Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a written a small app as a research project that uses open source libraries. It can do packet sniffing, network scanning and man in the middle attacks on wifi and lan.

This software is intended to be used for security auditing.

But users can also use it to circumvent the MAC filtering of their ISP and get free internet.

The case seems similar to that of uTorrent. uTorrent can be used legally, but almost everyone uses it for illegal downloading.

If users download my software and use it like that, can the ISP sue me as the author of the software? What should I put into the Terms and Conditions to avoid being sued for misuse of my software?

I'm from Eastern Europe, but live in the UK. In which country should I ask a lawyer? People can download my software globally.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by MainMa, Joel Etherton, Thomas Owens, JeffO, Robert Harvey Aug 22 '11 at 16:14

Questions on Programmers Stack Exchange are expected to relate to software development within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Off-topic. Laws change from country to country. Also, on Programmers.SE, people are programmers, not lawyers. If you want a right answer to your question, consult a lawyer of your country instead. – MainMa Aug 22 '11 at 16:09
There are enough of these questions I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we see – Joel Etherton Aug 22 '11 at 16:12
I'm from Eastern Europe, but live in the UK. In which country should I ask a lawyer? People can download my software globally. – siamii Aug 22 '11 at 16:13
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This depends heavily, heavily on the jurisdiction you find yourself under. Consult a lawyer before moving ahead. Just as an example, in my jurisdiction (Gemany) it could already be interpreted as illegal to own such software, never mind use it, no matter whether for "good" or "evil". You think that is ridiculous? Well, so do most professionals - but that doesn't change the fact that you can't deal responsibly with liability without legal advice.

share|improve this answer
If I live in UK but I'm from Easter Europe, which jurisdiction applies? Also, my software can be downloaded globally. – siamii Aug 22 '11 at 16:23
My limited experience says that you can be sued anywhere in the world, but it is unlikely that you will be extradited to actually stand trial for software authroship, so you're relatively safe unless you actually visit that country (remember Dmitri Sklyarov). However, if anyone really has it in for you, you can basically be extradited for almost any reason (remember Julian Assange). That's why it's really really important to have legal advice. – Kilian Foth Aug 22 '11 at 16:53

As with most legal questions on this site, I would recommend contacting a lawyer.

We're simple programmers, not laywers :)

share|improve this answer
I wouldn't say we are simple programmers, but yeah, we are certainly not lawyers. – Marjan Venema Aug 22 '11 at 16:30

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.