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Upside: R.I.P. reverse engineering?

Mar 21, 2000, 20:31 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeffrey W. Reyna)

"Mattel said that by reverse engineering CyberPatrol, "developing source code and binaries to bypass" CyberPatrol's protections, and then posting the utilities on the Internet, the programmers had violated Mattel's copyrights and the terms of the CyberPatrol license...."

"The first major case to examine the tension between copyright law and reverse engineering of software was Sega Enterprises v. Accolade. This case was a classic battle pitting two computer game-maker competitors."

"The facts are fairly straightforward. Sega said that Accolade violated copyright law when it reverse-engineered Sega's proprietary game software. Accolade countered that it reverse-engineered the software for the sole purpose of making Accolade games interoperable with the Sega Genesis game console...."

"The bottom line is that some narrow forms of software reverse engineering can constitute "fair use" of copyrighted software. Outside this narrow exception, however, copyright law acts as a shield to protect software companies from the unauthorized reverse engineering of their copyrighted works."

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