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datanex wrote
Actually cracks (software patches to circumvent copy protection) are just as illegal as posting full warez themselves. They are criminal violations of copyright law. Not only can you be sued in civil court by the owner/author, but there are now an increasing number of criminal charges that can be filed for such thefts of intellectual property.

The commercial software developer is the same as a musician. If they make a living by selling what they produce be it an application, game, or album, and you get it for free, it's stealing.


You are only partially correct in your statement about violating copyright law. I am allowed by US Federal law to do whatever I want to any piece of software that resides on my PC that I legally own. It falls under the Fair Use doctrine of reverse engineeging. I do it on a daily basis, so I am quite confident when I say this. And Federal Law will overide any EULA that exists I can assure you.

Think about this.....if Compaq had never reverse engineered the IBM PC, we would all be using IBM produced PC's. Instead, because of the law, and within limitations, you are allowed to reverse engineer things including software and hardware. It is the same people that make aftermarket components for your car. You think they just magically are able to produce pice parts that work and fit the way they are supposed to?

Circumventing copy protection is a much more touchier issue. By your logic, a so-called "no-cd" patch would be illegal, when in fact they aren't really. Some people will try and convince you that requiring you to have your CD in your machine to run a certain game or application is one method of preventing copy protection. That's a bunch of hooey!! There are tons of commercial applications available to circumvent the whole notion of having to use CD's.

And getting something for free isn't necessarily stealing.

tks,

My name is Tim, and I am a simoholic

Server specs (Server OS / Apache / MySQL / PHP / DragonflyCMS):
linux/2.0.52/4.1.20/4.3.9/9.1.2.1


swdiecast wrote
You are only partially correct in your statement about violating copyright law. I am allowed by US Federal law to do whatever I want to any piece of software that resides on my PC that I legally own. It falls under the Fair Use doctrine of reverse engineeging. I do it on a daily basis, so I am quite confident when I say this. And Federal Law will overide any EULA that exists I can assure you.

Think about this.....if Compaq had never reverse engineered the IBM PC, we would all be using IBM produced PC's. Instead, because of the law, and within limitations, you are allowed to reverse engineer things including software and hardware. It is the same people that make aftermarket components for your car. You think they just magically are able to produce pice parts that work and fit the way they are supposed to?

Circumventing copy protection is a much more touchier issue. By your logic, a so-called "no-cd" patch would be illegal, when in fact they aren't really. Some people will try and convince you that requiring you to have your CD in your machine to run a certain game or application is one method of preventing copy protection. That's a bunch of hooey!! There are tons of commercial applications available to circumvent the whole notion of having to use CD's.

And getting something for free isn't necessarily stealing.

tks,


I'd brush up a bit on your intellectual property law...

First, most people involved in software piracy don't do things to software for their personal enjoyment. They remove the copy protection and time limitations and distribute it to others. That is a violation of Federal law.

Second, Fair Use is not a carte blanche to do whatever you want to something that you purchased. Check out the software license agreement. Just because Federal law allows Fair use in certain circumstances doesn't mean that it overrides software licenses. There are limitations to what you can and cannot do. Fair use applies to reverse engineering, but not to cracking.

"In the context of computer technologies, the fair use doctrine is often used in the context of reverse engineering. Under trade secret principles, it is generally accepted to "reverse engineer" a product to determine how the product works. Reverse engineering may involve analyzing circuit board layouts, "peeling" back a integrated circuit chip, or decompiling computer software. However, it is impossible to decompile software and then analyze the results without making a copy (or a derivative work) of the software. Courts have sometimes held that the making of these copies in the context of reverse engineering is a fair use and is not copyright infringement." -- Bitlaw on Fair Use


Note that courts have "sometimes" called making a copy or a derivative work fair use, but there is nothing set in stone in making a determination as such.

Third, reverse engineering as it pertains to hardware is common, but one must be careful of PATENT infringement. You can reference other patents in creating your new product, but there are always risks of lawsuits filed by the Patent owner. The way around these lawsuits is by use of "Clean room design."

Clean Room is the method of copying a design by reverse engineering and then recreating it without infringing any of the copyrights and trade secrets associated with the original design.

Clean room design is useful as a defense against infringement because it relies on independent invention. Because independent invention is not a defense against patents, clean room designs typically cannot be used to circumvent patent restrictions.

Typically, a clean room design is done by having someone examine the system to be reimplemented and having this person write a specification. This specification is then reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that no copyrighted material is included. The specification is then implemented by a team with no connection to the original examiners.

A famous example is that of Compaq who built the first clone of an IBM computer through a clean room implementation of its BIOS. They didn't just do it because Fair Use allowed them to. They did it under strict limitations and restrictions.

Also, the fact that IBM allowed Microsoft to license MS-DOS to non-IBM systems was the catalyst that opened the door to companies like Compaq to make PC-Clones.

--Datanex

Server specs (Server OS / Apache / MySQL / PHP / DragonflyCMS):
Windows 2000 SP4 / Apache 2.0.58 / MySQL 4.1.20-community nt / PHP 5.2.0-dev / CPGNuke 9.0.6.1


datanex wrote


I'd brush up a bit on your intellectual property law...

First, most people involved in software piracy don't do things to software for their personal enjoyment. They remove the copy protection and time limitations and distribute it to others. That is a violation of Federal law.


I am very well versed in intellectual property law, and I never said doing the above was not illegal. I said what I do on my computer is my business, including reverse engineering software. In your scenario, I would agree 100% with you. And BTW, I am not involved with Software Piracy in any way.

datanex wrote

Second, Fair Use is not a carte blanche to do whatever you want to something that you purchased. Check out the software license agreement. Just because Federal law allows Fair use in certain circumstances doesn't mean that it overrides software licenses. There are limitations to what you can and cannot do. Fair use applies to reverse engineering, but not to cracking.


The software license agreement, aka EULA, are two completely different things. The EULA is a contract between you and the maker. Fair Use is Federal Law and have little to do with each other. In fact, most states don't recognize EULA's as being binding. Once again, I never said Fair Use applied to "cracking."

datanex wrote

"In the context of computer technologies, the fair use doctrine is often used in the context of reverse engineering. Under trade secret principles, it is generally accepted to "reverse engineer" a product to determine how the product works. Reverse engineering may involve analyzing circuit board layouts, "peeling" back a integrated circuit chip, or decompiling computer software. However, it is impossible to decompile software and then analyze the results without making a copy (or a derivative work) of the software. Courts have sometimes held that the making of these copies in the context of reverse engineering is a fair use and is not copyright infringement." -- Bitlaw on Fair Use


Note that courts have "sometimes" called making a copy or a derivative work fair use, but there is nothing set in stone in making a determination as such.


I never said there was.

I would love to debate the merits in the above discussion, but we have ventured way off-topic I think.

I apologize, as I was not trying to hijack anyone's thread.

tks,

My name is Tim, and I am a simoholic

Server specs (Server OS / Apache / MySQL / PHP / DragonflyCMS):
linux/2.0.52/4.1.20/4.3.9/9.1.2.1


I didn't mean to sound like I was implying you were involved with piracy. I was only addressing the act of modifying software on one's computer for less than legal reasons and clarifying how Fair Use applies to reverse engineering and the limitations involved.

I'm always up for good debate and yes, this specific thread is not the right place. I too apologize for any unintended hijacking.

--Datanex

Server specs (Server OS / Apache / MySQL / PHP / DragonflyCMS):
Windows 2000 SP4 / Apache 2.0.58 / MySQL 4.1.20-community nt / PHP 5.2.0-dev / CPGNuke 9.0.6.1

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