Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Reverse Engineering Under Attack

Found a link on Groklaw about a recent legal case, where Blizzard sued a group of open-source developers for reverse-engineering their network protocol for their network games. They did this through a combination of the End-User License Agreement (EULA) and our favorite law, the DMCA.

The basis of their case is that the game's EULA, like every EULA made since the late 90s, contains a provision forbidding any reverse engineering or disassembling of the source code, for any purpose whatsoever. It was widely understood that while these EULAs claimed the moon, most of the provisions of them were unenforceable. Even the DMCA has provisions within it that allow reverse-engineering for purposes of interoperability.

The worst thing this ruling says is that there is some merit to any claim made in an EULA, which opens the door to nuisance lawsuits any time one is violated. Also may be time for the tech industry to wake up and realize that IP laws can hurt as much as they can help -- every company I've worked for has done significant reverse-engineering of other companies devices in order to build competing products.


brainhell said...

When people try to legislate what you can do with technology, it usually points to hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

hey look i CAN post w/out loggin in!!!! but it says anonymous...LAME!

~ the Ex