(Mirrored from The Decompilation Page at http://www.csee.uq.edu.au/~csmweb/decompilation/ethics.html)

The Ethics of Decompilation

If decompilation is possible to a certain extent, is it then also allowed?

Decompilation can be used for a number of reasons, including:

However, not all uses of decompilers are legal uses.

Throughout the world, computer programs are protected by copyright law. Copyright protects the expression of an idea in the form of a program, hence protecting the developer's (or company's) intellectual property on the software. Copyright law provides a bundle of exclusive rights to the software developer, among others, the right to reproduce and make adaptations to the developed computer program. It is a breach of these rights the making of reproductions and adaptations without permission of the copyright holder. Further, license agreements may also bind the user to operate the program in a certain way and to avoid using decompilation or disassembly techniques on that program.

Different countries have different exceptions to the copyright owner's rights or precedent has been established in court proceedings. This means that these uses are allowed by law. The most common ones are:

Not all countries implement the same laws, you should contact your lawyer if in doubt.

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