Australia's Computer Programs Copyright Laws

This is an excerpt of the Australian Copyright Ammendment (Computer Programs) Act 1999 [source].

47D Reproducing computer programs to make interoperable products

(1) Subject to this Division, the copyright in a literary work that is a computer program is not infringed by the making of a reproduction or adaptation of the work if:

(a) the reproduction or adaptation is made by, or on behalf of, the owner or licensee of the copy of the program (the original program) used for making the reproduction or adaptation; and

(b) the reproduction or adaptation is made for the purpose of obtaining information necessary to enable the owner or licensee to make independently another program (the new program), or an article, to connect to and be used together with, or otherwise to interoperate with, the original program or any other program; and

(c) the reproduction or adaptation is made only to the extent reasonably necessary to obtain the information referred to in paragraph (b); and

(d) to the extent that the new program reproduces or adapts the original program, it does so only to the extent necessary to enable the new program to connect to and be used together with, or otherwise to interoperate with, the original program or the other program; and

(e) the information referred to in paragraph (b) is not readily available to the owner or licensee from another source when the reproduction or adaptation is made.

My understanding of this section of the act is that I am free to reverse engineer a software module in order to write a replacement for that software module, so long as I have received a licensed copy of that software module and the information I gain from reverse engineering the software module is not available elsewhere. Furthermore:

47G Unauthorised use of copies or information

(1) If:

(a) a reproduction or adaptation of a literary work that is a computer program is made under a prescribed provision; and

(b) the reproduction or adaptation, or any information derived from it, is, without the consent of the owner of the copyright in the computer program, used, or sold or otherwise supplied to a person, for a purpose other than a purpose specified in the prescribed provision;

the prescribed provision does not apply, and is taken never to have applied, to the making of the reproduction or adaptation.

(2) For the purposes of this section, sections 47B, 47C, 47D, 47E and 47F are prescribed provisions.

My understanding of this section of the act is that I am free to share the results of my analysis, including the entire adaption of the work, with others, so long as I do so for any of these purposes:


47B Reproduction for normal use or study of computer programs
47C Back-up copy of computer programs
47D Reproducing computer programs to make interoperable products
47E Reproducing computer programs to correct errors
47F Reproducing computer programs for security testing

Note the first one there. So, if I want to, I can take any program I like, decompile it for the purpose of making an interoperable product, or to security test, or to correct errors, or to by-pass something that is preventing me from making a backup or running the program or studying the program; and, having done that, I can give you my decompilation so that you can do the same.

How great is that?

QuantumG

Note: I'm not a lawyer, this isn't legal advice.
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