Reverse Engineering Software for Interoperability – LAW UPDATE July 2010
This is a hot issue, so whether you have a software EULA or SAAS contract protecting your software, you may want to learn more about reverse engineering and its legality (i.e. looking under the hood). In essence, most software and SAAS contracts specifically state that the user is prohibited from reverse engineering the software; by the way, this is something that should be addressed in the contract as copyright law does not provide this type of protection. There have historically been no real exceptions to the contractual prohibition on reverse engineering, but in the past decade or so there has been some changes or erosion to this protection (depending on your perspective).
1) Law Update July 2010 (iPhone Reverse Engineering for Interoperability): Actually the Library of Congress added some new exemptions (on July 26, 2010) to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which originally provided that it was illegal to circumvent technological measures that effectively controlled access to a work (even if you were reverse engineering to make your product work with theirs).
- The exemptions are (I am paraphrasing here) (a) getting around access controls to enable an owner of a smart-phone to access software apps on the smart-phone that were independently created (i.e. apps not in the Apple app store), and (b) getting around access controls to enable an owner of a smart-phone to access another network (i.e. using an iPhone with another carrier). [US Copyright