Legal to build bindings based on reverse engineered (network) protocols?

Hi OpenHAB community,

I have recently reverse engineered the network protocol used by a specific line of devices by observing the network communication between the hardware and the original app provided by the vendor.

Now I’m wondering, are there legal blockers to build an OpenHAB binding?

What if the vendor of those devices does not want the protocol to be documented publicly? I guess even the code of the potential binding would be kind of a public documentation.

Are there any exemptions on copyright/IP laws for interoperability use cases to allow such implementations? Both me and the vendor are located in the EU.

Best Regards,

I’d say this is down to them to encrypt/secure it then. Your utilising open communication, not hacking their servers.

I wouldn’t have thought so, many bindings within openhab are reverse engineered

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Agree with above… Most vendors don’t publish their API, hence most devices are supported through reverse engineering

Reverse engineering of network protocol is not a problem as long as you did not literally decompile a software of an vendor. Then it could be questionable.
If you took a wireshark made network dumps while watching device then you did something which is quite common and permitted. Not sure about US laws, but at least in EU, as long as your work is intended towards integration with device and communication with it it is legally justified.

In many cases blocking such work would lead to situations where vendors would obtain exclusivity to development of software which works with certain hardware. This is a fair trade between vendor possibility to make profits (he knows protocol best, can change it) and users having a choice how to interact with things.
Doing a reverse engineering intended towards extraction of firmware, decryption of it, obtaining electronics schematics is not legal especially if done for copy purposes. In this regard - you can make own firmware for controller if you can, but you should not distribute firmware obtained through reverse engineering.

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Thank you @splatch, although I couldn’t phrase it properly, this is the answer I was looking for!

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