Say I have tremors, and I edit my GPL mouse driver to use image analysis to identify icons on the screen that I am trying to click on, and click on them for me, similar to a snap to grid functionality. I release my code under the GPL. I notice that it makes playing my GPL 1st person shooters (FPS) much easier, and mention this in the README.

From this question, it appears that I could be vulnerable to 2 legal threats:

  1. The authors of an FPS that has in the EULA the below could claim that "Selling something to someone which you reasonably believe will be used to break the law makes you an accessory", and my mention of FPS's in the README means I reasonably believed this could be used in this way.

any other use of TU in connection with the creation, development, or use of any such unauthorized cheats are prohibited under this EULA. Cheats include, but are not limited to: ... programs that automatically target other players or that automatically simulate any other player input to gain an advantage over other players ("aimbots");

  1. The authors of the original mouse driver could claim that "A contract for an illegal purpose is void", therefore I did not give GPL rights to the user, and therefore did abide by the terms of the GPL, and therefore breached their copyright.

Is there any merit in these claims? If not, are there any restrictions on such dual use tools?

This is hypothetical, so any jusritictions would be interesting. Most to me would be me in the UK and both authors in the US.


This sounds a bit far-fetched. There are laws against circumventing copy protection measures (DRM) but not against aimbotting (to the best of my knowledge). Thus, you cannot reasonably believe that a click-assist functionality would be used to break laws. It could definitely be used to break private contracts such as an EULA, but you are not a party to that contract and are not bound by its terms. Of course, when you use such click-assist tech in an online game, you might be breaking your contract with the game vendor or server provider. But this doesn't imply that a click-assist would be forbidden outside of that context.

Note that assistive technologies sometimes have exceptions from laws, e.g. a permission to circumvent DRM if necessary for accessibility. In the US, the Librarian of Congress adopts exceptions for a duration of three years. While none of the current exceptions match your specific scenario involving video-games, it can be permissible to break DRM on e-books or videos for certain accessibility enhancements.

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    You are not party to the contract but you could commit Tortious Interference – Trish Apr 21 at 14:24

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