I would like to reverse engineer a piece of software.

Assuming the license doesn't approve of it, can I simply pay someone outside the United States to do this? This article alludes to countries that don't follow such laws.

1 Answer 1


Sure, you can. But if you, from the US, contract with and pay someone outside the US and then use the results of that effort - the reverse-engineered code, either directly in violation of copyright or to find workarounds - within the US, you may not be culpable in a criminal sense (depending on different jurisdictions and trade/IP agreements), but you certainly would be liable in a civil sense.

If the US based software developer (I assume a US-based software company, as you said "outside the US") tracks you down, they can open a civil action against you for any damages they want to claim, including theft of IP, loss of profits, EULA violations, and on and on, because you posses and are using reverse engineered code. How much money do you have to lose?

  • What if the code is hard to prove where it came from?
    – William
    Mar 3, 2018 at 3:33
  • 2
    The company needs no proof to sue you in civil court. Their presentation of proof that you reverse-engineered only comes into play at an actual trial. The company can allege the theft in the suit, and you have to lawyer up and answer the suit or they win their damages by default. You may have to through discovery, costing you lots of money, even if they drop the suit before trial. If the case goes to trail, then the proof (or lack of) is determined by the jury; 75% of the jurors must agree (civil trials are not unanimous like criminal cases) with the plaintiff & against you. Do you feel lucky? Mar 3, 2018 at 4:03
  • In discovery you might have to show your bank accounts and payments you made, and then you will be asked what this payment to some guy in a far away country is for, and when you try to use your right to remain silent then the judge will legally assume that you have something to hide.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 12, 2023 at 18:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .