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NewsForge: Bnetd Reverse Engineering Ruling May Stifle Innovation

“Blizzard Entertainment, maker of the popular Warcraft and
Diablo videogame titles, handed opponents of reverse engineering
perhaps their most potent weapon to date last month when the US 8th
Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in its case against open source
software developers who had created BnetD, an application that
emulated Blizzard’s Battle.Net and let gamers connect with each
other outside of the company’s servers.

“In upholding a lower court ruling, the court held the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act–which has previously been the basis of
protecting a degree of reverse engineering in software–prohibited
the reverse engineering BnetD developers required to create their
software. In addition, the ruling held that so-called click-wrap,
browse-wrap, or handshake licenses may also prohibit the reverse
engineering…”

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