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Federal Judge Bars Instant Publishing of Analysts' Stock Tips

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-can't-say-that-just-yet dept.

Censorship 133

An anonymous reader writes "Big Banking firms Barclay's Capital, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch successfully obtained an injunction against theflyonthewall.com, Inc., preventing them from immediately publishing the firms' stock upgrades and downgrades. This case could have far-reaching consequences concerning internet communication and publication of news." Here's some interesting analysis from Paul Levy, via Dave Farber's Interesting People list.

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133 comments

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hur hur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31545516)

What are analysists?

Re:hur hur (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31545800)

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Re:hur hur (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546252)

It's a typo. Think Anal La Cysts...

Ok. Help me out here. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545518)

I'm having a brain fart at the moment. Anyone care to explain to a noob what kind of implications this could have?

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545570)

it would turn every trader into a day trader.

of course the majority already are.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (2, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545624)

I'm not stock monkey either, but I think this has to do with freedom of information. Specifically that once Morgan Stanley publishes their stock upgrades and downgrades, it's pretty much public information. That fact that this information has been barred is the item of interest.

From the Morgan/Stanley side, it might be appropriate to call it a trade secret. From the end user side, it becomes common knowledge so unless there are agreements with each user not to leak the knowledge, it seems like this law is invalid to my eyes. It seems to me that they are legislating a solution for Morgan/Stanley's lack of security.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546000)

Sort of like the trade secret that the big boys get to buy on a current price knowing what it will be in a short period of time. Wall Street really is filled with crooks and thieves. Barring analyst recommendations from being published in that respect is largely pointless. The recommendations are for institutions anyways, and are not generally made on any basis useful to the small time investor.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (3, Informative)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546564)

Specifically that once Morgan Stanley publishes their stock upgrades and downgrades, it's pretty much public information.

That's not what was happening. Theflyonthewall.com was publishing information before it was made available, so that their subscribers could benefit from it before the clients of Morgan-Stanley et al.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546778)

And as we all know, its wrong to have insider information... unless you are a high roller.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31546800)

It's not insider information. It's an opinion on stock futures and nothing more.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31547742)

This isn't insider information, this is privately conducted analysis of public information. There is a distinct difference - Morgan Stanley has its analysts look at the company, competitors, and any other information they have and make a judgment call on it on behalf of their clients. While such upgrades/downgrades do affect prices, they are not insider information in the same sense of "new secret iPhone killer announcement tomorrow". In theory, anyone could do the same analysis Morgan Stanley did and reach the same (or different) conclusions and so this does not constitute insider info.

1st Amendment (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547456)

The judiciary can't have it both ways when the Supreme Court is promoting an extreme interpretation of the First Amendment (i.e. unlimited corporate donations to political campaigns are OK).

Either the court system recognizes justifiable mitigation of an enumerated Right in order to prevent other Rights from being undermined by it, or they don't. What we heard from SCOTUS in 'Citizens United' was that free speech is absolute, so no more controls on obscenity, defamation, incitement, threats, etc. ...and no controls on the Internet, either.

No, please help *me* out here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31545636)

Like a typical Linux user, I have long since given up any hope of any caucasian girl allowing me to do sex to her, and have begun dating Asian girls. Today I took one to my local mall, showed her some badass capacitors that were on sale at Maplins, told her all about the shortcomings of Linux's current scheduler, bought her almost $100 worth of Hello Kitty gear...yet...she did not allow me to do sex to her.

Why the hell not? What am I doing wrong? I am literally surrounded by geeks with asian girlfriends - it's what we do. Yet clearly I am making some kind of mistake. Do you, my fellow geeks, have any advice?

Re:No, please help *me* out here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31545996)

Don't worry, you are doing everything right. The problem is Asian girls with geek boyfriend don't actually have sex with them. If any of your geeky friends have implied that it's happening they are lying. Don't feel bad though, having a girlfriend will allow you to have some respect among your peers which is really the whole point of having a girlfriend, right?

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (4, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545658)

Basically, this company was publishing the results of various investment bank's research before their clients could read and act upon it. The legal reasoning behind it could equally be applied to Google News republishing other people's headlines, for example. More seriously, it means that effectively, you now have a sort of "copyright" created by the courts on factual information that you possess. I leave it to slashdotters to come up with ways this might be abused....

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (3, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31545908)

It appears that theyflyonthewall.com can appeal after one year. Apparently the judge saw the fact that the bar was basically making up for lack of security on the financial institutions part.

From TFA: "The judge said Theflyonthewall.com may apply in one year to lift the injunction if the banks do not take reasonable steps to halt the unauthorized distribution of research."

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (3, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547412)

So the judge knows the actual barring is baseless, but is doing it to protect these rich banks and their advantages for long enough for them to fix their leaks.

I thought judges were here to uphold laws, not temporally wipe their ass with the 1st amendment in favor of big banks.

This right was established during WW1. (3, Informative)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547612)

There was a case, something like "WWW Communications v. INS," where WWW and INS were both news organizations/aggregators in World War I. One was basically scraping the others' content, reading its headlines on the east coast and selling them on the west coast the same day that the information came out. The Court said that the scrapers were "attempting to reap what they did not sow," I think, creating a sort of prepossessory property interest in the information.

The idea is that if a domain scraper can copy all news content on the web, take away the advertisements, and not pay anyone for it, then there won't be an incentive for people to go to the effort to gather the news in the first place. It was obviously more legitimate in the pre-digital age, and doubly so during a world war, when it was MASSIVELY difficult to assemble transcontinental news on a daily basis, but the point still stands to some degree.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

dj961 (660026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546002)

But it's not factual information, it's analysis and opinion. You wouldn't call an opinion piece on the economy as factual information, because everyone knows that an opinion piece is a subjective interpretation of the facts. Why would you do the same for a stock tip. This has nothing to do with Google News because Google News redistributes the news and not opinions.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547296)

But there's a fine line between "opinion" and insider trading. How do these tipsters form their opinions ? Usually by being friend of a friend of a friend of a big merchant, and hearing stuff on the grapevine (but don't tell anyone I told you so) etc.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547590)

Not really like Google News because Google only crawls headlines that are published on public web sites, obeys robots.txt, only crawls subscription only sites with permission etc.

The critical element here seems to be that the stuff was being reported before all the paying clients saw it. It is more as though Google bought subscriptions as an ordinary user and used those login details to spider a site behind a pay wall.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31548664)

Well someone had time to act on it ... otherwise it wouldn't be leaked. The leaks are pure pump and dump, it simply works best if the "information" is widely disseminated immediately rather than staggered. If it's done staggered buying/dumping frenzies are less extreme.

Analyst reports are mostly pump and dump schemes to begin with of course, this is just a little meta pump and dump scheme on top.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

dnnrly (120163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546044)

The short answer is money.

The long answer is that traders start at 7am by reading reports and recomendations.

They traders make decisions about what they will trade and what position they will take early on based on this information.
They will pay a LOT of money to money to get this information as early as possible.
The information providers want to be able to sell this valuable data and analysis.

This won't affect day traders so much, who try to squeeze trades in between the various peaks and troughs in prices during the day (playing with graphs basically).

What this means is that the people that are releasing this information will only have to wait until 10am and the information will still be released into the public domain that morning anyway.
It is is very important to trades who are trying to take long term positions and want to get a price that makes it worth while to trade the stock. (if you have to pick a trader take side with this is the one you want.)

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (3, Insightful)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546382)

The whole point of having a stock market is to get money to the people who can make the best use of it. What this ruling does, as far as I can tell, is impede that process by preventing the dissemination of useful information about who can make the best use of investment capital. In short, while this might or might not be a good ruling from the standpoint of enforcing the law as it exists today, it runs completely counter to the whole point of having a stock market. There should be absolutely no impediment to disseminating as widely as possible information about publicly traded stocks unless it is for an exceptionally good reason (like national security level good).
Going even further, by restricting information like this they are essentially allowing the major players in the stock market to manipulate stock prices. I tell my clients that I will claim stock X will go up and the market listens to me. I do this in such a way that my clients can by their stocks first. Stock goes up because I say it will and I'm a major player. Then my clients sell their stock making a nice tidy profit, all the while I have less incentive to provide good advice because assuming I'm even vaguely plausible this scheme will work. The law is protecting this kind of thing when it should be prohibiting it!

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31548778)

The whole point of having a stock market is to get money to the people who can make the best use of it

Ha Haa Haaa Haaaaa.

The whole point of having a stock market is to transfer wealth to the people who have the most information

There fixed that for you.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546616)

they're basically saying you can't take public information and put it up on your own website.

This essentially guarantees that flyonthewall will win the appeal. They just had a judge who doesn't understand what the internet is.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547064)

The "criminal" sites move to offshore hosts. Business as usual by Monday. A couple weeks at the latest if they're totally incompetent.

Re:Ok. Help me out here. (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547400)

I'm having a brain fart at the moment. Anyone care to explain to a noob what kind of implications this could have?

It means the first amendment doesn't matter when rich people want to maintain an advantage.

Bah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31545520)

I have nothing to say on this

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31545606)

I hate these filthy neutrals, Kif. With enemies you know where they stand but with neutrals, who knows? It ... sickens me

Analysists?? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31545536)

Is it too much to ask to spell-check your stuff, /.??

Re:Analysists?? (0, Offtopic)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545614)

Is it too much to ask to spell-check your stuff, /.??

Of late, I've been thinking Slashdot should remove the 'Submit' button and only have a 'Preview' button - 'Submit' would only be available on the preview page. That way, you'd be forced to preview your post before you could submit it. Slashdot could even delay presenting the 'Submit' button for 15 or 30 seconds, which might force people to read their posts before submitting them. Of course this might delay the much-coveted "frist post!!" opportunities, but c'est la vie.

Re:Analysists?? (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545812)

Slashdot does precisely that for logged in accounts with low karma. Only high karma accounts have the Submit button immediately available. Anonymous Coward never has the submit button available immediately - only after a preview do you get the captcha and an accompanying submit button.

Re:Analysists?? (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31545976)

Only high karma accounts have the Submit button immediately available.

Is the karma level required for that higher or lower than the karma level required to shut off ads? They let me turn off ads, but I only get a Preview button...

Re:Analysists?? (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546964)

Higher. I get both the ad shut off checkbox and an immediate submit button.

Re:Analysists?? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547146)

get both the ad shut off checkbox and an immediate submit button

As do I, but I've never turned off the ads. Figure someone's gotta pay to keep the lights on...

Re:Analysists?? (1)

upuv (1201447) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546432)

As a spelling offender I personally would like a spell check button.

I seriously can not spell. I honestly do try to spell correctly but I'm just plain bad at it. Always have been. It's a disability I actually battle with daily. Yes I call it a disability because it affects me everyday. I actively try and improve it but I'm losing ground over the years. I think it's because I have a logical mind and English is anything but logical. There are tricks and rules that are just duct tape over the illogical. I'm constantly saying "is that right".

I don't think a karma related button is going to help spelling or grammar. I have very high karma. So karma solutions are not going to assist me.

On the flip side. I do get very annoyed at people that attack me on a regular basis for simple mistakes of spelling. I mean some people just go off. Like I attacked there home and family kinda going off. All because I couldn't spell swimming pool or something else as equally inane.

Re:Analysists?? (2, Informative)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546924)

Use Firefox to post then. It has built-in spell check in text edit boxes. It's no help for grammar, but Slashdot's grammar Nazis aren't nearly as attentive as the spelling Nazis and it looks to me like you don't have many issues when it comes to constructing sentences. Firefox underlines misspelled words in wavy red. Its dictionary isn't what I would call comprehensive, and it has very few entries for jargon or acronyms, but for most vocabularies, it does just fine.

Hm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31545592)

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said Theflyonthewall.com engaged in "systematic misappropriation," essentially getting a "free ride" from its quick publication of upgrades and downgrades that can move stocks higher and lower.

Cote issued a permanent injunction requiring the Summit, New Jersey-based company to wait until 10 a.m. to report research from the three banks that was issued before the market opens, and at least two hours for research issued thereafter. The bulk of research is typically issued before the open.

While the banks had sought longer delays, Cote said: "This time frame preserves incentives for the firms to create and disseminate research reports to their investor clients, while still recognizing the inevitable, fast-moving, and widespread informal communication of recommendation on Wall Street."

The banks welcomed the ruling. Merrill spokesman Bill Halldin called it a "milestone in regaining control over the distribution of our proprietary research and preserving the value of our investment ideas for our clients."

So, let me try to get this straight. There is a game. Let's call this game "Market". Market tracks the players on a leaderboard. The scores of the players go up and down, based on how they perform in-game. People are allowed to bet on The Market, and its players. There is a lot of money to be made in the ebb and flow of players' score. Furthermore, the players in the Market have their scores based on how many people are betting on them. It's so lucrative, people have made scripts to rss how each of these players are doing. Whoever has the most information can "game" The Market, and make a lot of money.

The players of The Market are complaining that people sharing information about the game as quick as possible hurts them. The gamblers are shouting "information wants to be free"!

I think both the players and the gamblers have a valid argument here. In my book, however, the players autofail the game because they are using the police power of the government to control the gamblers. If they love The Market so much, they should play the game as it is, not change the rules.

Re:Hm. (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546028)

Hmm, that's right as long as you substitute players with "swindling con artists" and gamblers with "individual investors." They don't both have legitimate arguments because the players are doing things which should be illegal. Shenanigans like buying stock with full knowledge of what it will be in the future and trading stocks through methods that aren't on the market so that they can get different prices than are available to the rest of us.

That's basically how hedge funds work, since they cannot get a better yield without additional risk without cheating, they cheat. And to the detriment of everybody that plays by the rules. There are exceptions, but by and large the more clever the methods advertised, the further away you should run from and investment firm. Everything is crafted so as to screw over the outsiders.

No, that doesn't sound right. (2, Insightful)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546242)

The "players" in your story are the stocks. But the folks complaining about the rapid dissemination of analyses are the middlemen--in your gambling analogy, this would be the house, the folks who want to rig the game in their favor.

I think the court decision here is correct. If the house sells exclusive quick access to its analyses, it's only reasonable for them to demand that they buyers don't republish it too quickly; the information makes it out in end eventually anyway. The republishers are basically leeching off the brokers' analyses.

It's important to point out how little important this is in the grand scheme of things. Stock analyst reports are no better than random at predicting stock performance. Timing the stock market doesn't produce superior returns, nor does short-term trading. Paying for ultra-quick access to these reports in the expectation that they will help you time the market is not a good idea.

Basically, to continue your analogy, the house is selling their predictions about which card's gonna be drawn next. You can pay the normal fee, or you can pay extra if you want them to tell you sooner than they tell everybody else. If you pick the second option, however, the object if you go around and publish your early-access info.

Trade Secrets? (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545668)

I haven't read the ruling--just the article, which does not mention trade secrets--but the word "misappropriation" suggests to me that this case was decided under a trade secrets analysis (or something similar under a federal securities regulation of some kind). Reading between the lines, it looks like theflyonthewall.com was engaged in soliciting "leaks" and publishing them before the information could be communicated to clients.

The current (well-supported) suspicion of banks and stock traders gives the whole article a sinister patina, e.g. "the banks were keeping upgrades and downgrades secret, but theflyonthewall was exposing the information before the brandy-and-cigars set could fully exploit it!"

But if we put momentarily overlook Wall Street's well-earned reputation for behaving as clannish and psychotic as possible, the solicitation and publication of trade secrets (or the like) is generally frowned upon. I think there are some interest public interest/private interest issues raised by the practices involved, but it doesn't appear to have any legal implications for online information providers generally--just those who obtain their information in inappropriate ways.

Re:Trade Secrets? (0)

u38cg (607297) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545710)

It might be frowned upon, but it certainly isn't (in most jurisdictions) illegal. It should be pretty obvious that facts are, in general, not something that should be subject to restriction without a damned good reason, and "waaah" doesn't really cut it, for me.

Further Information Available Here (5, Informative)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31545906)

So the decision is not exactly sizzling reading, but it is available here [uscourts.gov] .

I was wrong in that the court did not address trade secrets per se, but an "unfair competition" analysis coupled with the "hot news" doctrine mentioned in Levy's analysis. I'm not a big fan of the "hot news" doctrine and I think it is a good example of bad copyright law, but the court applies that law correctly (in my opinion) and, more importantly, the court's decision seems sufficiently supported by the unfair competition claims even without reference to the hot news doctrine.

In short, you're wrong about it not being illegal to disseminate leaks for profit.

I keep hitting paragraphs I want to blockquote here, but there are simply too many of them. The opinion is well-written. I'm law-trained (not a lawyer... yet) so I may be underestimating its complexity, but it is one of the clearer opinions I've read in a while. I highly recommend you give it a read. It probably won't convince you, but it may temper your anger somewhat.

Re:Trade Secrets? (2, Insightful)

danlip (737336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31545966)

Stock ratings are not facts. They are at best opinions, although I think it would be better to describe them as works of fiction. And works of fiction are subject to copyright :-)

No, insider trading (5, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545776)

It's not a trade secret when you share ratings with your clients several hours before you release information to the public. From TFA:

This time frame preserves incentives for the firms to create and disseminate research reports to their investor clients, while still recognizing the inevitable, fast-moving, and widespread informal communication of recommendation on Wall Street.

Obviously these reports will affect prices, so you tell clients, wait a bit so they can react, and then tell the public. That's market manipulation plain and simple. A more fair ruling would say they have to release the reports publicly at the same time they tell their clients. But then this is a Manhattan federal judge who knows who he works for ;-)

Having now read the ruling... (3, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31545956)

A more fair ruling would say they have to release the reports publicly at the same time they tell their clients.

At which point they would no longer have any clients. Why pay for the report when the report is free? And then--why generate the report if no one will pay for it?

I was wrong about the legal analysis, but right about the fact that there is nothing sinister going on here. I'm not a fan of Wall Street OR the "hot news" doctrine, but I enjoyed reading this opinion. I think the court ultimately got it right.

Re:Having now read the ruling... (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546052)

On what basis? What you're suggesting is that insider trading isn't wrong or horribly damaging to the functioning of the markets. It's basically just a variation on the pump and dump stock scams dressed up to look legitimate. People buy and sell when the ratings change, despite there being no good reason to base it on a change of ratings.

You can gussy it up all you like, but it's definitely not behavior which should be allowed if we're to have a stock market that functions as anything other than an elaborate scam.

The Problem of Ratings (3, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546172)

On the basis of the law that the court was bound to apply by the legislative bodies that created it.

More generally:

People buy and sell when the ratings change, despite there being no good reason to base it on a change of ratings.

Are you saying ratings should be illegal? Or are you saying they should be public information from the word go?

Because if you're saying ratings should be illegal, you're going to have to come up with a better reason than, "they can be manipulated to unfair advantage." Insider trading is a big no-no and people do go to jail for it. Not to mention the public service that is (now, somewhat more belatedly) furnished by the rating process.

But if you're saying the ratings should be made available to everyone simultaneously, what you're really asking is for the banks to stop preparing these reports--because their subscribers incetivize report preparation. You're arguing for socializing the market to make it "fair." And while I agree that the market has a lot of problems, I don't think turning it into "the people's market" is the right answer.

And I wouldn't equate "explaining the realities of (semi-)free market investing" with "gussy[ing] it up."

Re:Having now read the ruling... (3, Informative)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546206)

This is not a case of insider trading, it is aggregation and analysis of publicly available information being used to facilitate smarter trading amongst their clients. Most of those clients are long-term investors, and insider information is almost exclusively used for short-term gains. While there may be overlap in legal and illegal activity among firms and clients, there isn't really a case to be made that this is an example of that sort of thing.

Yes, there is a lot of scummy behavior on Wall Street. It helps to not be confused as to what terms like "insider trading" actually mean when discussing it though, because it detracts from actual meaningful discussion.

Re:Having now read the ruling... (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546326)

The whole purpose of the stock market is to get money to the people who can make the best use of it. That is best served by having as much information available as rapidly as possible. How exactly does this ruling go anywhere near achieving this?

Re:Having now read the ruling... (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546430)

I'm glad you agree information is good for the market in general. If the court ruled against those who produce research for money, a large source of market information analysis would disappear.

While I doubt your post was intended to agree with me, it nonetheless supports the contention that the court ruled correctly in protecting firms who spend time and money to analyze publicly available data and making it available to the public shortly after making it available to those who actually pay to have it produced.

Don't pretend you have the right to data you didn't pay to have produced the second it is available just because it's "unfair" that someone gets an advantage by actually doing work for themselves and their clients.

Re:Having now read the ruling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31548254)

If this research analysis based on public information is so valuable, it means that same public information wasn't already reflected in the existing stock market prices, which means the efficient market hypothesis is a recognized failure. So why are all our financial laws written as if the EMH were true? Either this "analysis" is no more valuable than a horoscope, in which case the court system shouldn't be trying to suppress it, or else it IS valuable, in which case the financial laws regulating Wall Street should be reformed a hell of a lot.

Re:Having now read the ruling... (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 4 years ago | (#31548346)

The efficient market hypothesis is a joke. To get perfect efficiency and instantaneous market reaction you need perfect and instantaneous cause/effect analysis and instant action based on that analysis. That doesn't exist (and can only exist in theory currently), so the efficient market hypothesis does not actually work.

Re:Having now read the ruling... (2, Informative)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 4 years ago | (#31548776)

If they want to keep this information private then they can do so. Just don't tell anyone it, or only tell people with whom them have agreements not to disclose the information. If they also conduct no trades based on the information then no one will know it.

If they wish to keep the information secret they have a simple solution, do nothing with it which would require making the information public. Which is better, having less information available due to a reduction in 'research' of the market or enabling outright manipulation of the market using schemes like the one that was protected by this ruling?

Re:No, insider trading (1, Troll)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546570)

Why should they have to release information to the non-paying public at the same time they release it to their paying clients? That would be like Macafee making a anti-virus update available to everyone in the world at the same time they made it available to their subscribers. That's just asinine.

Re:No, insider trading (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547018)

It's not a trade secret when you share ratings with your clients several hours before you release information to the public.

Man, you should really read what you post.

The public has absolutely no right to receive a report requested and paid for by a private entity before that private entity receives the report themselves. This is especially true if that report will eventually be made public and is potentially damaging to said entity. It's like going to a car repair shop and asking for a quote, but instead of handing you a quote they go and post your quote in the newspaper and then hand you the quote. In the mean time 20 people have lined up ahead of you as a direct result of that quote because you didn't have a chance to make an informed decision. It's ass backwards. It's not market manipulation, it's providing the service to the person who paid for it, instead of everyone who didn't.

On the other hand, the reason theflyonthewall.com got the reports in the first place was because somebody gave them to TFOTW before they gave them to the client, so 100% of the blame rests on the analysts themselves. In my opinion the Judge should have just told them they needed to get their shit together. Instead the Judge told them they have 1 year to get their shit together (there are apparently laws that allow for this), after which TFOTW can request the injunction be lifted.

The breach here is giving the information to TFOTW, but it took the analysts to create such a breach, so frankly I think the injunction should be on the analysts and not TFOTW.

Re:Trade Secrets? (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546150)

Remember when that Hulk film from 2003 blamed the internet and texting for ruining opening it's weekend?

Will movie studios now ask for opening weekend injunctions on news sites too from reporting on plot/story and whether it sucks or not, before most theater-goers had a chance to watch it?

I mean, while we limit freedom of press for business concerns, we might as well see what other industries would like.

Good Point. (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546264)

You should bring it up again when the case in question is about the press.

The ruling establishes clearly that the site in question was in business competition with the banks. This was part of the "unfair competition" analysis and central to the court's conclusion. It seems unlikely (in my opinion, which is not legal advice because I am not a lawyer) that this ruling would extend to either the press or individuals who are not in competition with the originator of the information.

Stupidity (2, Insightful)

StylusEater (1206014) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545734)

From the Article:

The banks welcomed the ruling. Merrill spokesman Bill Halldin called it a "milestone in regaining control over the distribution of our proprietary research and preserving the value of our investment ideas for our clients."

Hrm... so if I were to publish my proprietary information online, our say, outside of my house, then people read it and used it before I could make money from it I can sue them for losses? Wow! what a novel idea banks!

I've got a better one, why don't you lock the content away behind a login and share it with it client until you believe it be of insufficient value, then release it? Brilliant!

Since when were Morgan and Merrill news agencies? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545760)

"Big Banking Firms Barclay's Capital, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch successfully obtained an injunction against theflyonthewall.com

and violated the "hot news" doctrine by "misappropriation" of the fact that "buy" or "sell" opinions had been expressed.

What is the "misappropriation" of the fact that an opinion has been expressed by someone?

Isn't that a form of free speech?

No (2, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546012)

From the actual ruling [uscourts.gov] (p.78-80):

It is also worth bearing in mind that the Recommendations are not objective facts, but rather, subjective judgments based on complex and imperfect evidence. In this sense, the Recommendations produced by the Firms represent the kinds of information to which the Court of Appeals has seen fit to extend protection under copyright laws. Such information has been described as “soft facts” or “soft ideas infused with taste or opinion,” and explicitly includes items such as subjective valuations or target prices.

...

The public interest in the production of equity research notwithstanding, there is also a competing, and no less important, public interest in “unrestrained access to information,” particularly when the information is heavily fact-based.

...

Ultimately, the purpose of the INS tort, like the traditionally accepted goal of intellectual property law more generally, is to provide an incentive for the production of socially useful information without either under- or overprotecting the efforts to gather such information. A balance must be struck between establishing rewards to stimulate socially useful efforts on the one hand, and permitting maximum access to the fruits of those efforts to facilitate still further innovation and progress on the other.

The "hot news" doctrine is problematic. Wall Street is a den of thieves. But when it comes to the law, I think the court got this one right.

Re:No (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546158)

It is also worth bearing in mind that the Recommendations are not objective facts, but rather, subjective judgments

The fact that person X has indicated opinion Y, is an objective fact.

If I tell you that I think Obama's approval rating will go up by 3.68% next week. Then your first ammendment right guarantees you can tell your friends "Mysidia thinks Obama's approval is going up 3.68% next week"

etc, etc.

That's not to say I can't claim copyright to my words, or that you could reproduce my statement exactly for that purpose, without infringing on copyrights.

But there is this matter: when a person is a public figure, or an organization is a large corporate entity, whose every word is of public concern --- then the fact they expressed an opinion, is an objective fact, that should fully enjoy the ironclad protection of free speech rights provided by the 1st amendment of the US constitution.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546232)

The fact that person X has indicated opinion Y, is an objective fact.

Clever, but no--at least not entirely. Consider the Seinfeld trivia case [wikipedia.org] , in which the publisher's defense was, "It is an objective fact that actor X said Y in episode Z."

This reasoning was rejected.

Then your first ammendment right guarantees you can tell your friends...

Not entirely. In particular, if your analysis of Obama's approval rating is something you figured out for profit in the regular course of business, and I'm in direct competition with you, then unfair competition laws may prevent me from "tell[ing my] friends." This is in part because commercial speech is not as closely protected by the First Amendment as other kinds of speech.

...when a person is a public figure, or an organization is a large corporate entity, whose every word is of public concern --- then the fact they expressed an opinion, is an objective fact, that should fully enjoy the ironclad protection of free speech rights provided by the 1st amendment of the US constitution.

That's an entirely defensible position on the matter. But the fact remains that it is not the law of the land. That doesn't make it right, necessarily, but it does mean that the things you assert in your post are not true--they are at best aspirational.

Re:No (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546434)

This is in part because commercial speech is not as closely protected by the First Amendment as other kinds of speech.

The 1st amendment says congress may not abridge the freedom of any type of speech. There is no exception for commercial speech, and specifically:

"Congress shall make no law [...], or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; "

Re:No (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546540)

That's OK, there's no law involved here. As far as I can tell the court applied this prior restraint based on no statute at all.

Re:No (2, Informative)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546620)

My point is that there is a difference between how you (and many others) think the law should be interpreted, and how it is presently interpreted. Indeed,

several Supreme Court justices agree with you. [wikipedia.org]

But.

[While t]hat's an entirely defensible position on the matter . . . . the fact remains that it is not the law of the land. That doesn't make it right, necessarily, but it does mean that the things you assert in your post are not true--they are at best aspirational.

Re:No (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546908)

[*] Addendum: freedom of the press is specifically mentioned by the amendment as well, and the 'website' being 'ordered' to not publish stock tips is definitely the press (hence use of the word 'news').

The effect of the order is directly, indisputably contrary to the 1st amendment: they are abridging the freedom of the press.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

jackbird (721605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547038)

So you're in favor of repealing the laws against fraud and false advertising?

Re:No (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547322)

No. Commiting false advertising or fraud is lying in your presentation of goods to change hands and not particularly an exercise of press freedom.

In that case, the speech is not specifically the issue, it is the use of deception to bring someone into a financial transaction

Fraud or False advertising causes a target to participate in a transaction under a false pretense, that they would not want to participate in, if the other party expressed the true nature of the transaction.

Basically, if you are selling something, there can be regulations on how you present that particular product for sale.

This is different from restricting what may be said inside the product, if it's a news publication, for example!

Re:Since when were Morgan and Merrill news agencie (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31548774)

I have he solution: the opinion should be expressed by a Rapper, then it could be copyright until 25 years after the Rapper is shot in a drive by.

Ideally, the Rappers works should be released on DVDs protected by DCMA, so the innocent don't actually have to listen to pump-and-dump promotion on MTV.

It seems theflyonthewall won't lift (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 3 years ago | (#31545764)

SELL, SELL, SELL!

You mean I'll have to wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31545888)

To gain access to the nearly identical analysis and consensus estimates that these firms publish in lockstep?

Getting the U.S. back from the grabbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31545988)

Every stupid monkey with a title, believes they now have manipulative control over some portion of the populace.
Our right to keep and bear arms had this consideration in mind.( don't start your stupid blather about word for word written, the intention of founding fathers was made clear historically and in their writings) Just every now and then someone should just outright kill (not murder, this is revolt) a stupid judge who forgets who he is and where he is. They should leave a note on the sacrifice detailing his crimes against the people of the several states as a warning to other likeminded judiciary.
This could also be expanded to anyone working for the government against the constitutional interests of the people. Be mad as hell, don't take it anymore. People fought and died for freedoms you don't have in your generation due to greed , corruption , and control mongering. Take it back and put their heads on pikes.

Re:Getting the U.S. back from the grabbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31546458)

You first...

Easy Solution... (3, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546070)

Theflyonthewall.com just moves it's servers & business outside the US. I hear Antigua might be a good choice, since they've already gotten a WTO judgment against the US and so wouldn't be quick to cooperate with the US to take down the site.

It looks like the US government is determined to drive businesses, particularly internet-based or -dependent businesses, to other countries. Then they whine about trade imbalances and people wonder why business is fleeing the US.

Strat

Re:Easy Solution... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547426)

Our lawmakers keep pandering to the big businesses/corporations/oligopolies that paid for their elections; driving the smaller businesses overseas because they can't compete when the laws are being written against them.

Recently in california a law was being promoted (for good reason) that would bar lawmakers from directly receiving SMS from lobbyists while actually voting on laws. Now I never would have assumed the connection to be so direct as this, but at least now I know what We The People are fighting against.

And now Mr. Yes We Can Obama is part of the move to give corps more ability to fund elections.... *rolleyes*. What's new.

Re:Easy Solution... (1)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547446)

Theflyonthewall.com just moves it's servers & business outside the US. I hear Antigua might be a good choice, since they've already gotten a WTO judgment against the US and so wouldn't be quick to cooperate with the US to take down the site.

It looks like the US government is determined to drive businesses, particularly internet-based or -dependent businesses, to other countries. Then they whine about trade imbalances and people wonder why business is fleeing the US.

Strat

I'm not exactly boo-hooing over any movement of this website to a different country. A country shouldn't kowtow to businesses to keep them in-country. They should do what's right in the eyes of the people it represents. Or, at least that's what an idealist would say.

Re:Easy Solution... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547464)

I know it is fashionable to claim that all this stuff is new, and that all businesses have to do if move offshore, but nothing is that simple.

The value of stock information, AFAIR, have always been based on time. I can get all sorts of information delayed some minimum amount of time, but I have to pay to get near real time information. If I try to republish this information, I get sued. This has been the case forever. The powers that be are going to do everything they can to keep this status quo because this is how the houses generate a profit. By knowing things before the average person does.

The only way that the US would drive the financial industry out of the country is by allowing real time publication of data. It is true that some smaller businesses might be driven out, but what do we care if a few people and a few servers move to Costa Rica where they have to pay huge taxes so that everyone can get socialized health care.

Not news, but professional advice (5, Informative)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546144)

Let's be clear on this, the issue has nothing to do with having up-to-the-second stocks news or not. It has nothing to do with an RSS aggregator having a feed from a news site.

It is about a news aggregator publicly disseminating PRIVATE information - buy/sell is professional advice and not news. Professional advice is subject to a two-party contract - it can be given confidentially. This is leaked advice.

Usually leaks aren't much of a problem because there's copyright and so on, they can't just reproduce the detail necessary to completely steal your advice usefully. But, in this case all that's really interesting is the company name and whether the word after it is "buy" or "sell". The entirety of the substance can be in the article. Contrast this with say the problem with the leak being that it is embarrassing - here the "news" is not the substance of the advice as advice, it is the fact that it is embarrassing.

Secondly, absolutely key to the value of that information is extreme timeliness. It only has value if you have that information before most other people, after which point the information becomes obsolete. Thirdly, the person giving the advice is also of high importance. "Sell Microsoft" has a greatly different value as information when Merrill Lynch says it than say, Bob down the pub. So people were paying thefly to get Merrill Lynch's advice more cheaply than buying it from Merrill Lynch.

The point the judge upheld is that thefly were not announcing news, they were reproducing a private professional opinion - and an opinion that was of value because of whose it was. Nobody wanted this as some retrospective news about some event, they wanted to know this information for the exact same reason and no other reason than those for which Merril Lynch's clients were paying for it.

This is little different than say, someone finding out the Coke formula, setting up a factory and marketing it as Coca Cola. The one difference is that in this case the product is "knowledge". The judge seems to have been quite savvy in differentiating the "product" and "knowledge" elements on the basis of the extent that timeliness was important.

Re:Not news, but professional advice (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546450)

It is about a news aggregator publicly disseminating PRIVATE information - buy/sell is professional advice and not news.

Errrm... but...

  • If I'm a CEO and my lawyer tells me to put the money I've embezzled in the Cayman Islands and the Wall Street Journal finds out about it, that's professional advice and not news.
  • If I'm the mayor of my town and my wife is leaving me because I've been philandering with prostitutes, that's private information (to the family, and pertinent to the divorce proceedings) and not news.
  • If I'm a private contractor and I'm hired by a government to write a report detailing radiation leaks in nuclear power plants around the country and some reporter gets a copy of that report, that's private information and not news.

You get my drift. Where does it end?

Re:Not news, but professional advice (3, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547140)

If only we could set up a system where intelligent, educated individuals with knowledge in both the subject at hand and the law in general could sit down and, after careful deliberation and hearing the advice of people on both sides of each issue, come to some sort of a rational decision intended to balance between competing interests.

Perhaps we could give these individuals a fancy title, like arbiter, or decider... I don't know, something classy and prestigious to go with their important and honorable function. We should name the places and circumstances under which they operate something special, too, something that inspires respect and tradition... maybe forums? Also, we should have a bunch of levels of it, so that we can mitigate the effect any one bad decision or individual has, then let people make some sort of dispute if things aren't decided their way and they feel something wasn't appropriately dealt with.

Anyway, it could be a really cool system. Somebody should write up a document, and we could vote on whether or not to make that the highest law of the land.

Re:Not news, but professional advice (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547482)

It ends... at the boundary where wealthy patrons can still use the information to easily maintain their comparative wealth. When it ceases to be a timely and valuable vehicle for Wall St. bankers and Fortune 500 CEOs to pull the wool over our eyes, then 'advice' becomes 'news' because the players have already made their move.

Re:Not news, but professional advice (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547162)

This ruling probably is a good reading of the law as it currently is written. I can think of several possible problems with this interpretation of the law, but I can see it as correct.
However, it destroys the theory behind the markets. In the ideal market, everybody has perfect knowledge which means they trade accordingly. The information that this ruling says is protected from distribution is important information about the correct pricing of stocks on the market. This ruling therefore insists that the market be imperfect. Imperfections in the market are one of the key reasons for market bubbles.
I can see in my mind exactly why this ruling encourages economic disruptions, but I am tired and every attempt I have made to express those ideas doesn't come out clearly.

Re:Not news, but professional advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31547186)

This is little different than say, someone finding out the Coke formula, setting up a factory and marketing it as Coca Cola.

Nonsense. That's trademark infringement. This is like someone finding out the Coke formula, setting up a factory, and marketing it as another cola drink made using the Coke formula. Which, imho, should be perfectly legal.

Why stock markets are EXACTLY like fashion: (4, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546166)

1. There are a couple of dudes, who just make up the latest “trends”.
2. Which of course is where they have their money in.
3. Now the dumb people who listen to them buy those s(t)ocks.
4. And the prophecy fulfills itself. (Yep, that’s the “...” point in all those plans.)
5. PROFIT!

Of course in stocks, after it starts to rise because of the dumb people, the more intelligent got a real reason to invest, and so it goes even higher. In fashion on the other hand people do it because they are such losers that they think they would be left out and not accepted otherwise.

So it’s all rigged. But if you know a bit of social engineering, and are really full of yourself, you can be a rigger too.

My motto: I don’t follow trends. I MAKE them. (And so should you. :)

Re:Why stock markets are EXACTLY like fashion: (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546200)

My motto: I don’t follow trends. I MAKE them. (And so should you. :)

But if each one of us make trends, will they still be trends?

Re:Why stock markets are EXACTLY like fashion: (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547862)

Yes.

If everyone creates trends, the trend will be to ignore trends and create them yourself. Effectively, everyone will simply be following the trend. To avoud following the trend in such a situation, you would in fact have to follow someone else's trend.

Re:Why stock markets are EXACTLY like fashion: (2, Informative)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546650)

Sure. The "couple of dudes" thing happens. But you're giving the impression that this is how the overall market works. "There's a small number of people driving the whole thing". "It's all rigged".
No. For the most part, it's "rigged" by an amazing feedback system of entity-less market forces.
These "couple of dudes" you speak of.. they might make out well, but, they hardly make a bump in the grand scheme. And most of these people fail.
And the ones who succeed... I'd love to think that they are ruining the game for all of those "dumb investors". But I highly doubt it. Conspiracy exists in all aspects of the world, especially where there is money. But it's not running the stock market. The Market runs the stock market.

Interesting comparison to the fashion industry, though. It's definitely true with respect to the "demand" aspect.

I would love to see how your skills of counter-culture help you win big at the stock market! You're right. The people who really win big, tend to invest contrarily. However, I think the biggest losers are among the contrary. It's all risk-management. In stocks, you hear about the big winners and the big losers. But on average, most people do, well, average. I'd mod you up if I could. You got me thinking and rambling.

Re:Why stock markets are EXACTLY like fashion: (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546850)

My motto: I don’t follow trends. I MAKE them. (And so should you. :)

Pump and dump??? I'm just sayin...

Re:Why stock markets are EXACTLY like fashion: (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31547544)

In fashion on the other hand people do it because they are such losers that they think they would be left out and not accepted otherwise.

Newsflash: For the past 20 years it has been extremely unfashionable (unaccepted) to be poor or even just lower-middle class in our society. Finance may be more closely related to fashion than you say it is, except with fashion the barrier to starting ones own trends (using textiles, thread and dyes) is often much lower.

Rigged Market (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546274)

> The current (well-supported) suspicion of banks and stock traders gives the whole article a sinister patina, e.g. "the banks were keeping upgrades and downgrades secret, but theflyonthewall was exposing the information before the brandy-and-cigars set could fully exploit it!"

So we want the public to be well-informed, but not too well informed? This will let the investment bankers keep their dirty little secrets secret for just a bit longer while they offload stock. The public won't know until the stock price dives. Preventing these *facts* from being published flies in the face of an open society. It shows what a dirty rigged game the stock market plays, and how the judiciary and congress plays along with it.

Another example is High Frequency Trading aka Zero Latency trading lets investment banks (not you) set up their computers right next to the NYSE's computers so they get advance notice of a few milliseconds of buy orders. They then buy big and when the other orders come in, the investment banks have already bought all the stock and onsell with a fat mark up. Amazing what these guys get away with, and that congress and the public let them get away with it. Despite the bawling about the bailout, the banks got everything they wanted and are still paying themselves obscene bonuses. Politicians profess outrage but never force their hand. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/business/24trading.html [nytimes.com]

The whole market is so rigged the only way the public can make a profit is when *everything* is going up. A good quote by boom roadkill: "We used to we were geniuses the stocks we bought always went up. Then when the bubble burst we looked back and realized it didn't matter what we bought, because everything went up anyway."

letting politicians have a say over the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31546292)

Back in the mid 80's, we had this internet thingy (well, we had it in the late 60's and all of 70's and early 80's, but I wasn't on it yet). It was totally free from commercial and political influence. Courts didn't get a say over it, because *they didn't know it existed*. Companies didn't put up banner ads, because there was no web, and no such thing as a banner ad.

At some point, politicians started thinking they should be able to control what happens on it, and companies started buying eyeballs using it. I'm not sure that's going to lead anywhere good. Yes, some of the politician and court decisions will be sensible. But the potential for really huge damage is, well, really huge, especially when the more repressive regimes out there start wanting to control it for their own ends.

I think it was better when it was the wild west, anything goes. Yes, that means abuse, it means people being asses and jerks and scammers. But it had the potential to be a bastion of freedom for all humanity, for all the messiness that entails, that exists no other way. Sadly, that aspect of the internet lasted, from my perspective, about 5 or 7 years, total. I know old timers saw more of it, but anyway it's long over now.

Captcha: audacity.

Re:letting politicians have a say over the interne (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546776)

My God, if we were allowed free expression we all know that perverts would attack us and poke holes in our panties. And then we would lose everything playing online poker and women could never marry as the men would all be renting whores from the net. And worse yet we would know the lies being told us by those above us little people.

Why not release the information earlier? (1)

yamfry (1533879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546686)

I honestly don't understand this. Can someone explain this to me: If the analysts are concerned that their information is being disseminated before they can get it to their clients, why don't they just give the information their clients earlier? If someone else can aggregate all of their data and get it out at 0700, why is it so hard for the people who -made the data- get it out at 0630?
If someone is paying me big bucks to determine the probability that it's going to rain today I'm going to make sure they know what I know ASAP. I'm not going to figure it out then go grab a latte and do a few Sudoko puzzles first while someone else sells my leaked meteorological research to somebody else.

Re:Why not release the information earlier? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31546894)

Because they have different "levels" of clients. Ones that are hooked up and get it earlier, ones that are slightly hooked up that get in next, and lastly the ones they do not really care about but the since they collect fees from them for a services, they hook them up eventually. The higher your level, the higher your potential gain is from that information. By the time the average investor hears about it, the people that were hooked up already have positioned themselves to profit from the them.

Free!!!!! (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546754)

Now look at our courts. Freedom of information is real good but only when it is stale and less useful! Our darling government in its infinite wisdom now decides that its feeble minded citizens must not know any information that might cause excitement or rapid action. Or is this supposedly done to help the banks, so dear to us all, for their recent sensitivities.

Bah! Humbug. (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31546936)

It's no big deal. They'll just need to publish them beyond the reach of the federal justice, which starts 0.0001 from the US border.

Re:Bah! Humbug. (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31548500)

0.0001 AU?
Because while theoretically out of US jurisdiction, you can still be sentenced in the US, brought in through extradiction procedures and imprisoned in US for crimes which were not crimes where you committed them.

(...ask any pedo who came back from Thailand...)

What you can say and when you can say it (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31548050)

I feel that society as a whole and my own safety and welfare specifically has not improved thanks to the government deciding what private citizens can and can't say (along with when they can and can't say it). I'm not much of a slippery slope guy, but I feel that ANY encroachment of the government on free speech outside of our current laws is a surefire way to fall down it.
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