Legally, conceptually, this is all pretty easy stuff. Insiders who corruptly misuse corporate information to benefit themselves and their buddies are guilty of insider trading. Investment analysts who diligently research companies, including by calling up the companies and asking them questions, are not. There are some gray areas, but in most practical cases you can tell which is which. But prosecutors, jurors and even some judges can't quite believe it. They want insider trading law to be about fairness, to vindicate the idea that "the system should not be rigged," and to punish fat-cat hedge fund managers who get more access to companies than the average investor. That's not what the law is, really, but because the law doesn't match up very well with the average person's intuitions, it will always feel a bit unstable. Even if it never really changes that much.