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random_soldier1337

What circumstances allow for use of trade secret software 'outside' of an organization?

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I was reading papers on neutron flux traps. Some people in the University of Tehran used MCNP to determine effectiveness of different neutron moderators. Context out of the way, my question is regarding the situation. How did researchers paid by an organization like the University of Tehran get access to a software like MCNP?

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I don't think you mean trade secret. (A "trade secret" has a very specific definition in IP law.) For one thing, the source code is available (with restrictions) so it is not secret. For another, it is produced by a government agency and so (I believe) it has to be made publicly available.

But the simple answer to your question is, basically, smuggling. It is a restricted export item (effectively classified as an armament). But software is notoriously easy to copy and hide so trying to prevent the illegal export is almost impossible. Maybe a student at a university took a copy. Or a visiting academic. Or the cleaner. Who knows. (Maybe the CIA or the NSA knows.)

Or maybe there was a time when Iran was not on the list of banned states. (But I doubt that. I'm fairly sure it was back in the 90s when I had to deal with these sorts of export restrictions.)

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Or perhaps they didn't have the code at all.

From "Assessment of different MCNP Monte Carlo codes in electron absorbed dose"

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82699541.pdf

"We are grateful to Jon Cox, who ran the MCNP-5 simulations in Los Alamos National Laboratory"

Meaning it's possible to collaborate with someone who has legitimate access to the code.

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5 hours ago, Strange said:

I don't think you mean trade secret. (A "trade secret" has a very specific definition in IP law.) For one thing, the source code is available (with restrictions) so it is not secret. For another, it is produced by a government agency and so (I believe) it has to be made publicly available.

But the simple answer to your question is, basically, smuggling. It is a restricted export item (effectively classified as an armament). But software is notoriously easy to copy and hide so trying to prevent the illegal export is almost impossible. Maybe a student at a university took a copy. Or a visiting academic. Or the cleaner. Who knows. (Maybe the CIA or the NSA knows.)

Or maybe there was a time when Iran was not on the list of banned states. (But I doubt that. I'm fairly sure it was back in the 90s when I had to deal with these sorts of export restrictions.)

What would be a more appropriate classification of the software?

Also I find it hard to believe someone could publish a paper in a well known journal with an illegitimate copy of MCNP without someone knocking on their door.

23 minutes ago, swansont said:

Or perhaps they didn't have the code at all.

From "Assessment of different MCNP Monte Carlo codes in electron absorbed dose"

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82699541.pdf

"We are grateful to Jon Cox, who ran the MCNP-5 simulations in Los Alamos National Laboratory"

Meaning it's possible to collaborate with someone who has legitimate access to the code.

Could be. I know you can get online access to the servers at the National labs from your own IP address to use it. Just not sure if even that is allowed to Iran so maybe what you are saying is actually the correct situation.

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27 minutes ago, random_soldier1337 said:

What would be a more appropriate classification of the software?

"MCNP is an export-controlled code"

https://laws.lanl.gov/vhosts/mcnp.lanl.gov/mcnp_how_to_get_to_mcnp.shtml

Quote

Also I find it hard to believe someone could publish a paper in a well known journal with an illegitimate copy of MCNP without someone knocking on their door.

I'm not sure who in the US is going to be knocking on the door of a university in Iran to complain about export violations!

But it sounds like it was a collaborative project

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33 minutes ago, random_soldier1337 said:

 Also I find it hard to believe someone could publish a paper in a well known journal with an illegitimate copy of MCNP without someone knocking on their door.

Not sure who from the US is going to knock on a door in Teheran.

Quote

Could be. I know you can get online access to the servers at the National labs from your own IP address to use it. Just not sure if even that is allowed to Iran so maybe what you are saying is actually the correct situation.

It should be easy enough to check the papers in question and see if they had collaborations with people who could use the software, or if there were acknowledgements at the end of the paper regarding it.

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Posted (edited)

-snip

Edited by Endy0816

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1 hour ago, Strange said:

"MCNP is an export-controlled code"

https://laws.lanl.gov/vhosts/mcnp.lanl.gov/mcnp_how_to_get_to_mcnp.shtml

I'm not sure who in the US is going to be knocking on the door of a university in Iran to complain about export violations!

But it sounds like it was a collaborative project

 

1 hour ago, swansont said:

Not sure who from the US is going to knock on a door in Teheran.

It should be easy enough to check the papers in question and see if they had collaborations with people who could use the software, or if there were acknowledgements at the end of the paper regarding it.

Lol, I dunno. I just take people's word for these things. For all I know everything is an anime behind the scenes with cyborg ninjas and psychic super soldiers running around performing black ops, having death battles and philosophizing in the quiet moments, especially their death throes. Or maybe it's like a schoolyard with someone being nice and then someone being a jerk, "Hey you can't do that!" "Why not?" "Because you can't." "Sure I can." and that's all that happens.

Anyway the project was supported by the IAEA.

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1 hour ago, random_soldier1337 said:

 

Lol, I dunno. I just take people's word for these things. For all I know everything is an anime behind the scenes with cyborg ninjas and psychic super soldiers running around performing black ops, having death battles and philosophizing in the quiet moments, especially their death throes. Or maybe it's like a schoolyard with someone being nice and then someone being a jerk, "Hey you can't do that!" "Why not?" "Because you can't." "Sure I can." and that's all that happens.

Anyway the project was supported by the IAEA.

Yeah, might have been the IAEA. Considered a generally authorized destination for distributions(assuming I've parsed the legalese correctly).

https://rsicc.ornl.gov/default.aspx

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/10/appendix-A_to_part_810

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