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Re: Reverse engineering case law (fwd)




----- Forwarded message from Michael Motyka -----

Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 15:18:44 -0800
From: Michael Motyka <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: CDR: Reverse engineering case law

[ text deleted ]

So Jim's question is a good one but in light of how the 1st is applied (
not ) in the digital realm, I wonder how far legislative pressure from
corporations trying to protect intellectual property will allow IP case
law from the physical realm to apply in the digital.

[ Well here's another one, I think. Microprocessor mask patterns are
  copyrighted. Now if a second company comes along to build their own
  clone how is it that copyright prevents them from reverse engineering
  the chip by direct copying? The cpu itself is hardware, not IP. The
  technology to make any cpu, irrespective of processor architecture
  is covered in seperate patents and copyrights as I understand it. So
  how can this be? As I understand it to escape copyright (are there
  other aspects like trademarking that protect cpu's?) a clone must
  be built from 'clean room' bases. As I understand this that means they
  can take publicly available data, excluding an actual example of the
  thing to be built, use engineers who knew nothing of the system
  previously, etc. Sorry for the vague discription, I've never worked
  in that environment.

  Now for another aspect, is there some aspect of the law that prevents
  colusion on the part of citizens to create precidences before the
  situation arises for large corporations. For example, a couple of
  groups get together and create a contract. One of the groups renigs or
  behaves in a specific manner in order to force the case. Citizens have
  a right to redress of grievences. The law requies 'real harm' (or
  something similar) in orfer to bring an issue before the courts. Is
  there something in the law that prevents a contract that encases another
  contract such that the encasing contract breaks the encased contract.
  And as part of the encasing contract the parties agree to sue for
  resolution over damages incured in the encased contract? Can you have a
  legal contract that requires the parties to behave in such a manner that
  they can sue each other? ]

[ Text deleted. ]

If someone ( for example the motion picture industry ) wants to protect
their rights they should own some HW companies and develop some good
patented technology that let's them enforce their rights through
technology rather than draconian legislative threats.

[ I have to agree this is a superior approach. I have come to the view that
  copyright actualy slows down competition as well as innovation. I would
  however alter the patent system so that basic research wasn't patentable.
  It should only be products or other commercial instantiations that are
  protected. I would also have all right go to the public domain on the
  death of the holder. It would not be transferable. And it would have to
  be held by a living person. ]

It's about the same as the Cypherpunks theme that anonymity needs to be
created in such a way that any legislation intended to prevent it is
about as significant as a fart in a hurricane.

[ Agreed. ]

----- End of forwarded message from Michael Motyka -----

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