29:44 PM
It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.



Could you expand on the idea that "theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins"? What if somebody takes your cash, wouldn't you expect the state to make them give it back? Or if somebody takes off with your car? How is bitcoin any different?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on November 26, 2012, 05:41:59 PM
It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.
What are you talking about?  The court could order them to pay me, and that's that.  If he refuses, and his wallet is password protected or otherwise inaccessible to others, then he stays in jail until he changes his mind.

The argument might be true that you cannot force a person to send Bitcoins back to their rightful owner if they have a strong password on their wallet, but you can certainly "encourage" a person to do so, and that's a far cry from "there's nothing you can do".


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 26, 2012, 06:17:24 PM
I completely disagree.  I own the bitcoins in my wallet just as much as I own my plot of land according to county records or the dollars in my bank account according to my bank.  It doesn't matter that the blockchain is made public.  If someone stole my password to my bank account, they might have access to my funds, but that doesn't give them a right to my funds.  Neither would the theft of my private keys give them a right to my bitcoins.
You can disagree, of course, but in both your examples (land ownership and bank account) there is a third party keeping independent records about who is the rightful owner. There is no third party in bitcoin, If you have the private key you have the bitcoin. This is why in bitcoin the private key IS the right!


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Serith on November 26, 2012, 06:45:26 PM
It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.
What are you talking about?  The court could order them to pay me, and that's that.  If he refuses, and his wallet is password protected or otherwise inaccessible to others, then he stays in jail until he changes his mind.

The argument might be true that you cannot force a person to send Bitcoins back to their rightful owner if they have a strong password on their wallet, but you can certainly "encourage" a person to do so, and that's a far cry from "there's nothing you can do".

It is easy to leave no trace when stealing bitcoins, there will be no one for court to prosecute. Of course you can sacrifice liberty and make every transaction traceable to a person, but the side effects of the cure will be worst then the disease.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 26, 2012, 07:36:15 PM
You can disagree, of course, but in both your examples (land ownership and bank account) there is a third party keeping independent records about who is the rightful owner. There is no third party in bitcoin, If you have the private key you have the bitcoin. This is why in bitcoin the private key IS the right!

You're absolutely correct, of course. That's why no one has ever been convicted of stealing cash.

*sigh*


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: bitcoinbear on November 26, 2012, 09:40:44 PM
You can disagree, of course, but in both your examples (land ownership and bank account) there is a third party keeping independent records about who is the rightful owner. There is no third party in bitcoin, If you have the private key you have the bitcoin. This is why in bitcoin the private key IS the right!

You're absolutely correct, of course. That's why no one has ever been convicted of stealing cash.

*sigh*


Haven't they?

Oh wait, are you being sarcastic?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 26, 2012, 09:48:23 PM
What if somebody takes your cash, wouldn't you expect the state to make them give it back? Or if somebody takes off with your car? How is bitcoin any different?


http://i.minus.com/jeclRcq1T54ZW.png
The State will surely deliver.  Let's just wait.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Bitcoin Oz on November 26, 2012, 09:58:06 PM
It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.



Could you expand on the idea that "theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins"? What if somebody takes your cash, wouldn't you expect the state to make them give it back? Or if somebody takes off with your car? How is bitcoin any different?

Anyone who has ever been burgled will tell you about waiting 6 hours for the cops to show. The only time I ever got my money back was having contents insurance, not from the state. Now think about how they are going to find some random hacker in russia who steals your coins.
Now if you can have your bitcoins insured then and only then do you stand a chance.

If you get mugged on the street there is a possibility a camera saw it happen and that the thief is a local. Tell me exactly how the state can do fucking anything at all about stolen bitcoins ?

If the only excuse for the state to exist is the protection of property what is the excuse in a world where that is impossible ?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 26, 2012, 10:07:29 PM
It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.



Could you expand on the idea that "theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins"? What if somebody takes your cash, wouldn't you expect the state to make them give it back? Or if somebody takes off with your car? How is bitcoin any different?

Anyone who has ever been burgled will tell you about waiting 6 hours for the cops to show. The only time I ever got my money back was having contents insurance, not from the state. Now think about how they are going to find some random hacker in russia who steals your coins.
Now if you can have your bitcoins insured then and only then do you stand a chance.

If you get mugged on the street there is a possibility a camera saw it happen and that the thief is a local. Tell me exactly how the state can do fucking anything at all about stolen bitcoins ?

If the only excuse for the state to exist is the protection of property what is the excuse in a world where that is impossible ?

Take the State to the backyard and shoot it in the back of the head.  That is what Bitcoin already did.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on November 26, 2012, 10:17:09 PM
I completely disagree.  I own the bitcoins in my wallet just as much as I own my plot of land according to county records or the dollars in my bank account according to my bank.  It doesn't matter that the blockchain is made public.  If someone stole my password to my bank account, they might have access to my funds, but that doesn't give them a right to my funds.  Neither would the theft of my private keys give them a right to my bitcoins.
You can disagree, of course, but in both your examples (land ownership and bank account) there is a third party keeping independent records about who is the rightful owner. There is no third party in bitcoin, If you have the private key you have the bitcoin. This is why in bitcoin the private key IS the right!
If the rightful owner can be proven, however, then there would be a case against the one who has stolen the funds.  Rightful ownership could potentially be proven by showing a transaction with another person.  For example, if I sold a laptop to someone, and they sent the funds to 18tkn, then I could prove that those funds sent to 18tkn do indeed belong to me.

I guess the argument you are attempting to make is that a court couldn't determine who stole from who, or who originally owned the private key.  I'd say that some sort of "first use" doctrine could become a standard for that sort of determination.  If I can prove that I used a particular address before someone else, then I am the proven owner of that address.


It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.
What are you talking about?  The court could order them to pay me, and that's that.  If he refuses, and his wallet is password protected or otherwise inaccessible to others, then he stays in jail until he changes his mind.

The argument might be true that you cannot force a person to send Bitcoins back to their rightful owner if they have a strong password on their wallet, but you can certainly "encourage" a person to do so, and that's a far cry from "there's nothing you can do".

It is easy to leave no trace when stealing bitcoins, there will be no one for court to prosecute. Of course you can sacrifice liberty and make every transaction traceable to a person, but the side effects of the cure will be worst then the disease.
Again, that is a far cry from "there's nothing you can do".  It's like saying there's nothing a store owner can do when someone steals cash from their store.  Well, sure, they have a lot they can do.  They can look at the evidence (fingerprints, security camera footage, etc), potentially find the perpetrator, and prosecute them.  Same thing if someone steals your Bitcoins - look at the evidence, find the perp, and prosecute.

If the perp is good at covering their tracks (which most are), THEN there's nothing you can really do, but saying there's nothing you can do as a catch-all to all Bitcoin thefts is plain wrong.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Lurk on November 26, 2012, 11:43:08 PM
Do any of you actually think a government is going to make laws to protect bitcoin users?

Many people use it to launder money, sell drugs and support terrorists. Anonymously.

Bitcoin is the governments worst nightmare.

I had the understanding that bitcoin was an underground currency void of big bank and government regulations.

If you want rules and laws stick to paypal.

The only laws that will be put in place for bitcoin will be punishment laws not protection laws.

I'm sure the laws will fall under homeland security or anti-terrorist laws.

As far as theft, how would you value the bitcoins?  Tell the judge that mt.gox says they are worth $12 a piece? Who is mt.gox really?

The beauty of bitcoin is that it is unregulated and not bound by laws.

It may not be morally right to steal bitcoins but if you think laws will be made to favor bitcoin users you are sadly mistaken.

just my opinion...i have no facts.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 27, 2012, 02:53:21 AM
If the only excuse for the state to exist is the protection of property what is the excuse in a world where that is impossible ?
If you think the only reason the state exists is the protecting of property you're doing it wrong.

Do any of you actually think a government is going to make laws to protect bitcoin users?

Many people use it to launder money, sell drugs and support terrorists. Anonymously.

Bitcoin is the governments worst nightmare.

I had the understanding that bitcoin was an underground currency void of big bank and government regulations.

If you want rules and laws stick to paypal.

The only laws that will be put in place for bitcoin will be punishment laws not protection laws.

I'm sure the laws will fall under homeland security or anti-terrorist laws.

As far as theft, how would you value the bitcoins?  Tell the judge that mt.gox says they are worth $12 a piece? Who is mt.gox really?

The beauty of bitcoin is that it is unregulated and not bound by laws.

It may not be morally right to steal bitcoins but if you think laws will be made to favor bitcoin users you are sadly mistaken.

just my opinion...i have no facts.
Of course there are laws to protect bitcoins.  Just not theft laws. ;)
And determining value would be the least of the problems in establishing a case.
I steal baseball cards worth 12 dollars a piece?  Who says; sportscards.com?  Who is sportscards.com really.
The court system isn't dumb if you put your uncle buck on who says he would have paid a million dollars for your bitcoins they aren't going to accept that.
But mtgox.com moves like 500,000 dollars a day....  that's more then enough to establish a base value for stolen bitcoins.

And of course bitcoin is bound by laws....  Just ask the IRS if you think differently; I'm sure they'd be willing to give you an offical opinion if you really want one.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: defxor on November 27, 2012, 09:42:43 AM
Of course there are laws to protect bitcoins.  Just not theft laws. ;)

Repeating a falsehood does not make it true. Not even if you repeat it additional times. It just looks silly.




Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 27, 2012, 09:56:50 AM
Of course there are laws to protect bitcoins.  Just not theft laws. ;)

Repeating a falsehood does not make it true. Not even if you repeat it additional times. It just looks silly.
Why is it required of me to prove that something doesn't exist?
I have provided several examples of why such laws would be difficult to implement under existing statues.
But your camp has provided no laws that would protect digital items nor has it been able to point to a single case of prosecution of such a type of theft.
As far as I'm concerned the ball is squarely in your court.  'Show me the precedent'


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 27, 2012, 05:33:31 PM
In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 27, 2012, 06:25:35 PM
In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.

Really?  Who?  I've provide the only statue that might cover it; New Jersey's definition that includes information, data... but there have been no court rulings on what that means.
I mean if I look at your test in school technically I've stolen your answers... IE your information or data.  Do we really want that to be handled as theft?  So I'd want to see some rulings before one can really point to New Jersey and say 'AH HA!' and really that still leaves quite a few other states which don't have such specific protections in their laws.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on November 27, 2012, 07:05:13 PM
In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.

Really?  Who?  I've provide the only statue that might cover it; New Jersey's definition that includes information, data... but there have been no court rulings on what that means.
I mean if I look at your test in school technically I've stolen your answers... IE your information or data.  Do we really want that to be handled as theft?  So I'd want to see some rulings before one can really point to New Jersey and say 'AH HA!' and really that still leaves quite a few other states which don't have such specific protections in their laws.
Test scores don't have value, and it doesn't cost the person anything if you look.  That's a bad example compared to Bitcoin, which does have value and does cost the person something if you steal.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Lurk on November 27, 2012, 07:36:06 PM
Sure the test answers have value.

If there was a buyer for the answers it would give them value.

The only thing that gives bitcoin value is the fact that someone wants to buy them.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on November 27, 2012, 08:10:44 PM
In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.

Really?  Who?  I've provide the only statue that might cover it; New Jersey's definition that includes information, data... but there have been no court rulings on what that means.
I mean if I look at your test in school technically I've stolen your answers... IE your information or data.  Do we really want that to be handled as theft?  So I'd want to see some rulings before one can really point to New Jersey and say 'AH HA!' and really that still leaves quite a few other states which don't have such specific protections in their laws.
Test scores don't have value, and it doesn't cost the person anything if you look.  That's a bad example compared to Bitcoin, which does have value and does cost the person something if you steal.
A)Tests do have a value.  5 seconds of google finds a story of people paying 1500-2500 to cheat at the SAT.
B)It's not a perfect example but I was just trying to illustrate the dangerous of 'theft of information'
How about if you change the names on their test?  Now you've both deprived them of their test and taken something of value.  Happy?
(Not sure how that would be prosecuted though...  Probably fraud)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: becoin on November 27, 2012, 09:46:11 PM
You're absolutely correct, of course. That's why no one has ever been convicted of stealing cash.
Bitcoin is quite different from fiat cash. I hope nobody would argue this.

You might not be aware of but every time you use fiat cash either buying or selling stuff, you're actually entering into contractual obligation with the issuer of that currency (i.e., the central bank and government behind). The "serve and protect (rightful owner)" mantra is part of this contract.

If I'm using bitcoins, who is the issuer I'm entering into contractual obligation with?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: J-Norm on November 30, 2012, 09:04:52 PM
Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot pay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.

There are plenty of contracts that do not involve money at all.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on November 30, 2012, 09:16:29 PM
Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot pay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.

There are plenty of contracts that do not involve money at all.

Agreed.  "Legal tender" is a red herring.  Contracts -- defensible in courts oflaw -- may be entered into by any two or more people regarding promises of performance that do not need legal tender.

I don't know where these armchair lawyers appear, but they sure as fuck have no idea what the contents of their holy pieces of paper actually say.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: J-Norm on November 30, 2012, 11:57:01 PM
Test scores don't have value, and it doesn't cost the person anything if you look.  That's a bad example compared to Bitcoin, which does have value and does cost the person something if you steal.

Test scores certainly have value if you are trying to get certified for something. And if the class is graded on a curve then you are costing the person you steal from.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: chrisrico on December 01, 2012, 12:56:06 AM
Theft deprives someone use of the thing. Copying test scores or an mp3 file doesn't deprive the rightful owner use of it, thus, it is not theft. Spending someone else's bitcoins does deprive them use of it, thus it is theft.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on December 01, 2012, 08:12:14 AM
Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot pay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.

There are plenty of contracts that do not involve money at all.

Agreed.  "Legal tender" is a red herring.  Contracts -- defensible in courts oflaw -- may be entered into by any two or more people regarding promises of performance that do not need legal tender.

I don't know where these armchair lawyers appear, but they sure as fuck have no idea what the contents of their holy pieces of paper actually say.
Thank you two for bring up something posted over a month ago by someone that already admitted he's wrong.
I don't know where these armchair commenters appear, but they sure as fuck have no idea what the contents of this thread actually says.


Theft deprives someone use of the thing. Copying test scores or an mp3 file doesn't deprive the rightful owner use of it, thus, it is not theft. Spending someone else's bitcoins does deprive them use of it, thus it is theft.
You should try reading as well
....
A)Tests do have a value.  5 seconds of google finds a story of people paying 1500-2500 to cheat at the SAT.
B)It's not a perfect example but I was just trying to illustrate the dangerous of 'theft of information'
How about if you change the names on their test?  Now you've both deprived them of their test and taken something of value.  Happy?
(Not sure how that would be prosecuted though...  Probably fraud)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: J-Norm on December 02, 2012, 08:05:09 AM
Excuse me for having an opinion despite not passing the bar exam. Tell me, does being pompous come naturally to you or did you take lessons?


Probably as naturally as being a nutty does to you....

I agree. Being nutty comes very natural to me.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on December 04, 2012, 12:20:48 AM
In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.

Really?  Who?  I've provide the only statue that might cover it; New Jersey's definition that includes information, data... but there have been no court rulings on what that means.
I mean if I look at your test in school technically I've stolen your answers... IE your information or data.  Do we really want that to be handled as theft?  So I'd want to see some rulings before one can really point to New Jersey and say 'AH HA!' and really that still leaves quite a few other states which don't have such specific protections in their laws.
Test scores don't have value, and it doesn't cost the person anything if you look.  That's a bad example compared to Bitcoin, which does have value and does cost the person something if you steal.
A)Tests do have a value.  5 seconds of google finds a story of people paying 1500-2500 to cheat at the SAT.
B)It's not a perfect example but I was just trying to illustrate the dangerous of 'theft of information'
How about if you change the names on their test?  Now you've both deprived them of their test and taken something of value.  Happy?
(Not sure how that would be prosecuted though...  Probably fraud)
A) Test answers have value, sure.  But that isn't their normal usage, whereas the normal usage for Bitcoin is as a vehicle of value.  When someone thinks of test answers, they don't think of a way to make monetary transactions with other people.
B) If someone changed the name at the top of my test, and I wasn't able to set the record straight with the professor, I'd sue whoever changed it for everything I could.  I'd sue someone who stole my Bitcoins too.  So, what's your point?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on December 04, 2012, 04:10:00 AM
Rudd-O is the nutty one.

Congratulations!  With that gratuitous insult, you've earned yourself a speedy trip to my ignore list.

I recommend everyone else ignore reyals too (ignore link below his nickname).  Men who initiate insults do so because they can't reason.  Men who can't reason aren't worth your time.

Oh no I won't get to hear responses about magic paper, men in blue costumes, and the Byzantine council
However will I go on.  And yet... I'm the one who can't reason???

A) Test answers have value, sure.  But that isn't their normal usage, whereas the normal usage for Bitcoin is as a vehicle of value.  When someone thinks of test answers, they don't think of a way to make monetary transactions with other people.
B) If someone changed the name at the top of my test, and I wasn't able to set the record straight with the professor, I'd sue whoever changed it for everything I could.  I'd sue someone who stole my Bitcoins too.  So, what's your point?
What does normal usage have to do with anything?
A)Paintings normal usage is to be looked at... does that some how negate their value???? Baseball cards... ETC
B)Because a lawsuit != being charged with theft.  Which is the point I've been making since the start.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on December 04, 2012, 01:18:47 PM
of course stealing is illegal charlie content is just a nutcase thief casing the situation on how to do this the guy is a criminal - simple . . Hey CHarlie You Can get a Very siMple fucking Answer. . On Your stinking rertarted question Answer yourself this: Would you want to have it happen to you. . I suggest anyone to take note of Charlie " contents" IP address . .
It might come in handy later. . hm m?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on December 04, 2012, 04:45:50 PM
Rudd-O is the nutty one.

Congratulations!  With that gratuitous insult, you've earned yourself a speedy trip to my ignore list.

I recommend everyone else ignore reyals too (ignore link below his nickname).  Men who initiate insults do so because they can't reason.  Men who can't reason aren't worth your time.

Oh no I won't get to hear responses about magic paper, men in blue costumes, and the Byzantine council
However will I go on.  And yet... I'm the one who can't reason???

A) Test answers have value, sure.  But that isn't their normal usage, whereas the normal usage for Bitcoin is as a vehicle of value.  When someone thinks of test answers, they don't think of a way to make monetary transactions with other people.
B) If someone changed the name at the top of my test, and I wasn't able to set the record straight with the professor, I'd sue whoever changed it for everything I could.  I'd sue someone who stole my Bitcoins too.  So, what's your point?
What does normal usage have to do with anything?
A)Paintings normal usage is to be looked at... does that some how negate their value???? Baseball cards... ETC
B)Because a lawsuit != being charged with theft.  Which is the point I've been making since the start.

I like your new examples.
A) If someone steals paintings or baseball cards, they most certainly will be charged with theft!  Same with Bitcoins... it is something of value stolen, so they will be charged with theft!  I just think test answers is a bad example.
B) Fair enough, I did not realize this.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: J-Norm on December 04, 2012, 06:56:52 PM
...If someone steals paintings or baseball cards, they most certainly will be charged with theft!  Same with Bitcoins... it is something of value stolen, so they will be charged with theft...

I think the key word there is something. Painting and baseball cards are things. Is a bitcoin a thing?

I am sure it is illegal to steal them but it would probably fall under unauthorized access of a computer than theft laws.

There is no simple answer I think. To be frank it depends on where you live and even then some precedent setting case is likely to decide this rather than existing case law.

Bitcoin is really new. The only thing like it is online game money and stealing has always been part of the game rules. I know other countries have found differently but I think Canada/US lacks any real precedence.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: torac on December 04, 2012, 07:11:09 PM
It is illegal.
But it is very hard to trace bitcoins or almost impossible.
Also if you go to the police and tell them someone stole your bitcoins they don't even know what bitcoins are.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: kaerf on December 05, 2012, 08:22:25 AM
what is stealing?

if, on the tiny chance that I generate a private that collides with someone else's key and discover there is money in "my" wallet, do i have the right to transfer that money?

i've always been curious about this...

what if my generated private key is a small number that is easily brute force-able (e.g. 1 -> 1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm or 10000 -> 1Ahg5CRMjBNmdgF5kaEeux4ATY4qWq6Qpy)? is storing BTC in one of these addresses analogous to leaving cash on a public park bench?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on December 05, 2012, 09:15:58 AM
what is stealing?

if, on the tiny chance that I generate a private that collides with someone else's key and discover there is money in "my" wallet, do i have the right to transfer that money?

i've always been curious about this...

what if my generated private key is a small number that is easily brute force-able (e.g. 1 -> 1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm or 10000 -> 1Ahg5CRMjBNmdgF5kaEeux4ATY4qWq6Qpy)? is storing BTC in one of these addresses analogous to leaving cash on a public park bench?


To me this is like leaving money on the street. If you find it, it has been unhomesteaded, and thus yours.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: grondilu on December 05, 2012, 09:19:01 AM
what is stealing?

if, on the tiny chance that I generate a private that collides with someone else's key and discover there is money in "my" wallet, do i have the right to transfer that money?

i've always been curious about this...

what if my generated private key is a small number that is easily brute force-able (e.g. 1 -> 1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm or 10000 -> 1Ahg5CRMjBNmdgF5kaEeux4ATY4qWq6Qpy)? is storing BTC in one of these addresses analogous to leaving cash on a public park bench?


Assuming we can neglect RIPEMD-160 collisions, there are 2^160 ~ 10^48 possible bitcoin addresses.

As a comparaison, there are about 10^47 molecules of water on earth.

You can forget about bitcoin address collisions.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: kaerf on December 05, 2012, 06:25:28 PM

Assuming we can neglect RIPEMD-160 collisions, there are 2^160 ~ 10^48 possible bitcoin addresses.

As a comparaison, there are about 10^47 molecules of water on earth.

You can forget about bitcoin address collisions.

that was not the question/statement. however unlikely, it is still possible. i'm more interested in the philosophical side. discounting how unprobable the scenario is...is it stealing to use the BTC in a wallet if you created a new wallet and it magically had BTC in it already? i think most people would agree that if you received an unknown random transaction into your wallet, then you're free to use that BTC.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: J-Norm on December 05, 2012, 06:39:36 PM

To me this is like leaving money on the street. If you find it, it has been unhomesteaded, and thus yours.

Around here if you find money on the street and it is more than a certain amount you have to hold it for 90 days and advertise that you found it. Of course most people don't, but my point is in some areas finding money does not make it yours.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on December 05, 2012, 07:42:24 PM

To me this is like leaving money on the street. If you find it, it has been unhomesteaded, and thus yours.

Around here if you find money on the street and it is more than a certain amount you have to hold it for 90 days and advertise that you found it. Of course most people don't, but my point is in some areas finding money does not make it yours.

I empathize with your conclusion, though it is not correct.  Yes, there exist some papers that say "You must hold found money for 90 days and yadda yadda" where you live.  That doesn't mean that money you found which was clearly lost isn't yours.  What papers say, and what is, are two different things.  If a paper said "rape is not rape when perpetrated by a certain type of costumed person" ("Arizona penal code" up until a few years ago), a rape perpetrated by that person would still be rape.

Now don't get me wrong, I do think that the decent thing to do when finding a lost object is to attempt to return it to its original owner.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: J-Norm on December 05, 2012, 07:51:24 PM
I empathize with your conclusion, though it is not correct.  Yes, there exist some papers that say "You must hold found money for 90 days and yadda yadda" where you live.  That doesn't mean that money you found which was clearly lost isn't yours.  What papers say, and what is, are two different things.  If a paper said "rape is not rape when perpetrated by a certain type of costumed person" ("Arizona penal code" up until a few years ago), a rape perpetrated by that person would still be rape.

Now don't get me wrong, I do think that the decent thing to do when finding a lost object is to attempt to return it to its original owner.

I think you lost me at some point there. Not sure what you mean by "papers".

In Canada I beleive the order of operations is: Written law, precedent, British common law.

While I don't think we have a written law that says what to do with found money the very old common law practice of advertising the find and only returning upon accurate description of the lost valuable exists and has been upheld by precedence.

I think if stolen bitcoins went before a Canadian court and existing law could not be found related to it that a common law arguement could be made that depriving anyone of any type of value is stealing and a precendent could be set. This would be enforcable in the future and even retroactively even if a written law was never created.

But I am not a lawyer and that is just my novice understanding.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on December 05, 2012, 08:05:24 PM
How would a court know that you didn't just steal the private key, that you actually accidentally happened upon it?

IMO, the money is not yours, you did not work to acquire it and it was not purposefully given to you, you should not use it.  It belongs to someone else.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on December 06, 2012, 12:00:09 AM
Papers are what you call "laws".

Finding something unowned is an acceptable and ethical way to obtain property. The question is only how to determine whether something is unowned. That is not a question to be resolved by looking up opinions written on holy papers, but rather by reasoning from principle and material fact.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: reyals on December 06, 2012, 04:11:45 AM
I like your new examples.
A) If someone steals paintings or baseball cards, they most certainly will be charged with theft!  Same with Bitcoins... it is something of value stolen, so they will be charged with theft!  I just think test answers is a bad example.
B) Fair enough, I did not realize this.
paintings and baseball cards were examples were used to illustrate something that has value but is not specifically a value carrying object... like a test.
If you want better examples of bitcoin 'theft' I can make up plenty.
How about I logged into your computer and download your music collection. Not theft?  I think most can agree with that.
What if I delete them after downloading them?  Hmmm....?

B)That's always been my point.
'Stealing' bitcoins is a crime, but it's not theft.  It just seems most people don't seem to want to have a resonable discussion about the law and instead just want to keep shouting (in my best southpark imitation) 'THEY TOOK OUR JOBS BITCOINS'


Papers are what you call "laws".

Finding something unowned is an acceptable and ethical way to obtain property. The question is only how to determine whether something is unowned. That is not a question to be resolved by looking up opinions written on holy papers, but rather by reasoning from principle and material fact.
Which is why we in fact have courts and 'holy papers' as your views of reasoning and principle is likely to be quite removed from that of most peoples.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Jutarul on December 06, 2012, 04:44:58 AM
This thread was concluded a while ago:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=117551.msg1344538#msg1344538

Because bitcoins are not physical objects, they cannot really be stolen. However, there can be unauthorized access. Also by destroying access to the bitcoins of the original person, you are committing a form vandalism.

However, people should be excused for this misunderstanding. "Stealing" is the misleading term with which the media talks about these crimes:
http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/alerts/creditcard.htm

There's no way somebody can actually steal my credit card number. Is there?
The more correct terminology would be "compromised".

How about I logged into your computer and download your music collection. Not theft?  I think most can agree with that.
What if I delete them after downloading them?  Hmmm....?
vandalism...


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: J-Norm on December 06, 2012, 05:24:29 PM
Papers are what you call "laws".

Finding something unowned is an acceptable and ethical way to obtain property. The question is only how to determine whether something is unowned. That is not a question to be resolved by looking up opinions written on holy papers, but rather by reasoning from principle and material fact.

That is sort of how our common law/precedence system works. Even if a law is not written a judge can refer to common law or precedence and in the lack of either can set precedence based on "common sense". This is of course made moot if an actual law is drafted to cover the issue.

So even if stealing bitcoin is not against the law as it stands, it can still be found to be illegal in court.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: jl2035 on December 06, 2012, 10:58:59 PM
The problem is that "common sense" is different for different people.. I think there are not many judges that give a s**** about bitcoins.. :)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: SgtSpike on December 06, 2012, 11:12:29 PM
The problem is that "common sense" is different for different people.. I think there are not many judges that give a s**** about bitcoins.. :)
They may not give a s*** about your baseball card collection either, but that doesn't mean it's valueless if someone steals it.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Monster Tent on December 06, 2012, 11:13:59 PM
It's illegal. Scamming and stealing and hacking are all illegal. And if courts are stupid we explain the bitcoin.
They realise it has a large real world value. No law references the virtual currencies. But under the general 4 laws of society.
No stealing
No murder.
No terrorism.
No scamming.

How come the government can do all of those ?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rudd-O on December 07, 2012, 06:36:11 PM
It's illegal. Scamming and stealing and hacking are all illegal. And if courts are stupid we explain the bitcoin.
They realise it has a large real world value. No law references the virtual currencies. But under the general 4 laws of society.
No stealing
No murder.
No terrorism.
No scamming.

How come the government can do all of those ?

Because, you see, when they do it, they call these actions by different names, and write themselves permission to do these things in Holy Papers.  That totally makes it "okay" when they murder, pillage, extort, terrorize, kidnap and brutalize people.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Yuhfhrh on December 13, 2012, 05:17:58 AM
What about this: I generate a new address and it turns out it already has coins in it. Would sending those coins to another address be illegal?  :D


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: chrisrico on December 13, 2012, 04:46:25 PM
What about this: I generate a new address and it turns out it already has coins in it. Would sending those coins to another address be illegal?  :D

What about this: I buy a new lock and it turns out the key opens the door to someone else's home. Would moving things from that house to mine be illegal?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Yuhfhrh on December 14, 2012, 06:35:49 AM
What about this: I generate a new address and it turns out it already has coins in it. Would sending those coins to another address be illegal?  :D

What about this: I buy a new lock and it turns out the key opens the door to someone else's home. Would moving things from that house to mine be illegal?

Touché.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Jutarul on December 14, 2012, 08:16:03 AM
What about this: I generate a new address and it turns out it already has coins in it. Would sending those coins to another address be illegal?  :D

What about this: I buy a new lock and it turns out the key opens the door to someone else's home. Would moving things from that house to mine be illegal?
Wrong example.

You buy a new car, you drive home, you open the trunk and you find a huge gold bar. Finder's keepers.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Luno on December 14, 2012, 08:30:41 AM
Finding / discovering others money or property is not stealing, just keeping it is a crime. you have to make an effort to find the owner or turn it over to the authorities.

On the way home from a night out you find a girl intoxicated on the side walk. Would taking her home be kidnapping?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Foxpup on December 14, 2012, 08:58:53 AM
On the way home from a night out you find a girl intoxicated on the side walk. Would taking her home be kidnapping?
Of course not, that's just being a good citizen. Oh wait, you mean taking her to my home... What if I take her to my home first, then take her back to her home afterwards? Not stealing, just borrowing. ;)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: gocoinz on December 30, 2012, 04:51:51 PM
Do any of you actually think a government is going to make laws to protect bitcoin users?

Many people use it to launder money, sell drugs and support terrorists. Anonymously.

Bitcoin is the governments worst nightmare.

I had the understanding that bitcoin was an underground currency void of big bank and government regulations.

If you want rules and laws stick to paypal.

The only laws that will be put in place for bitcoin will be punishment laws not protection laws.

I'm sure the laws will fall under homeland security or anti-terrorist laws.

As far as theft, how would you value the bitcoins?  Tell the judge that mt.gox says they are worth $12 a piece? Who is mt.gox really?

The beauty of bitcoin is that it is unregulated and not bound by laws.

It may not be morally right to steal bitcoins but if you think laws will be made to favor bitcoin users you are sadly mistaken.

just my opinion...i have no facts.

I'm new to these boards but IMO this is the best post in this thread.

Governments can pass/change laws but will only do so if it's in their own interest and certainly not to help BTC gain ground. I reckon governments are happy to see BTC scams happen as it may tag this currency "unsafe" to the general public.

ot
I'm here because I find BTC a fascinating phenomenon and joined BTC guild just to have a taste of BTC mining using just my pc's gpu. The same day the pool was targeted by a ddos attack and another ocured the next day. Made me think who would be interested in hampering the mining operation. Wouldn't be rival miners would it?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: wachtwoord on December 30, 2012, 04:56:36 PM


There are also two countries where it may be a crime. In Japan a young man was arrested for "virtual mugging" in a game called Lineage 2. A Dutch teenager was also arrested for stealing virtual furniture in a visual chat environment called Habbo Hotel. However I can't find any information as to whether either of these arrests lead to prosecution and conviction. After the Dutch arrest a spokesperson for the company which developed Habbo Hotel said "It is theft because the items were bought with real money." So perhaps in Holland it is only illegal to steal coins which have been purchased and not mined.


I haven't read the entire thread but I and read about it in the paper. Basically if you forcefully take something from someone else (or force someone to give it to you) what represents value it's theft. What the company said is not relevant. (In the case the thieves physically threatened the boy to send them the virtual property).


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on December 30, 2012, 09:33:25 PM


There are also two countries where it may be a crime. In Japan a young man was arrested for "virtual mugging" in a game called Lineage 2. A Dutch teenager was also arrested for stealing virtual furniture in a visual chat environment called Habbo Hotel. However I can't find any information as to whether either of these arrests lead to prosecution and conviction. After the Dutch arrest a spokesperson for the company which developed Habbo Hotel said "It is theft because the items were bought with real money." So perhaps in Holland it is only illegal to steal coins which have been purchased and not mined.


I haven't read the entire thread but I and read about it in the paper. Basically if you forcefully take something from someone else (or force someone to give it to you) what represents value it's theft. What the company said is not relevant. (In the case the thieves physically threatened the boy to send them the virtual property).

I don't think you read even my entire first post. I am talking about fraud situations where people are tricked into willingly sending their coins, as I stated.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: wachtwoord on December 30, 2012, 11:24:05 PM
I didn't respond to that (because I'm not certain). I responded to you saying that the case would imply that in the Netherlands stealing mined coins is not illegal while stealing bought coins is. My response? No, that is utter nonsense.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on December 30, 2012, 11:26:29 PM
Why r you so interested in this charlie? What r you really trying to find out?   8)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on December 30, 2012, 11:39:10 PM
I didn't respond to that (because I'm not certain). I responded to you saying that the case would imply that in the Netherlands stealing mined coins is not illegal while stealing bought coins is. My response? No, that is utter nonsense.
Ok something being legal or not doesn't make it right or wrong something being Illegal doesn't make it right or wrong.  The people who decide what is legal or illegal  do not decide what universally is right or wrong . . They are not god. . the people who decide what is legal or illegal do not decide or influence the universal laws of what is right or wrong. . When something is taken from someone that doesn't belong to you you can very easily answer the question wether it is right or or wrong . . wether if you would have liked to have happened it to you.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: YipYip on December 30, 2012, 11:56:06 PM
I didn't respond to that (because I'm not certain). I responded to you saying that the case would imply that in the Netherlands stealing mined coins is not illegal while stealing bought coins is. My response? No, that is utter nonsense.
Ok something being legal or not doesn't make it right or wrong something being Illegal doesn't make it right or wrong.  The people who decide what is legal or illegal  do not decide what universally is right or wrong . . They are not god. . the people who decide what is legal or illegal do not decide or influence the universal laws of what is right or wrong. . When something is taken from someone that doesn't belong to you you can very easily answer the question wether it is right or or wrong . . wether if you would have liked to have happened it to you.

Ok had to get in on the action....lol

Getting somebody to send u coins would be a simple case of "FRAUD"

"Obtaining benefit by deception" in australian law ...

BTC\LTC is benefit by anybody's viewpoint

The fraudulent story used to get you to transfer the BTC is the crime....

BTC is the agreed method of payment...(BTC\LTC can easily be classified as shares/bonds/etc)

Case closed...



Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on December 31, 2012, 12:18:23 AM
I define stealing as a way of acquiring what s not your's .


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: CharlieContent on December 31, 2012, 10:53:01 PM
I didn't respond to that (because I'm not certain). I responded to you saying that the case would imply that in the Netherlands stealing mined coins is not illegal while stealing bought coins is. My response? No, that is utter nonsense.
Ok something being legal or not doesn't make it right or wrong something being Illegal doesn't make it right or wrong.  The people who decide what is legal or illegal  do not decide what universally is right or wrong . . They are not god. . the people who decide what is legal or illegal do not decide or influence the universal laws of what is right or wrong. . When something is taken from someone that doesn't belong to you you can very easily answer the question wether it is right or or wrong . . wether if you would have liked to have happened it to you.

You're an extremely dumb fuck Rob. Have a look at the name of this subsection of the forum. Now have a look at the name of the thread.

Now please have a think about whether this thread is about the morality of stealing, or whether it is discussing a legal issue.

You clearly cannot write, and it seems you have trouble with reading too. One wonders why you bother participating in a forum, since you are so poorly equipped to do so.

Happy new year you imbecile.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on January 01, 2013, 01:51:42 AM
 8)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: DannyHamilton on January 01, 2013, 07:20:03 AM
. . . Now have a look at the name of the thread
Now please have a think about whether this thread is about the morality of stealing, or whether it is discussing a legal issue . . .
It was a pretty dumb question to start with.

"Stealing" is the taking of another's property without legal right.  It is therefore illegal.

Now, if we are talking about providing the necessary bitcoin scripts to satisfy the requirements of a previous transaction output creating a situation where another person who thought they were the only one capable of providing those scripts can no longer do so and you still can for future transfer of control of the output . . .

Well, then that may or may not be illegal.  But if it is not illegal, then it is not stealing in which case you are no longer discussing whether "stealing" bitcoins is illegal. You are instead discussing whether some other non-stealing process is illegal.

Which brings us back to the original question: "Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?"

And back to the simple answer.  If there is an action that the judicial system decides to recognize as "stealing" bitcoins (or bitcoin "theft"), and you perform that action, then what you have done is illegal. Any other action that is determined not to be an act of "theft" or "stealing" may or may not be illegal, but also isn't part of a discussion about whether or not "stealing" is illegal.

As for whether any court has ever (or will ever) recognize any particular actions as bitcoin theft.  As far as I know, there has not been such a case tested in court.  As such it is quite difficult to know how any courts will act when presented with an opportunity to set a new precedent.  It will probably depend a lot on the specific facts of the case, and perhaps even more importantly the skill of the lawyers and the attitude of the particular judges deciding the case.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on January 02, 2013, 12:37:58 AM
Yeh it -was - a really dumb question. . The guy bangs 2 bricks together and thinks he's inventing fire. .


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on January 02, 2013, 02:25:34 AM
What about this: I generate a new address and it turns out it already has coins in it. Would sending those coins to another address be illegal?  :D

What are the odds of that happening ? ;)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: chrisrico on January 02, 2013, 05:41:08 AM
What about this: I generate a new address and it turns out it already has coins in it. Would sending those coins to another address be illegal?  :D

What are the odds of the happening ? ;)
Probably about the same as you generating a new address that happens to be the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on January 02, 2013, 08:11:57 AM
and you creating a response that would be irritating  :D
  :D


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: chrisrico on January 02, 2013, 11:12:40 AM
I didn't realize you wanted a numerical answer...

1 in 2^160, I think. (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Weaknesses#Generating_tons_of_addresses)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on January 02, 2013, 12:17:43 PM
i only read just read " creating tons of adresses"  and i'm not a mathmatician but .. is that one in two to the power of one hundred and sixty?


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Foxpup on January 02, 2013, 02:20:27 PM
i only read just read " creating tons of adresses"  and i'm not a mathmatician but .. is that one in two to the power of one hundred and sixty?
Yes. Or 1 in 1,461,501,637,330,902,918,203,684,832,716,283,019,655,932,542,976 if you prefer. ;) (Actually, it's <number of addresses that have coins> in 2^160 but it's still such long odds that it'll almost certainly never happen before the heat death of the universe.)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Rob E on January 02, 2013, 03:55:00 PM
Numbers are pretty fascinating ..   not likely to happen before the death of this universe..



That kinda puts things in perspective. Thats ahh pretty amazing.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: kcirazy on June 04, 2013, 07:35:36 AM
Numbers are pretty fascinating ..   not likely to happen before the death of this universe..
That kinda puts things in perspective. Thats ahh pretty amazing.
The chances are actually quite a bit higher than that. Those perfect odds depends on creating perfectly random numbers. We all know that no software is that perfect. And include brainwallets and you've already narrowed it down quite a bit more.

I think this whole discussion about stealing bitcoins is missing the fact that moving bitcoins is never stealing.
These are my arguments:

First:
The Blockchain and Bitcoin-protocol don't have an end-user license agreement, and the original inventor is not there to defend it. And it has been called an experiment many times. So basically you can use it any way you like. It has been said many times over: "Only invest time/money into Bitcoin you can afford to lose".

Second:
The entire premise of Bitcoin is to get away from trust in central authority deciding who own the money. Bitcoin even has the much adopted tag-line "In cryptography we trust" - So as long as you are following the mathematical rules, you are not stealing anything.
As Sathoshi has once said: "The owner of a coin is just whoever has its private key."
(E-mail from Satoshi: http://diyhpl.us/~bryan/irc/bitcoin-satoshi/email-p2presearch-2009-02-12-141802.txt)

Third:
(my personal opinion which doesn't match intellectual property laws)
Private keys can't be stolen. Imagine your car gets stolen, but it's still there in the morning (http://i.imgur.com/qHzvbbw.jpg)
But even with intellectual property, laws differ in various countries on how to prove it was your right before anybody elses.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Gareth Nelson on June 05, 2013, 06:32:46 AM
Of course stealing bitcoins is illegal.

Taking something that does not belong to you by force or by fraud is one of the things governments were put in place to stop.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obtaining_pecuniary_advantage_by_deception


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Jobe7 on June 05, 2013, 09:24:01 AM
Of course stealing bitcoins is illegal.

Taking something that does not belong to you by force or by fraud is one of the things governments were put in place to stop.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obtaining_pecuniary_advantage_by_deception

What he said. Anyone stealing Bitcoins from a Brit should and will be beaten with the arm of the UK Law.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: just_me on June 12, 2013, 06:27:43 AM


I think Gods laws say 'you shall not steal'.

People who do not believe in God, may think they are not under Gods laws, but in fact, according to some interpretations of the holy bible, their non-belief means that they are under Gods laws, though they do not think they are.

Whereas, those who have faith in Jesus Christ, are not under the law, or may not be under the law.

To the non-believer, they may find this hard to understand.

Stealing is always against Gods laws.

Specific states or governments or kings or queens in various locations may not have created specific laws at times; but people who do evil are having impunity. Just because a state or government did not create a specific law, does not mean it is not against the law to steal.

But judgments may deviate depending on many different factors. Some lawyers might cling to the fact that the state failed to create any specific laws for a matter, and might win, I think this is possible but I don't really know.

But Gods laws are always that you shall not steal. To be on the safe side, don't steal.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Gareth Nelson on June 12, 2013, 08:07:35 AM


I think Gods laws say 'you shall not steal'.

People who do not believe in God, may think they are not under Gods laws, but in fact, according to some interpretations of the holy bible, their non-belief means that they are under Gods laws, though they do not think they are.

Whereas, those who have faith in Jesus Christ, are not under the law, or may not be under the law.

To the non-believer, they may find this hard to understand.

Stealing is always against Gods laws.

Specific states or governments or kings or queens in various locations may not have created specific laws at times; but people who do evil are having impunity. Just because a state or government did not create a specific law, does not mean it is not against the law to steal.

But judgments may deviate depending on many different factors. Some lawyers might cling to the fact that the state failed to create any specific laws for a matter, and might win, I think this is possible but I don't really know.

But Gods laws are always that you shall not steal. To be on the safe side, don't steal.

Basic ethics is all that's needed to understand stealing is wrong, no god or religion is needed, nor is a state needed.

The question asked by the OP was "Is stealing bitcoins illegal?" which was pretty clearly a reference to secular laws passed by the state, it should be painfully obvious that stealing is against any civilised person's ethics and against most religious laws.

I am curious though, how does this bit make sense?
Quote
Whereas, those who have faith in Jesus Christ, are not under the law, or may not be under the law.

From my understanding of christian mythology, "god's laws" would bind believer and unbeliever alike and you're the first christian i've come across to imply otherwise.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: Foxpup on June 12, 2013, 09:06:52 AM
I am curious though, how does this bit make sense?
Quote
Whereas, those who have faith in Jesus Christ, are not under the law, or may not be under the law.

From my understanding of christian mythology, "god's laws" would bind believer and unbeliever alike and you're the first christian i've come across to imply otherwise.
Correction: he's the first Christian to explicitly say that. Most fundamentalist Christians I've come across imply it all the time, especially in their attitude toward non-Christians. (And the Lord said "Thou shalt not kill, unless thy enemy is a heathen, in which case thou maist blow him into tiny bits." Here endeth the lesson.)


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: brishtiteveja on June 12, 2013, 09:16:28 AM
Stealing should be a moral concern, not about illegality.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: escrow.ms on June 12, 2013, 09:37:06 AM
Ahh old topic, well no it's not illegal.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: giantdragon on June 12, 2013, 02:14:53 PM
Although it may not be qualified as theft by criminal law of most states, I think it is still possible to enforce reimbursement of the value of stolen Bitcoins with civil lawsuit.


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: owsleybeatsbigcartel on June 12, 2013, 06:45:42 PM
If I somehow gain unauthorized access to your wallet.dat, I can be arrested for computer crimes.

But suppose I somehow deceive you into transferring the coins to me yourself.

In the eyes of the law, have I committed a crime?

Personally I think that in most countries, if you reported it to the police, there is nothing they could do. However I am not a lawyer so I am interested to hear what some of the more legally knowledgeable people here think.

I know of one country where I think it would be a crime. South Korea has a "virtual crime" unit, and presumably virtual crime laws. This was set up to prosecute people who steal items and in-game currency in MMORPGs and similar games and I believe that many cases have come to court, although it's not regarded as a particularly serious crime.

There are also two countries where it may be a crime. In Japan a young man was arrested for "virtual mugging" in a game called Lineage 2. A Dutch teenager was also arrested for stealing virtual furniture in a visual chat environment called Habbo Hotel. However I can't find any information as to whether either of these arrests lead to prosecution and conviction. After the Dutch arrest a spokesperson for the company which developed Habbo Hotel said "It is theft because the items were bought with real money." So perhaps in Holland it is only illegal to steal coins which have been purchased and not mined.

What do you all think?

i'd say if anyone ever stole any kind of "coins" from me(welcome to vegas) i'd want them back or i'd go looking for them!...common law,,


Title: Re: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?
Post by: 796 on June 13, 2013, 02:10:02 AM
it is illegal to steal Bitcoins no matter how you do it. just think how distressed you will be if you get robbed.