On 24 Nov 2008, at 2:44 AM, Jan Depner wrote:
> On Sun, 2008-11-23 at 15:49 +0100, Pieter Palmers wrote:
again, I'm also not a lawyer, but I understand that the supposed
legal basis of those restrictions is based on the assertion that you,
as a buyer of the software, do not actually buy the software but
instead buy a licence to use it in particular ways defined by the
license you buy.
This is also the basis of open source licenses such as GPL, where it
is carefully explained that the copyright owner(s) are NOT giving
away ownership/copyright of the code, but instead give away a license
for anyone to use it (and in the case of GPL modify and redistribute
it) if AND ONLY IF they accept and abide by the terms of that license.
The legal justification for reverse engineering usually relies on the
people doing the reverse engineering never accepting any of the
restrictive licenses applying to the code AND never looking at any
code or documentation published by the copyright owners relating to
the code that is not clearly released into the public domain, so that
it can be argued that the reverse engineered code is completely
independent of the copyright material and was in no way derived from
it. This may seem a thin reed to rely on, but it has been
successfully argued as a defence in cases such as samba, where the
windows file sharing system was reverse engineered and microsoft
eventually gave up its legal fight against it.
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