Subject: Re: Reverse Engineering and Derived Works in Open Source Licenses?
From: Jeremy Malcolm <>
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 17:24:41 +0800
Fri, 7 Mar 2003 17:24:41 +0800
On Fri, 7 Mar 2003 00:39:10 -0800 (PST)
"James Michael DuPont" <> wrote:

> I am just reading up on the relationship between reverse engineering
> and  derived works. 
> This article seems to apply to all open source licenses, not just the
> GPL. 
> Does anyone care to comment?

The conclusions expressed seem correct to me.  There is no copyright in
ideas, only in the expression of ideas.  I'm not particularly worried by
this, though.  If we can reverse-engineer proprietary software (which we
can; in Australia this is specifically authorised under the Copyright
Act for certain purposes even if the licence agreement prohibits it)
then why shouldn't they be allowed to reverse-engineer free software? 
May the better implementation win.

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