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This is a follow-up to my question about Googling how to do something that's normally a crime.

Breaking into a car is usually illegal, but there are cases where it is legal (and in some countries mandatory, but that's not relevant here). The two I know of are breaking into someone else's car to rescue a child or domestic animal in hot weather or breaking into your own car for any reason or no reason (as long as it's paid off and you don't try to make an insurance claim, of course).

Since there are cases where it is legal to break into a car, is it legal to publish a guide on how to break into a car online? Does it need to have a disclaimer saying to comply with all applicable laws?

Could the author be held responsible if someone uses the instructions to illegally break into a car?

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Since there are cases where it is legal to break into a car, is it legal to publish a guide on how to break into a car online?

It is legal to publish this guide. Indeed, it is legal to do so even if there are no cases where it is legal to do so.

Does it need to have a disclaimer saying to comply with all applicable laws?

No.

Could the author be held responsible if someone uses the instructions to illegally break into a car?

Generally not. I could imagine that there might be some very specific and exceptional fact pattern where it might, but that would be the rare exception.

But see man sentenced to twenty-years in prison after pledging support to ISIS and uploading a bomb making video related to that pledge.

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  • Taking this to the extreme, because I am legitimately curious. Does this mean I could publish a recipe to make C4 or Semtex? And if someone were to use my recipe and blow up a building, I would still have not committed a crime?
    – mikem
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 6:10
  • In the USA, freedom of speech is almost the highest principle. In other countries the law is stricter and you can be convicted of possessing material on bombmaking - especially if you are brown-skinned or Muslim.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 13:40
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    @mikem "Does this mean I could publish a recipe to make C4 or Semtex?" Yes. "And if someone were to use my recipe and blow up a building, I would still have not committed a crime?" It is very unlikely that you would have committed a crime without additional facts connecting you to a crime.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 19:00

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