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ComputerWorld: Battle brews over reverse engineering

May 05, 2000, 13:06 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ann Harrison)

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"Recent court decisions limiting developers' rights to reverse-engineer software products have sparked an outcry by critics who say these actions could severely limit developers and users trying to interoperate or find flaws in commercial software."

"Fair-use provisions in the copyright laws that permit reverse engineering have spurred the development of software that competes with proprietary applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel. For example, San Jose-based Phoenix Technologies Ltd.'s reverse engineering of IBM's BIOS in the mid-1980s became the basis for the entire PC clone industry."

"While Congress made exceptions in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act for interoperability development and security testing, these exceptions have been overridden in favor of anticircumvention provisions and trade secrecy laws."

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