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PICList Thread
'decoding service'
1998\05\27@081309 by Starfire Zhu

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face
Hi, pauls on the list!

   It's my pleasure to introduce you a marvelous service which may
influence
your idea about technical development. We honorly provide you the
decoding
service for almost any kind of PICs!!!
   Below is the price list. Should you have any interest, contact me as
soon as
possible.

FAX: 86-756-2115541

                   INVOICE(USD)

PIC16C54/55/56/57/71/84                1,300
Z86E02/04/08                                    1,300
87C51/52/58/51FA/51FB/51FC        2,200
97C51/52/105/205/80C70                2,200
MC68HC705/C8(A)/C4(A)                1,300
W78E51/52(3 samples needed)            5,800
EPM7032/64                                        1,300

Note:  7 work days for each decoding projet. Usually one sample chip is
needed.
           Prepay is $800. The customer is required to pay the rest
after the decoded
           sample chip is tested OK by the customer. And the code file
is also provided
           in the end. In case of failure, all payment is refunded to
the customer
           unconditionally.

1998\05\27@085710 by g.daniel.invent.design

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face
Regarding "Starfire Zhu"'s "marvelous service"

Let's not make it too easy ?

Possibilities are threading copyright information as jump displacement
corrections and code integrity checking built in as assemble time
modifications to the above.

I recently checked a PIC site on cracking microcontroller code, and was
dismayed that the experts appear able to crack open anything (except
inside an exploding nuke) ie even the Dallas secure microcontroller
chip/module range.

Please all read the repeated message below to find out how all your
efforts can be stolen with the aid of a microscope, chemicals and some
hardware by direct connection to the silicon.

Regards,
Graham Daniel

THE THIEF'S PARTNER IN CRIME WRITES:

Starfire Zhu wrote:
{Quote hidden}

1998\05\27@112313 by Chris Eddy

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face
Hey Paul or Starfire:

If I write a book, and you copy every word and print a thousand copies, you
are a thief.
But you probably are well aware that you are a criminal, and just don't
care.
You can kiss my shiny ass!

PS, if you simply hand the gun to the bank robber, you are an acomplace.

Chris Eddy (Earning my pay)
Pioneer Microsystems, Inc.

Starfire Zhu wrote:

{Quote hidden}

1998\05\27@114434 by Keith Howell

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Mr. Zhu,

forgive me if I'm wrong, but you appear to be advertising
a service for ripping off other people's products.
I'm trying hard to think of legitimate reasons for needing
such services, for example "whoops I've lost all my source code
and can remember so little it is quicker to crack it"
but this strains credulity.

As kids, we've all taken things apart to find out how they work
(or in most cases, how they used to work).
A healthy curiosity is a fine thing (if you're not a cat).
I personally don't mind a few curious PIC hobbyists doing this
kind of thing to satisfy curiosity or save a few bucks pocket money,
nor even fellow professionals trying to solve an obstinate bug.
In the latter case they can just ask me or other chaps on this
list for help.

However, your fees indicate you wish to do this on an industrial scale.

> We honorly provide you the decoding service
> for almost any kind of PICs!!!

The word  honour' sit on your lips as uneasily as
the word  chastity' on the lips of a whore.
You can't even spell it right.

> In case of failure, all payment is refunded
> to the customer unconditionally.

That's reassuring, from a person of your integrity.
If you have any scruples, I'll bet they don't belong to you.
You sir, are a cad, a thief, and a parasite.

May you be reverse engineered by your own
diabolical methods, you bounder!

Signed, A Gentleman.

1998\05\27@133611 by Bob Blick

face
flavicon
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On Wed, 27 May 1998, Keith Howell wrote:
>
> May you be reverse engineered by your own
> diabolical methods, you bounder!

I'm one of the few that may come out in favor of reverse engineering.
There is very little new in the world, and a lot of engineering is reverse
engineering, some methods are to a bigger degree than others.

It makes a lot of sense to find out as much about a competitor's product
as you can easily do. Seeing someone else's code has never been that
important to me, but I think it has a legitimate place in today's
market. Would Microsoft think twice about it? I doubt it.

How a person uses the reverse engineered information is another matter,
both legally and morally, but you or I are not in a place to prejudge
them, or the person who offers the tools.

IMHO, The language you used to condemn the person writing the original
post(I did not quote it) was very strong and should be reserved for people
posting html or non-text messages.

Cheers,
Bob

1998\05\27@140138 by David VanHorn

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face
>Mr. Zhu,
>
>forgive me if I'm wrong, but you appear to be advertising
>a service for ripping off other people's products.
>I'm trying hard to think of legitimate reasons for needing
>such services, for example "whoops I've lost all my source code
>and can remember so little it is quicker to crack it"
>but this strains credulity.


Playing devil's advocate here, I've been in the position to have to recreate
sourcecode many times.  The usual lament is "our programmer left us with
a mess".  In most of these situations, the complainant has been known to
me for years, and there is no doubt in my mind that they were legit.

This happened so often at one company, that we wrote a "re-sourcer"
for our proprietary language, because the source was SO time-consuming
to thread through. There was no distinction between program and data, and
people were writing self-modifying code in it as well. There were usually
lots
of code frags that didn't do anything, data that looked like code, code that
looked like data, data that was never used....  20k of this stuff would
put you in a rubber room in about a week.  Gordian programming :)

I think you're probably right, but we should all be aware that A: this is
sometimes
needed legitimately, and B: wether we like it or not, these guys are out
there.

I prefer to write the code such that someone who rips me off will suffer a
slow
death of a thousand untracable bugs. (This is easier on some platforms than
on others)

1998\05\27@220322 by Dennis Plunkett

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At 11:21 AM 27/05/98 -0400, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

28/5/'98

Criminal, yes!
To charge these prices it is! I also notice that they don't really do any
"Hard chips", although you could say that the W78 is not all that simple.

This sort of activity should NOT be encouraged! For reasons that we all know.

It is my pleasure to say that I would never use this service. Isn't it nice
to see that the code extractors have ethics. (Money back guarantee!).

Dennis

1998\05\28@055623 by Pavel Korensky

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face
At 11:21 27.5.1998 -0400, you wrote:
>Hey Paul or Starfire:
>
>If I write a book, and you copy every word and print a thousand copies, you
>are a thief.
>But you probably are well aware that you are a criminal, and just don't
>care.
>You can kiss my shiny ass!
>
>PS, if you simply hand the gun to the bank robber, you are an acomplace.
>

Hello Chris,

just a few words. I hope that I will not start the flame war, but I can't
fully agree with you.
Of course, you are right that if somebody will copy your program from
microcontroller, he is a thief. But in the ad was nothing about copying.
They are just offering the decoding service. It is up to customer what he
will do with the decoded program. If I would like to copy and sell
someone's hardware/software, it is probably cheaper to develop a new
version than pay for decoding service.

On the other side, I can see several situations where the decoding service
can be quite usefull. For example, when the former programmer quits the
company and destroyed program sources.
Or there is another case (more questionable). The world is full of
"proprietary" protocols, stupid encryptions etc. Satellite encryption
cards, game consoles, car computers etc. in these cases, the decoding
service is the only possibility. It is not a question of copying the work
of someone, it is a question how to get the some "secret" algorithm.

I also used the method of reverse-engineering at least once. I had several
audio/video components in my home. Equipment was from SONY, KENWOOD,
PANASONIC, JVC and PHILIPS. When I tried to build the central remote
control for the whole set of equipment (everything controlled by wire from
PC with serial port), I wrote to all of these companies. I got only two
answers. The first one was from JVC (letter about "secret, proprietary
protocol") and the second one was from Panasonic. From Panasonic, I got the
fat big envelope with the complete description of their controll protocols,
including the 5-wire editing protocol for VCRs. Everything was in it:
timing, pin descriptions, signal levels etc.
So, it was necessary to reverse-engineer the rest of equipment. I was
succesfull, but when I will buy some new equipment, I will choose
Panasonic...
In my opinion, the manufacturers are in most cases responsible for the
situation when peoples are reverse-engineering their products.

Maybe I am a bit biased because I hate the world full of "secret" and
"proprietary" protocols, NDA agreements etc.

Best regards

PavelK

**************************************************************************
* Pavel Korensky                                                         *
* DATOR3 LAN Services spol. s r.o.                                       *
* Modranska 1895/17, 143 00, Prague 4, Czech Republic                    *
*                                                                        *
* PGP Key fingerprint:  F3 E1 AE BC 34 18 CB A6  CC D0 DA 9E 79 03 41 D4 *
*                                                                        *
* SUMMA SCIENTIA - NIHIL SCIRE                                           *
**************************************************************************

1998\05\28@063903 by Caisson

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Hey guys,

 Let's put all lock-pickers into jail !  They do not use the key to open a
door ....

Too bad for you if you lost you key.  Just buy another house !


And No, I do not condone stealing someone's code.  But did you ever bump
against a device you wanted to interface with, but the suppliers company
would not give you the protocol ?  A sneak-peek into someone else's code
could clarify a lot ...

Not all reasons to look at something that is guarded against such a event
are malicious or criminal.  Maybe it is just curiosity to know _how_.

I myself want to know how a hand-granade works, and a A-Bomb.  I would not
think about ever building one, but the way-it-works intrigues me ...

Greetz,
 Rudy Wieser

1998\05\28@070357 by Pavel Korensky

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face
At 09:34 28.5.1998 +0200, you wrote:
>I myself want to know how a hand-granade works, and a A-Bomb.  I would not
>think about ever building one, but the way-it-works intrigues me ...

A-Bomb is simple.

1. Take sub-critical amount of U235 in left hand.
2. Take sub-critical amount of U235 in right hand.
3. Clamp the hands together.

BINGO, you have a nice hole in the earth, approx. half-mile diameter.

:-) Sorry I can't help

PavelK

**************************************************************************
* Pavel Korensky                                                         *
* DATOR3 LAN Services spol. s r.o.                                       *
* Modranska 1895/17, 143 00, Prague 4, Czech Republic                    *
*                                                                        *
* PGP Key fingerprint:  F3 E1 AE BC 34 18 CB A6  CC D0 DA 9E 79 03 41 D4 *
*                                                                        *
* SUMMA SCIENTIA - NIHIL SCIRE                                           *
**************************************************************************

1998\05\28@081930 by Andy Kunz

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face
>IMHO, The language you used to condemn the person writing the original
>post(I did not quote it) was very strong and should be reserved for people
>posting html or non-text messages.

And tax collectors.  <G>

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Statistical Research, Inc. - Westfield, New Jersey USA
==================================================================

1998\05\28@163534 by Chris Eddy

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face
Pavel Korensky wrote:

> Hello Chris,
> <Etcetera Etcetera>

Pavel;

I did not used to feel so strongly about these matters, but time moved on and I
put things into a new light.  In many cases, when I write a program, I have
spent long hours to uncover some key principle that makes it possible to
convert, process, perform logic, or some other such task.  Simply copying the
code outright is a violation of copyright, granted.  But breaking open my
product and removing the methods of how that device operates in the name of
'speedy research and development' is stealing my intelectual property.  If some
company puts tons of time and effort into making a device that is real cool,
like a hammer that detects studs (true app that a friend is involved with) you
would certainly be incenced by someone who studies the code and says, "Oh, you
have a such and such waveform and look for the such and such event on the
return".  They figure that they can emulate the process, while not copying the
code outright, and they haven't done something wrong.  I beg to differ.  If they
on the other hand hold the device and simply observe the operation, then come up
with their own principles for solving the problem, (and don't infringe on a
pattent), then more power to them.

On your point of special protocols, et cetera, I can understand your frustration
on the issue.  You were not at any point going to copy their product in part or
whole.  But on the other hand, the company made it clear that they did not wish
to share the knowledge.  Imagine you came out with a cool remote that you then
market and sell a zillion.  Problem is, once an hour, a false signal erases all
channel memories.  Kenwood then gets flooded with calls where people say, " your
stuff is crap.  I will never buy it again".  You produced a complementary
product through methods that they attempted to disuede you from using, and they
risk losing a portion of their reputation.  Hard as it is to accept, if you do
not like the protection provided through security, such as cable TV scrambling,
just don't buy their product.  You do have that choice.

Chris Eddy, PE
Pioneer Microsystems, Inc.

1998\05\28@175257 by Steve Baldwin

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face
> Maybe I am a bit biased because I hate the world full of "secret" and
> "proprietary" protocols, NDA agreements etc.

> * PGP Key fingerprint:  F3 E1 AE BC 34 18 CB A6  CC D0 DA 9E 79 03 41 D4 *

:-)

Steve.

======================================================
Steve Baldwin                Electronic Product Design
TLA Microsystems Ltd         Microcontroller Specialists
PO Box 15-680, New Lynn      http://www.tla.co.nz
Auckland, New Zealand        ph  +64 9 820-2221
email: spam_OUTstevebTakeThisOuTspamtla.co.nz      fax +64 9 820-1929
======================================================

1998\05\28@204644 by Eric Smith

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face
Chris Eddy <.....ceddyKILLspamspam@spam@NB.NET> writes:
> But breaking open my product and removing the methods of how that device
> operates in the name of 'speedy research and development' is stealing my
> intelectual property.  If some company puts tons of time and effort into
> making a device that is real cool, like a hammer that detects studs (true
> app that a friend is involved with) you would certainly be incenced by
> someone who studies the code and says, "Oh, you have a such and such
> waveform and look for the such and such event on the return".  They
> figure that they can emulate the process, while not copying the code
> outright, and they haven't done something wrong.  I beg to differ.

Here we encounter the difference between law and ethics.  The situation you
describe is not inherently unlawful.  Different people will have varying
opinions on whether it is unethical.

US law does not prohibit reverse-engineering in the sense you describe.  It
only prohibits manufacture and sale of a product derived in this manner in
three cases:

1)  The first company had a patent on the technique, which the second
   company infringes.

2)  The second company relied on additional information which they obtained
   in an unlawful manner.  For instance, the first company might consider
   the method to be a trade secret, but the second company hires an
   ex-employee of the first company who tells them how it works.

3)  The second company violates an NDA or other contract with the first
   company, and uses information from the first company for purposes
   prohibited by the contract.

Cheers,
Eric

1998\05\29@004643 by Dave Mullenix

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Chris Eddy <ceddyspamKILLspamNB.NET> wrote (regarding decoding service)

>Hey Paul or Starfire:
>
>If I write a book, and you copy every word and print a thousand copies, you
>are a thief.
>But you probably are well aware that you are a criminal, and just don't
>care.
>You can kiss my shiny ass!
>
>PS, if you simply hand the gun to the bank robber, you are an acomplace.
>
>Chris Eddy (Earning my pay)
>Pioneer Microsystems, Inc.

What if a competitor puts out a product and you think he's using your
code in his code protected PIC.  Would you have a legitimate need for
Paul or Starfire's service?

What if you have a $50,000.00 piece of equipment whose manufacturer has
gone out of business and you need to replace or upgrade the code
protected PIC that runs the whole thing?  Do you just write off your
investment or look for a code breaking service?

1998\05\29@054523 by wwl

picon face
On Thu, 28 May 1998 16:27:49 -0400, you wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Absolutely.

In answer to an earlier point about the validity of
reverse-engineering, although there may be a very few people who want
to look at code to learn about it, interface to it, customise etc.,
there are a hell of a lot  more people who barely know one end of a
chip from another but would jump at the chance to make a quick buck
doing a straight rip-off if they can get someone to copy a chip for
them. I'd happily sacrifice the ability to look at others' code in
exchange for mine being secure!

    ____                                                           ____
  _/ L_/  Mike Harrison / White Wing Logic / .....wwlKILLspamspam.....netcomuk.co.uk  _/ L_/
_/ W_/  Hardware & Software design / PCB Design / Consultancy  _/ W_/
/_W_/  Industrial / Computer Peripherals / Hazardous Area      /_W_/

1998\05\29@080026 by Pavel Korensky

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At 16:27 28.5.1998 -0400, you wrote:
>On your point of special protocols, et cetera, I can understand your
frustration
>on the issue.  You were not at any point going to copy their product in
part or
>whole.  But on the other hand, the company made it clear that they did not
wish
>to share the knowledge.  Imagine you came out with a cool remote that you
then

Yep, so I need to decode the protocol myself. It is what I talked about.
According to laws in my country, when I buy some equipment, I can do
whatever I want with it. Modify, study, smash to pieces etc. Of course, I
will have no warranty from manufacturer :-)

>market and sell a zillion.  Problem is, once an hour, a false signal
erases all
>channel memories.  Kenwood then gets flooded with calls where people say,
" your
>stuff is crap.  I will never buy it again".  You produced a complementary

Hmm, maybe I am not understand mentality of most peoples in US or similar
countries. When I buy Kenwood audio system and the system is perfectly
working with Kenwood remote but is not working with some remote PC
controlled box from manufacturer XYZ Ltd., I am not calling Kenwood and
blaming them. I am calling manufacturer XYZ and informing them that their
product is crap.

>not like the protection provided through security, such as cable TV
scrambling,
>just don't buy their product.  You do have that choice.

Yes, I have several choices. One is to build my own decoder :-)) BTW, it is
perfectly legal to buy satellite descrambler here, because companies are
selling only satellite receivers, but is is not possible to buy official
decoder. So, we are free to make our own decoder cards.

But seriously, it seems that there is really big difference between
mentality of peoples here in Europe (especially East Europe) and in US. So,
let's go back to PICing.

Best regards

PavelK

**************************************************************************
* Pavel Korensky                                                         *
* DATOR3 LAN Services spol. s r.o.                                       *
* Modranska 1895/17, 143 00, Prague 4, Czech Republic                    *
*                                                                        *
* PGP Key fingerprint:  F3 E1 AE BC 34 18 CB A6  CC D0 DA 9E 79 03 41 D4 *
*                                                                        *
* SUMMA SCIENTIA - NIHIL SCIRE                                           *
**************************************************************************

1998\05\29@092438 by Norm Cramer

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face
At 12:41 AM 5/29/98 -0000, you wrote:
>Here we encounter the difference between law and ethics.  The situation you
>describe is not inherently unlawful.  Different people will have varying
>opinions on whether it is unethical.
>
>US law does not prohibit reverse-engineering in the sense you describe.  It
>only prohibits manufacture and sale of a product derived in this manner in
>three cases:

I think I remember a case where this reverse engineering was done and
upheld by the US courts.  Compaq got a group of engineers to "reverse
engineer" the IBM BIOS chips.  These engineers then wrote a spec for the
chip.  A different set of engineers without any knowledge of the details
discovered in the reverse engineering process developed an equivalent chip
from the spec.  The court ruled that Compaq did not break the law.  It
seems to me that the same rules can be applied to my products that are
applied to IBM's products (and I can't afford to fight them in court).  The
fact is, that nothing is really secure and the only defence we have is to
make it as hard as possible to reverse engineer the device.

Norm

1998\05\29@104330 by Reginald Neale

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face
Norm Cramer said:

>fact is, that nothing is really secure and the only defence we have is to
>make it as hard as possible to reverse engineer the device.
>

The best defence is agility. One entrepeneur can generate new product ideas
and get them to market faster than most big companies can form a committee
to study the problem. The big boys can waste legal firepower appropriating
your latest flash of genius, but tomorrow you'll have another one, and the
old one will be obsolete. In the end, it'll be more economical for them to
hire you as a consultant.

Reg Neale

1998\05\31@121528 by Scientific Measurement Group

flavicon
face
----------
> From: Eric Smith <EraseMEericspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTBROUHAHA.COM>
> To: PICLISTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: decoding service
> Date: Thursday, May 28, 1998 7:41 PM
>
> Chris Eddy <@spam@ceddyKILLspamspamNB.NET> writes:
> > But breaking open my product and removing the methods of how that
device
> > operates in the name of 'speedy research and development' is stealing
my
> > intelectual property.  If some company puts tons of time and effort
into
> > making a device that is real cool, like a hammer that detects studs
(true
> > app that a friend is involved with) you would certainly be incenced by
> > someone who studies the code and says, "Oh, you have a such and such
> > waveform and look for the such and such event on the return".  They
> > figure that they can emulate the process, while not copying the code
> > outright, and they haven't done something wrong.  I beg to differ.
>
> Here we encounter the difference between law and ethics.  The situation
you
> describe is not inherently unlawful.  Different people will have varying
> opinions on whether it is unethical.
>
> US law does not prohibit reverse-engineering in the sense you describe.
It
> only prohibits manufacture and sale of a product derived in this manner
in
> three cases:
>
> 1)  The first company had a patent on the technique, which the second
>     company infringes.
>
> 2)  The second company relied on additional information which they
obtained
>     in an unlawful manner.  For instance, the first company might
consider
>     the method to be a trade secret, but the second company hires an
>     ex-employee of the first company who tells them how it works.
>
> 3)  The second company violates an NDA or other contract with the first
>     company, and uses information from the first company for purposes
>     prohibited by the contract.
>
> Cheers,
> Eric

Eric:

I have had others hire away my employees and take my technology.  I know of
another case where the entire staff of a small was hired (BOUGHT?) by a
larger company whose purpose was to start a new compant to slightly modify
and resell the main software product, and grab their market share and
customer base. That small company collapsed into a one man business
supporting an existing smaller product.   I have struggled with this
question from the side of the injured party.  It is so important to talk
about these issues because they are far reaching and go far beyond legal
and even moral issues, extending, perhaps, into the social and cultural
fabric of a society.  But, in any case, we are always faced with a choice.
Do we set limits on what we are willing to usurp?  And how should we define
those limits?  I have to admit that I have read some thoughtful and
reasonable positions on both sides of this "controversy" right here on this
list.

Thank you.

Richard

1998\05\31@121528 by Scientific Measurement Group

flavicon
face
----------
> From: Eric Smith <KILLspamericKILLspamspamBROUHAHA.COM>
> To: RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: decoding service
> Date: Thursday, May 28, 1998 7:41 PM
>
> Chris Eddy <spamBeGoneceddyspamBeGonespamNB.NET> writes:
> > But breaking open my product and removing the methods of how that
device
> > operates in the name of 'speedy research and development' is stealing
my
> > intelectual property.  If some company puts tons of time and effort
into
> > making a device that is real cool, like a hammer that detects studs
(true
> > app that a friend is involved with) you would certainly be incenced by
> > someone who studies the code and says, "Oh, you have a such and such
> > waveform and look for the such and such event on the return".  They
> > figure that they can emulate the process, while not copying the code
> > outright, and they haven't done something wrong.  I beg to differ.
>
> Here we encounter the difference between law and ethics.  The situation
you
> describe is not inherently unlawful.  Different people will have varying
> opinions on whether it is unethical.
>
> US law does not prohibit reverse-engineering in the sense you describe.
It
> only prohibits manufacture and sale of a product derived in this manner
in
> three cases:
>
> 1)  The first company had a patent on the technique, which the second
>     company infringes.
>
> 2)  The second company relied on additional information which they
obtained
>     in an unlawful manner.  For instance, the first company might
consider
>     the method to be a trade secret, but the second company hires an
>     ex-employee of the first company who tells them how it works.
>
> 3)  The second company violates an NDA or other contract with the first
>     company, and uses information from the first company for purposes
>     prohibited by the contract.
>
> Cheers,
> Eric

Eric:

I have had others hire away my employees and take my technology.  I know of
another case where the entire staff of a small was hired (BOUGHT?) by a
larger company whose purpose was to start a new compant to slightly modify
and resell the main software product, and grab their market share and
customer base. That small company collapsed into a one man business
supporting an existing smaller product.   I have struggled with this
question from the side of the injured party.  It is so important to talk
about these issues because they are far reaching and go far beyond legal
and even moral issues, extending, perhaps, into the social and cultural
fabric of a society.  But, in any case, we are always faced with a choice.
Do we set limits on what we are willing to usurp?  And how should we define
those limits?  I have to admit that I have read some thoughtful and
reasonable positions on both sides of this "controversy" right here on this
list.

Thank you.

Richard

1998\05\31@152849 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
Part of the paradox, of course, is that "intellectual property" is protected
in the united states, normally using either the patent system or copyright
system.  Unfortunately, neither of these is directly applicable to software
(and especially firmware), so a product that relies on SW for its uniqueness
doesn't have the same protection as a written work or a mechanical gadget.

Having both patent and copyright system used and abused, and having seen
good and bad examples of what people consider "unique" sofwtare, the current
"fuzzy" state of software protection seems strangely appropriate :-)

BillW

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