Curious Programmers Face Legal Tangles with Leaked Windows Code
While they may feel tempted to view the leaked Windows code, developers who do so could compromise their projects, face legal risks around copyright infringement and trade secret violations, experts advise.With portions of Microsoft Windows NT and 2000 source code running wild on the Internet, programmers are battling the temptation to peek at the operating systems code. Doing so, legal experts warn, could thrust developers and their software projects into a legal hotbed. "Theres no legitimate reason to look at it," said Phil Albert, a partner at law firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP, in San Francisco. "For a programmer or a company that develops software, theres too much risk to even touch it." The Windows source code leak, discovered this week and confirmed on Thursday by Microsoft, has led to debate among developers on Internet message board about whether to view it and about the implications of doing so.
One poster on Slashdot speculated, like many others, that enough people will view the source code to make it difficult for developers to remain disassociated from it.