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From mpav@purdue.edu Fri, 1 Oct 1999 21:17:19 -0500 (EST)
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 21:17:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Matthew R. Pavlovich mpav@purdue.edu
Subject: [Livid-dev] Hacking out the drivers.. [Formerly a lot of subjects]

1) Reverse engineering is illegal in most (if not all) of the countries
that developers in this project live in.

a) That is something we probably need to learn to live with.

b) Can be worked with.. we just need to develop positive
relationships with manufacturers. We were able to get 
the microcode with for the GLX project by *working* with
Matrox. It was not easy to get them convinced to even 
test out the driver in the first place, let alone have
them provide us with support in the form of hardware, 
documentation and programmers. I am trying to build a
relationship with Zoran similarly with Matrox. Its slow.
They (manufacturers) don't understand a _lot_ of things. 

2) DVD (everything non-free) will be hacked before the end of time.

a) This is a very nasty thing and a lot is on the line for
those involved.

b) There is plenty of other things that can be focused on 
before full fledged DVD playback is hacked. 

Solution:

1) Get somewhere with what we have to show manufacturers.

a) We need functionality of some sort out of whatever hardware 
we have documentation for and what ever functionality we can 
get with what we have.

b) If we can get MPEG-2 playback and then convince them to 
demonstrate it to their powers that be, we can start to 
realize our goal of free DVD playback for the fastest growing
OS. 

c) Support is manufacturers' #1 issue when dealing with Linux.

Organization is the key to the success of any group project and I am the
first to say I have not been doing all I can to organize our efforts.

I have been limiting my work on other projects and really changing gears
for LiViD. I can't stand all the posts that say the only thing ppl boot
to windows for is DVD playback.

Matthew R. Pavlovich

From pclee@nortelnetworks.com Tue, 5 Oct 1999 15:37:48 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 15:37:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: Peter Lee pclee@nortelnetworks.com
Subject: [Livid-dev] Reverse Engineering is legal in most countries

I hate to add to the clutter, especially with exciting
breakthrough news for this Livid project. However, I have
to address incorrect statements that has been made on
this list concerning reverse engineering.

I am not a lawyer either, though not for lack of trying.
I do have a law degree from a university in Canada,
and I have studied Intellectual Property Law for several
years.


The following statement is completely incorrect:

>Matthew R. Pavlovich:
>1) Reverse engineering is illegal in most (if not all) of the countries
>that developers in this project live in.

A strong statement may be made in the reverse direction:

Reverse engineering IS LEGAL in most (if not all) of the countries
that developers in this project live in.


In particular, I have expertise in Anglo-American legal jurisdications.
For those countries in particular, I know that reverse engineering is
legal by default. These countries include U.K., Ireland, U.S., Canada,
New Zealand, Australia, and may also include other former British colonies.

I do not have specific knowledge about the European Union in=20
particular. But it is counterintuitive that EU countries would=20
shackle their residents with prohibitions which makes them less
competitive in a global economy. Perhaps a reader with legal expertise=20
concerning the EU can give us a tutorial.



Perhaps the source of this problem is a misunderstanding of what=20
Reverse Engineering is. re:

>Michael Holzt
>There was for example the case of a company which
>produced a patch for autocad to get rid of the dongle. They were
>in fact sentenced, because they used (of couse had to) RE and
>disassembling of the autocad code to develop the patch.

The example given here is not Reverse Engineering, but
what the reverse engineering is used for.
This is an example of copyright violation of autocad.

It is not the study of autocad, the reverse engineering, which
enables the production of a dongle defeating patch, that is
illegal. It is the actual production and distribution of the
dongle defeating path; plus the possession
of a copy of autocad which is not legally sanctioned, i.e.
purchased; that is illegal.
The production and distribution of such a patch is also illegal,=20
and likely criminal, in U.S. and Canada as well.



Reverse Engineering, in the Linux environment, is the study
of available information, to produce our own software, not to
use someone else's software without paying for it. That is why
there is no illegality with reverse engineering to produce
Linux applications.


Note on copyright:

Because copyright is easily acquired, many people try to use
copyright to control everything, turning coypright, into a
kind of "Super Patent". However, in return for the ease of
acquisition, the level of protection offered by copyright is
quite shallow.

Copyright, in general, does not cover information, only the
form that the information is expressed in. That knowledge itself
may be used freely, once it is obtained. In copyright law,
this doctrine is called the idea-expression dichotomy.
Expression is protected by copyright, but ideas are not protected.

It is a dangerous and incorrect extension of copyright to assert=20
that, for example, we may not study software in order to find
out how it works.=20


/Peter C. Lee pclee@nortelnetworks.com

From kju@flummi.de Tue, 5 Oct 1999 23:14:42 +0200
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 23:14:42 +0200
From: Michael Holzt kju@flummi.de
Subject: [Livid-dev] Reverse Engineering is legal in most countries

On Tue, Oct 05, 1999 at 03:37:48PM -0400, Peter Lee wrote:
> The example given here is not Reverse Engineering, but
> what the reverse engineering is used for.
> This is an example of copyright violation of autocad.

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. If you don't know details about European
and German law, why can't you just avoid guessing?!?!

Some people here always try to make global statements, but the
laws in question are very different from country to country.
Why can't you accept this.

If you don't know about a specific countries law, please don't post 
about it. It will very likely be wrong.

> It is not the study of autocad, the reverse engineering, which
> enables the production of a dongle defeating patch, that is
> illegal.
> It is the actual production and distribution of the dongle 
> defeating path; plus the possession of a copy of autocad which is not 
> legally sanctioned, i.e. purchased; that is illegal.

Germany has no law like the US which explicitely forbid the production
of copyright breaking software. And: This patch was meant to be used
by users which have valid licenses of autocad but don't want to have
the hassle with the dongles any longer.

> Reverse Engineering, in the Linux environment, is the study
> of available information, to produce our own software, 

The reverse engineering used to produce the DXR2-Driver which was
in question at the beginning of this thread was done by disassembling
the original driver, and this is clearly outlawed by european law.
In fact old german law allowed doing so, but the EU law which has to
be accepted by germany changed this.

> That is why there is no illegality with reverse engineering to produce
> Linux applications.

Please anybody STOP to make such global statements. They will NEVER
be true for more than only a couple of countries. I try to tell this
for days now, but some people seems to be unable to get it. Why?

Reverse Engineering is a dangerous business and even the definitions
of Reverse Engineering and the clauses what may be done legally and
what may not are so much different allover the world. 

> It is a dangerous and incorrect extension of copyright to assert 
> that, for example, we may not study software in order to find
> out how it works. 

Law is not always what we would define as correct. EU law does
not allow reverse engineering by disassembling. Please accept this
simple fact.

From derek@spider.com Tue, 5 Oct 1999 22:34:07 +0100
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 22:34:07 +0100
From: Derek Fawcus derek@spider.com
Subject: [Livid-dev] Reverse Engineering is legal in most countries

On Tue, Oct 05, 1999 at 11:14:42PM +0200, Michael Holzt wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 05, 1999 at 03:37:48PM -0400, Peter Lee wrote:
> 
> > Reverse Engineering, in the Linux environment, is the study
> > of available information, to produce our own software, 
> 
> The reverse engineering used to produce the DXR2-Driver which was
> in question at the beginning of this thread was done by disassembling
> the original driver, and this is clearly outlawed by european law.

What is forbidden by EU law - the act of disassembly? Or are you
referring to the fact that the code was disassembled and (I assume)
reassembled (and distributed) for Linux. If the latter then that
would be a copyright violation.

Can you supply a reference to the EU law that forbids disassembly,
because I'm not aware of any such law applying in Britain. But then
Britain does have a lot of opt outs for soem of the ideas that come
from Strazburg/Brussels.

> Law is not always what we would define as correct. EU law does
> not allow reverse engineering by disassembling. Please accept this
> simple fact.

Reference please. The only one I've heard of allows dissasembly
for interopability - and I'm not even sure if that applies here.

DF
-- 
Derek Fawcus derek@spider.com
Spider Software Ltd. +44 (0) 131 475 7034

From kju@flummi.de Tue, 5 Oct 1999 23:37:36 +0200
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 23:37:36 +0200
From: Michael Holzt kju@flummi.de
Subject: [Livid-dev] Reverse Engineering is legal in most countries

> What is forbidden by EU law - the act of disassembly? 

Yes, and very likely the usage of software which was created by
doing so. But the latter is a guess by me, where i'm very sure
about the first.

> Can you supply a reference to the EU law that forbids disassembly,

I will come back on this, will try to find the appropiate articles.

> Reference please. The only one I've heard of allows dissasembly
> for interopability - and I'm not even sure if that applies here.

Afaik something similar (interoperabilty) is in EU law but in 
a very limited way.

I will try to find the references where i have my knowledge from,
but i'm very sure that i'm right.

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