[sane-devel] Legal Aspects

Olaf Meeuwissen olaf at member.fsf.org
Thu Mar 30 11:15:32 UTC 2006

Till Kamppeter <till.kamppeter at gmx.net> writes:

> Ullrich Sigwanz wrote:
>> QUESTION: Is reverse engineering of hardware protocols legal at all?
>> EPKOWA (e.g.) state in their License agreement, that ....
>>   ...You may neither reverse engineer, reverse compile, reverse
>>      assemble nor otherwise attempt to analyse those parts of the
>>      Program that were provided to you in executable or object code
>>      only.....
> You are not allowed to reverse-engineer the PROGRAM's source code
> (uncompiling or so), this has nothing to do with the device's PROTOCOL.
> If you obtain the protocol by a USB or Ethernet sniffer, you do not
> violate the above-mentioned paragraph.

On personal title, I agree with Till.
I think it is perfectly legal to sniff ALL packets that arrive on ANY
hardware interface of my computer.

As for the EPSON AVASYS Public Licence (EAPL, formerly EKPL), it has
an exception to the generic "no reverse engineering" that allows you
to use reverse engineering in debugging problems in your customised
version of the software (as required per LGPL).  But then again, the
protocol is not covered by that licence in any way that I can think

# FYI, EPSON KOWA Corporation was renamed to EPSON AVASYS Corporation
# about a year ago ... hence the change from EKPL to EAPL.  The epkowa
# backend, however, was not renamed.

Hope this helps,
Olaf Meeuwissen
FSF Associate Member #1962           sign up at http://member.fsf.org/
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Penguin's lib!       -- I hack, therefore I am --               LPIC-2

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