Windows 2000 source code has been leaked

Shachar Shemesh wine-devel at
Sat Feb 14 03:32:05 CST 2004

Viktor Nilsson wrote:

> On 2004-02-13, at 18.02, Shachar Shemesh wrote:
>> juergen.schmied at wrote:
>> Use common sense.
>> The intelectual property law governing this case is the trade secret 
>> law. It says that the information is illegal to use if the recipient 
>> knows, or should have known, that it originated with illegally 
>> distributed trade secret.
> Well, if you read through the code, to understand it, but you not even 
> try to imitate or copy it. Just write brand new code, that does the 
> same thing but in a slightly other way?

What you are saying is applicable to copyright law. I.e. - if you 
reverse engineer the code (say, by disassembling it). If that's what you 
did on LEGALLY OBTAINED CODE, then you are probably ok. The reverse 
engineering itself needs to be legal where you do it, but that is still 
possible. For example, in Israel, as far as I have found out, it is 
still legal to rev-eng the code.

This original MS source code, on the other hand, is covered by trade 
secret laws, which are far stricter. Putting it bluntly - if you touch 
it knowing where it came from, or even unknowingly but ignoring common 
sense warnings that this is an illegally leaked version, you can 
probably not work on Wine again. The thing that is protected is not the 
expression (the code itself), as with copyright, but the ideas, which 
are deemed secret unless uncovered LAWFULLY.

Please, guys. Let's take this issue seriously.


Shachar Shemesh
Lingnu Open Systems Consulting

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