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Thread: Legality of this reverse engineering

  1. #1
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    Legality of this reverse engineering

    I have been reading articles on reverse engineering and the legal effects of it. I keep finding that the only way you are able to be charged with a crime is if you accept the EULA and it states that you can not reverse engineer.

    So I give you this scenario :

    I am wanting to create a native Linux client of the Half-Life 1 game. This will not connect to the official Half-Life servers for anything, all it will do is use the existing Half-Life textures, models, sounds etc to make it all work. So where under U.S. law would this come at.

    Sorry for the rather nontechnical explanation. I am rather tired at the moment and don't have the patience to type out a full technical summary. Feel free to ask questions if you have them though.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    Quote Originally Posted by linuxguymarshall View Post
    I have been reading articles on reverse engineering and the legal effects of it. I keep finding that the only way you are able to be charged with a crime is if you accept the EULA and it states that you can not reverse engineer.

    So I give you this scenario :

    I am wanting to create a native Linux client of the Half-Life 1 game. This will not connect to the official Half-Life servers for anything, all it will do is use the existing Half-Life textures, models, sounds etc to make it all work. So where under U.S. law would this come at.

    Sorry for the rather nontechnical explanation. I am rather tired at the moment and don't have the patience to type out a full technical summary. Feel free to ask questions if you have them though.
    If it's commercial: definitely illegal. You didn't make that content, so you can't make money from it without permission from the creators.

    If it's not commercial: it *might* fall under the American fair use clause. Ask a lawyer

  3. #3
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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    Well my idea would only to be to distribute the binaries that way a person would still have to have a copy of the actual game's files and they would just have to copy them into the appropriate directories.

    And it would not be commercial, it would be 100% free and open source under the zlib/libPNG license
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  4. #4
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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    Pretty sure Half-Life comes with a "don't mess with the code" clause, for the core of it.

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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    Quote Originally Posted by linuxguymarshall View Post
    Well my idea would only to be to distribute the binaries that way a person would still have to have a copy of the actual game's files and they would just have to copy them into the appropriate directories.

    And it would not be commercial, it would be 100% free and open source under the zlib/libPNG license
    This falls under copyright law. Unless the company in question wants to grant you some sort of waiver this behavior would clearly violate fair use.

    Under most circumstances the only copying of copyrighted material that is allowed without explicit license is for 'fair use,' which includes making a single copy on archive media for yourself. And even that only holds water if you can prove that you were granted a license to possess the material in the first place (ie: you paid for a game license).

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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    Quote Originally Posted by aesis05401 View Post
    This falls under copyright law. Unless the company in question wants to grant you some sort of waiver this behavior would clearly violate fair use.

    Under most circumstances the only copying of copyrighted material that is allowed without explicit license is for 'fair use,' which includes making a single copy on archive media for yourself. And even that only holds water if you can prove that you were granted a license to possess the material in the first place (ie: you paid for a game license).


    I was afraid of this.
    Well thanks anyways guys. Stupid DMCA and the idea of copyright
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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    Quote Originally Posted by hetx View Post
    Pretty sure Half-Life comes with a "don't mess with the code" clause, for the core of it.
    Once again, I would be using an entirely different game engine just reprogramming that engine to act like the GoldSrc (Half-Life) engine.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    openarena, i recommend.

    http://www.openarena.ws/

  9. #9
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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    Erm... wait a minute...

    You can freely get the Doom engine, and derivatives, it's just the .WAD files that are illegal to redistribute.

    if he makes his OWN version of the game engine, utilising nothing of the original, and then has users copy over the textures and stuff, the content (as with the .WAD ) then surely it's fair?

  10. #10
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    Re: Legality of this reverse engineering

    Quote Originally Posted by linuxguymarshall View Post
    I was afraid of this.
    Well thanks anyways guys. Stupid DMCA and the idea of copyright
    I feel your pain.

    I hope you find a good way to accomplish your goal without ending up incarcerated

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