0

I have installed an Android app that lets me play with networking and HTTP headers. One of the perks of the app is to be able to export a configuration file so other users that also have the app can import it and use your server (the purpose of the app is to make an SSH tunnel so the config files have SSH server address and credentials, among other things) The thing is, you can choose to "lock" the configuration files so the people you share them with can import them and connect to your server, but can't actually see the server address or credentials. I assume the files are encrypted with AES and the key is static, but I'm getting off-topic now.

One of the clauses in the EULA clearly states:

"You may not decompile or reverse engineer the software, for any purpose or under any circumstance."

The reason I want to reverse engineer it is to decode the configuration files, so the people who want to can use the data in other apps such as OpenVPN.

The U.S law for reverse engineering is pretty clear in this regard:

(f)Reverse Engineering.— (1)Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.

So, in this case, since my objective is to achieve interoperability (so users can use the data from the config files in other apps) wouldn't this count as an unlawful clause in the license agreement, therefore, invalidating the entire contract?

1

wouldn't this count as an unlawful clause in the license agreement, therefore, invalidating the entire contract?

No. The excerpt of legislation you posted implies that the clause in the EULA is null and void --rather than illegal-- if your reason for reverse engineering meets the legislative criteria.

For the clause to be illegal, the statute would have to outlaw clauses which prohibit the reverse engineering intended for achieving interoperability. The statute does not prohibit those clauses. Instead, it only authorizes you to ignore that clause, provided that your reason for doing so is to achieve interoperability.

Lastly, an invalid clause does not invalidate the entire contract. Any portions of the contract which do not depend on the invalid clause retain their status of [being] binding and enforceable.

| improve this answer | |
0

No

However, if you do reverse engineer the software you cannot use the licence for any other purpose. By doing so you have “stepped out” of the licence and can only copy the software as permitted by copyright law. Therefore, if you do reverse engineer it you may lose the ability to do other things you want to do.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Can I get a source on that? As far as I know there isn't any "giving up your rights as a licensee". I could be wrong though – ENZOLU May 20 at 22:43
  • 1
    @ENZOLU if you don’t comply with the licence you are choosing to not have it apply to you. – Dale M May 20 at 22:47
  • ENZOLU doesn't want to comply with a void clause. I think that in the USA, UK and EU if a clause is void and is not an essential element of the contract, the rest of the contract is not void. – Lag May 21 at 7:41
  • @Lag: the rest of the contract being void or not at least in Germany depends on the type of contract - it is true for general terms and conditions/standard contracts, so we can safely assume that this is the case here. An individually negotiated contract would need a severability clause for this, though. – cbeleites unhappy with SX May 21 at 9:41
0

Just to play Devil's advocate with the bold you've selected in Title 17 Code 1201 paragraph f subparagraph 1:

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.

... the copyright holder could (and presumably would) argue that your lawful right to use a copy of the program was contingent on your acceptance of the End User License Agreement in its entirety, and as such any use of the program by you without this agreement would not be lawful.

If you're going ahead with this, make it your lawyer's problem, not yours.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.