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Re: [dvd-discuss] SCC, Lexmark, and copyright versusreverse-engineering

On 1 Apr 2003 at 8:58, John Zulauf wrote:

Date sent:      	Tue, 01 Apr 2003 08:58:32 -0700
From:           	"John Zulauf" <johnzu@ia.nsc.com>
To:             	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
Subject:        	Re: [dvd-discuss] SCC, Lexmark, and copyright
Send reply to:  	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu

> I thought Phoenix did the reverse engineering and they were very careful
> about the clean room.  One team wrote a reference book about what they
> discovered from their RE efforts.  The other team implemented from that
> reference.  Nobody that had seen IBM PC BIOS code was allowed on the 
> development team.
> SCC did an incomplete RE job (not that I'm arguing a better one could
> have been done), and failed to realize (apparently) that the byte string
> passed from cartridge to printer was in fact code.

Here's the question- "How is one to know?". To be physically real something 
must be observable. It must appear in some objective fashion to all observers. 
How can one know if it is in fact code if it is some language that is unknown? 
How can one verify that the code is copyrighted if one can't SEE it. How can 
oneknow that the language isnt' just a bunch of bits? Maybe the defense is WHAT 
could SCC have inferred from what they saw and when did Lexmark do what they 

> Now if IBM had made some signature part of the BIOS, implying that no
> other expression would be deemed valid by the CPU (eek, how to fix
> bugs?), then Phoenix would have had to either figure a way spoof the
> signature code (if they could even find the algorithm) or be
> out-of-luck.  Though, especially since IBM was STILL under antitrust
> investigation (for tying HW and SW on mainframes) this would have raised
> some red flags both for the antitrust Judge (what was his name)
> overseeing the consent decree with IBM as yet another tying issue.  But
> in 1981 antitrust was a far less lenient than it is today.
> "D. C. Sessions" wrote:
> > 
> > On Saturday 29 March 2003 16:01, microlenz@earthlink.net wrote:
> > # As they are. No one says that life must be easy or that you have to get a
> > # free lunch. If Compaq can RE the PC bios in the mid 80s, I doubt that this
> > # is much worse. IF the program is truly copyrightable (and I would have to be
> > # convinced of that), then it is still copyright infringement and the judges
> > # comments about access are irrelevant (he' splitting hairs)
> > 
> > When Compaq reverse-engineered the PC BIOS, they had
> > access to the complete source code of the original, from which
> > they derived the specifications.
> > 
> > I'd say that there's a major difference in difficulty there.
> > 
> > --
> > begin signature.exe
> > A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
> > Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
> > A: Top-posting.
> > Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet?