GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
Posted Sep 29, 2007 19:22 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata
In reply to: GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
Parent article: GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
I forgot about the reverse engineering to determine an interface protocol. I don't think my engineering terminology calls that interface protocol "requirements," though. Requirements I'm used to are something like "must read Microsoft Word documents," and then it is an engineering task to develop a design, which includes figuring out the Word document format, and you might do that starting with a finished copy of Word. The resulting design might be expressed in a functional specification, which would include the document format.
If you are copying internal details that don't matter, just because you don't want to design them yourself, that's also reverse engineering, but it is probably also copyright infringement assuming the original is under copyright.
To be copyright infringement, you'd have to copy the code verbatim, and then I don't see any engineering involved. If you just disassemble the code, understand how it's structured, and then write code that's structured the same way and does the same things, there's no copyright infringement. In fact, you can start with the original source code and do the same thing and you're still OK.
Patent infringement, maybe. If it's easier to analyze someone else's object code than to write code from scratch, you're probably dealing with some patentable innovation.
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