Today, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced its opinion in Apple, Inc. v. Corellium, LLC, finding that copying functional software like iOS is a fair use. Specifically, it found that Correllium’s use of iOS code was transformative; that iOS itself is “largely functional” and farther from the core purpose of copyright than traditionally creative works; that the volume and scope of Correllium’s borrowing was necessary to achieve its transformative purpose; and that there was no measurable market harm to Apple’s market for iOS devices.
Correllium uses portions of iOS code to make a “virtual environment” for security researchers to study and test vulnerabilities in iOS-enabled devices. Apple has argued that Correllium’s unlicensed use of iOS code is unlawful copyright infringement. Public Knowledge previously joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation and expert security researchers on an amicus brief in this case, arguing that Corellium’s copying of iOS was, in fact, a fair use.
The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“Today’s ruling represents a victory for both security and fair use. It is well-established in copyright law that protected works can be used, in their entirety if necessary, for the purposes of criticism, commentary, and other ‘transformative’ uses. The 11th Circuit rightly agreed that ‘largely functional’ software such as iOS can be used to create new and valuable tools without running afoul of copyright law. Independent security research — especially regarding systems in wide use, such as iOS — is absolutely crucial, and this kind of borrowing and transformation is what allows it to happen.”
You may view the amicus brief. For more information on why we support Corellium’s use of iOS software for security research, you may also view our recent blog post, “Apple v. Corellium Demonstrates a Clear Example of Fair Use.”
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