What are the legal ramifications of reverse engineering a competing software and its respective workflow?🤔

Another theoretical situation will be if you all wrote the code and derived the algorithm in house.

  • 4
    In the USA? The ramifications are yuge! Get caught and it's a lot of money. And companies are adept at sniffing out cheaters. And that can end up costing a lot of money in court.
  • 0

    How is it cheating if all the theoretical code was written in house though?
  • 2
    @iAmNaN Nothing like spending 5 years in court bc this process is slower than IE.
  • 1
    @monzrmango because you signed a contract.
  • 1
    As long as you just use the reverse engineered code as a learning tool you'll be fine, just don't use their code in your program.
  • 0

    Perhaps, I'm using the term reverse engineering wrong? I suppose an example scenario would be when you are messing around with an app like Instagram and you're fiddling around with the filters. You then found a filter you really like, and you have an idea how to implement that filter via GLSL for your respective image editing mobile app. There's no source code being stolen here for reference purposes in this hypothetical situation.
  • 2
    @monzrmango ah i wouldn't do it on private api cause it may change or they might block you
  • 9
    Everything is legal if you don't get caught.

    Sadly, most people take that fact as license to try getting away with everything they possibly can, thereby turning me into a raging misanthrope.

    Humans are vile creatures.
  • 6
    It depends. Intellectual property law can be confusing, but some things are definitely and specifically protected wrt reverse engineering. Software companies can get into trouble even when people with certain roles so much as download a trial of a competitors product. That said, you are on safer ground if working straight from an idea. If you work product ends up very similar to a competitor's, you still may end up impinging on somebody's patents, but that is much less likely. If you decompile a competitor's product or even use it as a roadmap to develop your own, you could be on very shaky legal ground. Caveat: I am not a lawyer, but I did once stay at a Holiday Inn Express.
  • 1
    Very approximatevely...
    If the process is replicating the code or the internal behaviour then it's illegal if you use the knowledge to create a different code or internal behaviour it's legal. Of course the problem is defining what "different" means.

    Notice that copying a behaviour of some software is entirely fine as long as it's an external behaviour (e.g. a user interaction pattern). Specific graphical elements could be off-limits however, depending if they are particular to that company (e.g. the Coca Cola name or how the red and white are placed to make it recognizable).
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