Linux to be illegal in Germany ?

Kevin P. Inscoe kevin at
Fri Nov 9 10:12:35 CST 2007

On Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 06:29:04PM -0500, Andre Kesteloot wrote:
> Tacoistas,
> It would appear that the German Government has introduced language into 
> Section 202c StGB of the Computer crime laws that may make the mere 
> possession of (creates, obtains or provide access to, sells, yields, 
> distributes or otherwise allows access to) tools like John, Kismet, 
> KisMAC, Nessus, nmap and possibly, the ability to Google, effectively a 
> crime.

Perhaps your not aware Virginia and Maryland passed a very similiar law only 7 years ago.
A reason I continue to stay away.

True the tools are not illegal to posses (yet) the act is.

"You may even encounter a pro-UCITA voice claiming that  in UCITA's Official
Comments it's suggested that an anti-reverse engineering license provision
might be challenged as a violation of fundamental public policy, or that the
Official Comments mention that 17 U.S.C. § 1201 (1999)  recognizes a policy
to not prohibit some reverse engineering where it is needed to obtain
interoperability of computer programs. But a different section of the
comments contains the following:

"On the other hand, trade secret law does not prohibit reverse engineering of
lawfully acquired goods available on the open market. Striking the
appropriate balance depends on a variety of contextual factors that can only
be assessed on a case-by-case basis with an eye to national policies."

A case by case basis. In other words, in the pre-UCITA world you could pretty
much reverse engineer for interoperability, and there was no problem. This is
born out by the wealth of Open Source software that interoperates, with
proprietary software, in a manner requiring reverse engineering. But in the
post-UCITA world, it's evaluated "case by case" in court. So you can still
reverse engineer if you have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars
committed to legal fees. If you're an Open Source project asking people to
donate old computers and pizza, you're out of luck."

Kevin P. Inscoe                       Amateur Radio Call Sign: KE3VIN
Deltona, FL 32738                                28.9497N by 81.1952W
kevin [at] inscoe [dot] org          
GPG 0x61288D53
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