[icq-devel] Is it leagal ?

Bryan Petty bpetty at cs.utah.edu
Fri Feb 14 04:00:33 CET 2003

On Thu, 2003-02-13 at 13:59, Barnaby Gray wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 13, 2003 at 10:44:40PM +0300, rad2k at mail.ru wrote:
> > Knowing that a few developers got 'threatening letters/emails?' from 
> > Mirabilis lawyers, I would give it a second thought.
> > 
> > I believe whats illegal is to use their copyrighted names such as
> > ICQ without their legal authorization.
> The only legal threats from mirabilis so far have been in use of their
> name (or close enough derivatives), this is fair enough - they have
> every right to protect their branding from watering down.
> > It should be algo considered illegal (i believe its specified in
> > their agreement) to reverse their protocol without their authorization
> > as well.
> There are certain reverse engineering rights granted if they are in
> the interests of inoperability (at least in the EU, not sure how this
> plays with the DMCA, etc.. in the US). Since mirabilis don't provide
> what I'd regard as a fully functional client for unix platforms I
> believe reverse engineering is allowed for this purpose. I'm skeptical
> as to whether a click-wrap license can even take this right away from
> you.

The DMCA in the US, so far as I know, has only held against events where
there was some encryption cracked. This is because of the definition in
the law of "circumventing access control devices". Where the ICQ
communication is all done in plain text (minus the password), it would be
hard to prosecute. It would seem unbelievable if Mirabilis took any
actions for "circumventing" their password "encryption", but with as many
lawsuits as I've seen come through over the DMCA, it's definately not
unheard of.

> Barnaby

BTW, I'm working on a Java client using v8 ICQ (and a few other IM
networks) that's being hosted at www.stormsource.org. I just started on it
a few weeks ago, and I'm not too far, but I've got something going, and
could have something released in another few months if not less. It will
be open source, and I'm more than happy to help others out using my
classes I'm building.

I've looked around to see if any of this was already programmed in Java
with v8 ICQ, but only found an (incomplete) program using v2. If anyone
wants to help me out with this, I'll be grateful to any contribution.

Bryan Petty (Tierra)

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