A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed Apple’s copyright infringement suit against cyber security startup Corellium, which could affect researchers who find software bugs and vulnerabilities.
Judge Rodney Smith said Apple had failed to provide a legal basis to protect its entire iOS operating system from security researchers.
Apple sued the Florida-based startup in 2019, claiming that “virtualizing” iOS software was copyright infringement.
However, the judge ruled that Corellium’s work to find vulnerabilities in the software was a “fair use” of copyrighted material.
“Since the dawn of copyright protection, the courts have recognized the need for a fair way to use copyrighted material to serve the purpose of copyright law to advance the advancement of science and the useful arts,” Smith wrote.
“There is evidence in the filing to support Corellium’s position that its product is intended for security research and, Apple admits, can be used for security research. Also, Apple would have used the product itself for internal testing if it did Company successfully acquired. “
If the verdict is upheld, it will be a victory for security researchers who could face civil or criminal prosecution for reproducing copyrighted software to find vulnerabilities.
It also limits Apple’s efforts to take full control of its iPhone software, forcing third parties to use its proprietary security research tools.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.
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