Neither a software licensee, nor a competitor of the software licensor, violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act when the competitor accessed a server containing the licensor's proprietary files via a password supplied by the licensee who had been issued an administrative password by the licensor, a district court ruled. The competitor accessed the server in order to copy the licensee's data in connection with the installation of a new database system. As to the licensee, the found that the licensee's access to the server was not without authorization nor did it exceed authorized access within the meaning of the CFAA because the licensee had been given administrative access by the licensor. Although the licensor claimed that the licensee's administrative access was for a limited purpose, the court concluded that the licensee's purpose in accessing the server was irrelevant and the licensee's alleged improper purpose did not render its access unauthorized. Similarly, the court concluded that the competitor's access was not unauthorized because it utilized a password that the licensee had the authority to issue.

Atpac, Inc. v. Aptitude Solutions, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87519 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 3, 2010) Download PDF