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Re: [dvd-discuss] Court Sides With Geac in Mainframe SoftwareCase

On 16 Oct 2002 at 10:52, John Zulauf wrote:

Date sent:      	Wed, 16 Oct 2002 10:52:55 -0600
From:           	"John Zulauf" <johnzu@ia.nsc.com>
To:             	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
Subject:        	Re: [dvd-discuss] Court Sides With Geac in Mainframe
Send reply to:  	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu

> Roy Murphy wrote:
> > I think it's quite reasonable for them to
> > require non-disclosure agreements from third-party consultants.
> I'm sorry but that just is not sensible.  The software is "published" as
> in made visible to persons buying the software.  If by inspecting the
> published software one can maintain the software, then their should be
> non requirement of an NDA.
> NDA's are for exchange additional, non-public information.  For example
> if ".002 Consulting" wants to maintain code by poking around at the
> symbol tables and decompiling -- there is no way I need an NDA for
> reverse engineering.  If however, I want (in order to do my job better,
> and be paid better) access to unpublished information (such as a header
> file or internal documentation) -- then an NDA is appropriate and
> mutually beneficial.  If we allow click-wrap or other license agreements
> to interfere with the ability to reverse engineer, then we impede
> progress, and ignore the objective reality.  Publish software is visible
> to whoever has access.  Just because GEAC management doesn't think
> object code is a readable, transparent representation of their supposed
> "trade secret" doesn't make it so.  The concept of a "trade secret"
> existing within the object code of published software is oxymoronic. 
> Certain (half-mad, IMHO) software engineers like reading the object, and
> their first response to a problem or challenge is "let me run that
> through the decompiler." To assert that object code keeps a secret
> preserved in light of these professionals, ignores objective reality.
> Now, having said all that, the truly interesting part of this case is
> the use of "residual knowledge" by former employees to profit by taking
> business away from the former employer.  For that it depends on the
> contractual obligations between these employees and GEAC -- and the
> enforceability of those obligations. (In certain states, "non-competes"
> are not enforceable for example).

Yes. This is not a case of copyright infringement but possible (!) trade secret 
appropriation. In that case, not only is is a contractual matter but has to be 
limited to specific secrets and proprietary information that has been 
explicitly identified to them AND provides some benefit none of this "GEAC 
software responds to interrupts" - PROPRIETARY crap

> .002