How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ash Your Own Question

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10914
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

Is it legal software EULA (the software enables the use

Resolved Question:

Is it legal for a software EULA (the software enables the use of a USB camera) to disallow reverse engineering for the purpose of accessing the camera directly without need for the original software. I.e. there is no real interest in being able to publish details of what the software itself does beyond being able to create an open source driver for the camera.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : To clarify reverse engineer the software?

reverse engineering here would be a matter of intercepting what standard APIs the software uses to interact with the camera and logging how the software interacts with the camera so that it's possible to develop open source software that can also properly interact with the camera to turn it on and retrieve images from the camera.

Alex Watts : Ok. This is likely to be illegal. I am sure it is a condition of use of the software not to reverse engineer or tamper in any way.
Alex Watts : If it doesn't say this in any terms then you can reverse engineer it.
Alex Watts : If you were then to use it for malicious purposes it would be illegal..
Alex Watts : So if the terms are silent on this or there are no terms governing download then you can.
Alex Watts : Otherwise if there are terms saying no reverse enginering, it would not be illegal but a breach of contract.
Alex Watts : So you have to ask yourself if you did, who would find out?
Alex Watts : probably no one.
Alex Watts : can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

well the EULA explicitly states this isn't allowed. In the US for example afik it can sometimes be considered fair use to reverse engineer for interoperability reasons. In this case reverse engineering at least means going against the license, but in the UK I don't know if there is any protection for reverse engineering for interoperability purposes.

Alex Watts : It would be a beach if contract. Reverse engineering in itself is not illegal.
Alex Watts : So it wouldn't be a criminal offence, only breach of contract

so it would just mean that you'd no longer have a license to continue using the software, but that in itself wouldn't really be a problem

Alex Watts : yes, it's not illegal.
Alex Watts : Does that help ?

thanks for the help, I suppose ideally I'd like to be aware of some examples where this was how the law was interpreted, or understand maybe what aspect of UK law is it that ensures this would be legal. In terms of asking 'who would find out?' makes me unsure that this is clearly legal. In this case publishing open source code would clearly publicly state that that the original software had been reverse engineered.

Alex Watts : This is contract law.
Alex Watts : In the UK if there isn't an act then makes it illegal then you can do it.
Alex Watts : If it's not for malicious purposes then it's not illegal.

breaking the contract is one thing, but I somehow imagined reverse engineering would be specifically covered somewhere maybe in copyright law?

Alex Watts : Not here,

ok, thanks for the help

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10914
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther

Meet The Experts:

  • Jo C.

    Jo C.


    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 5 years in practice
< Last | Next >
  • Jo C.'s Avatar

    Jo C.


    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 5 years in practice
  • Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • Buachaill's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Barrister 17 years experience
  • Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry


    Satisfied Customers:

    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • UK_Lawyer's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    I am a qualified solicitor and an expert in UK law.
  • Kasare's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • Joshua's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice