[Ilugc] Immunity from IPR issues for Closed Source software
ramanraj at md4.vsnl.net.in
Thu Jul 22 20:52:37 IST 2004
Suresh Ramasubramanian wrote:
> Ramanraj K wrote:
>> It is upto the authors of computer programs to enforce their rights.
>> AFAIK, it is difficult to judge copyright infringement from mere
>> binaries, unless it is a byte for byte binary copy, it which case
>> there is no need to look into sources to conclude copyright
>> infringement. But if the source code has not been disclosed, then it
>> would have to be summoned, and if there is a failure to produce it,
>> in most jurisdictions an "adverse inference" would be drawn against
>> the person so refusing to produce.
> Simply running "strings" on the binary, or inspecting it with a hex
> editor, should give some more information.
Probably it would be the work of experts to reason and tell if a work
has been copied or not.
I tried editing line 12 of the binary of hello, and running it:
Hello, world!: virtual memory exhausted # Hello, world! (works)
Hullo, earth!: virtual memory exhausted # Hullo, earth! (works)
Hello, kannan, ramanraj, and srs!: virtual memory exhausted # BUG IN
DYNAMIC LINKER ld.so: dynamic-link.h: 57: elf_get_dynamic_info:
Assertion `! "bad dynamic tag"' failed!
I tried changing the text on line 5 of the binary of GNU computer
program hello from Gnu to Gnu/Linux and ran hello, but the above error
was again generated and the program failed to run :)
BTW, that looks like stuff for an orginal new sig srs could use :)
Removing as much as a caret ^ caused Segmentation fault.
I guess there there nothing much we can do with just binaries, apart
from trivial text or other kinds of manupulations that could be easily
known. In most cases where the author releases _only_ binaries,
unauthorised copying of the binaries in toto or with minor string
changes may be the main basis for the claim.
But in case of GPL'ed or other software released under like licenses,
along with the source code, a lot more is possible. Simply, dummy
lines of code could be added to distort the binary, and make it look
`original'. Where the author strongly suspects violation of the GPL,
summoning the source code may be the best way to get to the truth
easily. There is atleast one case that involved a Japanese Networking
company that violated the GPL, that ended in a settlement, with the
violator agreeing to make a substantial contribution to FSF-Europe.
Therefore, being alert about violations could help :)
Note: In my two earlier posts I inadvertantly included some chars from
the hello binary that was interpreted by mozilla differently, and the
rest of the message was snipped ;)
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