[stella] is "disassembly" legal?

Subject: [stella] is "disassembly" legal?
From: Richard Kennehan at Cosmo02PO <Richard_Kennehan_at_Cosmo02PO@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 15 Sep 97 12:56 -0500
I know that the best way to learn certain programming tricks is to disassemble a
game, but I have seen more and more companies flash warning messages that say
"decompilation or disassembly is prohibited".  For example, the BIOS of a
computer at work says that, and so does certain network card drivers.

My main question is, can companies say that it's illegal to disassemble
software, when courts have ruled in favor of the "first sale doctrine" which
states that the owner of a product can do any darn thing they wish to it?

According to the book "Game Over", it is the "first sale doctrine" that
prevented Nintendo from making video game rentals illegal, so it would seem that
this same doctrine would make it legal to disassemble computer software.

Sorry if this is off topic, but its a question that affects alot of us in one
way or another.

- Rich

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