User: Password:
Subscribe / Log in / New account

Software, reverse engineering and the law

Software, reverse engineering and the law

Posted May 4, 2005 19:24 UTC (Wed) by lacostej (guest, #2760)
Parent article: Software, reverse engineering and the law

I have a question related to reverse engineering. Let's say that a company provides a library and I implement an open source tool that integrates with it (thanks to a plugin provided by someone else). Now in order for anyone to create a full binary version of the open source tool, one needs to have access to this third party library. Unfortunately this library might not be redistributable.

So I've made a mock library that I intend to redistribute freely. It's an interface-only version of the library (no implementation at all) which is complete enough for anyone to correctly compile the tool.

To create this mock library I've used a 2 step procedure: someone wrote a client of that official library, and I wrote the mock library based on the client's code. I never had access to the official library.

My questions are:
- does anyone think that this action could be considered illegal? (After all my mock library needs to use the exact same names as the original one)

- does anyone think that a tool that automates the writing of this mock library could be illegal? The tool could use a 2 step approach as described above, or a one step one, reading the official library and producing the mock from it right away.

Comments appreciated.


(Log in to post comments)

Software, reverse engineering and the law

Posted May 4, 2005 20:04 UTC (Wed) by MathFox (guest, #6104) [Link]

For your first question: I can't say; IANAL and jurisdiction and licences are very important here. See a real lawyer.

I see no problems with a program that takes an interface specification and writes out a skeleton implementation of the interface. (As long as it is an original work that doesn't infringe patents.) There is a snag here: A judge will consider the output from your program a "derivative work" from the input. Running the program on a third party library could be against its license conditions.

Software, reverse engineering and the law

Posted May 4, 2005 22:08 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

The only one who can do something illegal is person who wrote client program. If there were nothing in library license preventing this then everything should be legal.

Writing such a tool is not illegal - it's usage can be illegal if library in question has really strict license.

Copyright © 2017, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds