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- - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) [hu] Date 2008-01-11 12:26
I've taken a look this morning at the Strelka 2.0 sources. The picture is quite clear.

Vast sections of these sources started their life as a decompiled Rybka 1.0. The traces of this are everywhere. The board representation is identical, and all sorts of absolutely unique Rybka code methods, bitboard tricks and even exact data tables are used throughout. Significant portions of the search and evaluation logic are not fully disassembled - the author has left in hardcoded constants and used generic names (such as "PawnStruScore0" & "PawnStruScore1", "PassedPawnValue0" through "PassedPawnValue7", etc) which show that he hasn't yet fully understood what is happening.

In some cases, these traces do also extend beyond the inner search and evaluation kernel. For instance, Rybka and Strelka are the only engines which I know about which don't report "seldepth" and "hashfull". Rybka's UCI strings are used throughout.

The author did at first make attempts to hide the Rybka origins, for example by masking the table values in earlier Strelka versions. He also made significant attempts to improve the program. The attempts at improvement are not very original, but they are everywhere. They include PV collection, null verification (and in fact changes to the null implementation itself), some endgame drawishness heuristics, a handful of new evaluation term, a new approach to blending between opening and endgame eval terms, and so on. They also do include various structural changes, such as knight underpromotions, on-the-fly calculations of many tables, the setting of piece-square table values, etc. These changes are extensive and no doubt lead to differences in playing style and perhaps a useful engine for users to have, but they do not change the illegality of the code base.

In light of the above, I am claiming Strelka 2.0 as my own and will release it in the next few days under my own name. The name of the author with the pen name "Osipov" will be included if he comes forward with hiw own real name, otherwise an anonymous contribution will be noted. The contributions of Igor Korshunov will also be confirmed and noted if appropriate. All usage permissions will be granted with this release.

I do not see obvious signs of other code usage, but perhaps this deserves a closer look. Some of the transplanted ideas, such as the null verification search, are rather naive implementations of the approach in Fruit/Toga, although my first impression is that that code itself is original. The Winboard parser from Beowolf which was added to Strelka 1.0 seems to have been completely removed. If someone else does find other signs of code theft, please get in touch with me and I will give proper credit in the upcoming release.

If someone has suggestions about an appropriate license, and in particular the pros and cons of the GPL for a chess engine and for this unusual scenario, or if someone would be willing to help in preparing this code and license for release, please also get in touch with me.

As this code is two years and several hundred Elo old, I am not going to launch any major action. However, 'Osipov' has already threatened to repeat the procedure with Rybka 2.3.2a. (He did this after I declined to grant him rights to commercialize Strelka.) If this situation does repeat with a newer Rybka version, I will not just stand and watch any more. In the meantime, if someone has information about 'Osipov', please get in touch with me.

Vas
Parent - - By mjlef (**) [us] Date 2008-01-11 12:44
Vas,

You are a class act!  If someone stole my hard work, I would be a lot more upset, angry and want to sue. 

Mark
Parent - - By Uri Blass (*****) [il] Date 2008-01-11 13:27 Edited 2008-01-11 13:30
I see no reason to sue unless there is a significant demage

In this case the code is based on old version of rybka so there is no significant demage.
Another point is that Vas wrote that rybka1.0 beta can be used with no restrictions.

He may claim that he did not mean to reverse engineering but I am not a lawyer and it is not clear and I am not sure what the court is going to decide about it.

It was better for him even to write nothing when he released rybka

Something similiar was not done for rybka2.3.2a so there is more justification to sue if somebody clones rybka2.3.2a

Uri
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-11 20:04
Reverse engineering would not be the real issue, at least in the US. If reverse engineering were really a problem, we wouldn't have things like OpenOffice and the Rybka 3 GUI wouldn't be able to import CB opening books.

Use of the the same algorithms would not be an issue no matter how they were obtained. Its well established that algorithms cannot be protected via copyright.

Reuse of code and tables that are unique to Rybka and have not been released into the public domain would be another matter. Assuming Vas could prove this had occurred (which sounds like a given), he could presumably win a copyright infringement case, probably via a default judgment since nobody even seems to know the identity of the dependent. Damages could be claimed based on people using Strelka rather than buying the current version of Rybka. Certainly the odds against proving and collecting damages seem to be astronomical at this point, but this would change if Strelka goes commercial. At that point, there are well established procedures for getting an injunction against selling the product in the US and getting an award for damages (good luck collecting them though).

I'm not sure why Vas would want to put this code into the public domain. The fact that someone has taken some of his code and put it into the public domain doesn't affect his rights to the code. Furthermore, its possible, and probably likely, that the developer of Strelka has misappropriated software from other sources that are not agreeable to releasing their IP into the public domain.

Regards,
Alan
Parent - - By BB (****) [gb] Date 2008-01-11 20:13 Edited 2008-01-11 20:20

> someone has taken some of his code and put it into the public domain


If the Strelka 2.0 code release was meant to put it into "public domain" [in the technical sense] should there not be a disclaimer to this effect?
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-11 20:44
I was being imprecise again. :-)

Unless he explicitly placed the code into the public domain, he would retain copyright (i.e. you don't need to explicitly claim copyright, although it seems prudent to do so).

The point I was trying to make is that he's either:

- Claiming its already in the public domain,
- Claiming its his own work,
- Using it with permission, or
- Using it without permission.

Vas would only be giving up his rights to the work if Strelka was using Rybka code with permission.

Regards,
Alan
Parent - - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) [hu] Date 2008-01-12 10:15
Alan,

if I release Strelka under the GPL, nobody could legally sell a Strelka-based product without also releasing the source under the GPL. This seems more than good enough for me.

There are other issues, though.

Vas
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-12 13:26
Copyright enforcement actions are common and well understood. GPL enforcement actions are close to non-existent and you would still have to prove that the code was yours to begin with.

Regards,
Alan
Parent - - By Sesse (****) [no] Date 2008-01-12 15:48
To be precise, GPL enforcement is also a case of copyright enforcement, but yes, you have a (partial) point. (By the way, there are GPL enforcement actions, but almost none of them go to court. This is probably due to two reasons, a) What the enforcers want is compliance with the license, not money, and b) Most such cases are pretty clear, so the infringing party does not see a good enough chance of winning in court.

In any case, I doubt “Osipov” would come forward to sue Vas for releasing Strelka under the GPL, and perhaps Vas could successfully sue anyone who wanted to sell a Strelka derivative (since he does, after all, have a pretty clear copyright interest in the code, even though that's different from actually “owning” it all), but it all seems quite muddy to me.

/* Steinar */
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-13 03:39
To be precise, GPL enforcement is also a case of copyright enforcement

This is only the FSF's contention. It is not based on US precedent and may or may not end up being true in the US. Conventional wisdom here is that this argument won't fly and the GPL license would have to be agreed to like any other EULA.

This is probably due to two reasons, a) What the enforcers want is compliance with the license, not money, and b) Most such cases are pretty clear, so the infringing party does not see a good enough chance of winning in court.

The most obvious reason would be that the enforcer couldn't make the cost/benefit analysis work out. Nothing is clear in a legal case without precedents.

In any case, I doubt “Osipov” would come forward to sue Vas for releasing Strelka under the GPL, and perhaps Vas could successfully sue anyone who wanted to sell a Strelka derivative (since he does, after all, have a pretty clear copyright interest in the code, even though that's different from actually “owning” it all), but it all seems quite muddy to me.

Assuming Strelka actually uses the same code (not just the same concepts) as Rybka, its very likely that Vas would likely prevail in a copyright suit, but its unlikely he would ever collect any damages from the mysterious "Osipov" somewhere in Russia. If all the same concepts were used but the code is clearly modified (from the reconstruction process), Vas might still win a copyright suit, but it would be just as unlikely that he would ever collect any damages.

The real problem here is that its hard to see any conditions where the cost of the lawsuit is justified by the potential benefits.

Regards,
Alan
Parent - - By Sesse (****) [no] Date 2008-01-13 10:36
Conventional wisdom here is that this argument won't fly and the GPL license would have to be agreed to like any other EULA.

I'm not sure what this changes in practice. The question is if it is enforceable or not, no? Whether the FSF is right that the GPL is a license and not a contract doesn't really matter much to me.

Nothing is clear in a legal case without precedents.

Well, if you contend that the GPL is “just another license”, surely there's lots of precedent. Do we need to pull every single license or EULA through the legal system to get an idea of whether they are valid?

Assuming Strelka actually uses the same code (not just the same concepts) as Rybka, its very likely that Vas would likely prevail in a copyright suit, but its unlikely he would ever collect any damages from the mysterious "Osipov" somewhere in Russia.

With this I agree. There's a difference between winning a potential copyright suit (in which he, I presume, might be granted full rights to the combination) and being able to do something with a code base without suing first, though.

/* Steinar */
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-13 17:36
I think your somewhat off-base on a number of issues here. I've attached a well regarded recent paper that addresses a number of these issues.

Alan
Parent - - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) [hu] Date 2008-01-14 22:09
Alan,

ok, that document will fry my brain at this hour (11:00 pm here) :)

Let's say that there are two scenarios:

Scenario 1: You write a piece of software and release it under the GPL. Someone then modifies the code and releases it without conforming to the GPL.
Scenario 2: You write a piece of software. Someone physically steals your code, modifies it, and releases it.

Are you saying that your claims are lesser in scenario 1 than in scenario 2?

Vas
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-15 07:19 Edited 2008-01-15 07:23
Vas,

Please read pages 6 and 7. On page 6, the paper discusses copyright classes, where you would be claiming that Strelka is a non-literal copy, and the Russian guy would be claiming it is a derivative work. Quoting from page 7:

3. Ownership of Derivative Works vs. Compilations
The Copyright Act treats compilations and derivative works similarly with respect to copyright
subject matter and ownership rights: The author of a derivative work or compilation owns the copyrights
to her creative contributions, but not to the underlying work. Consequently, the creator of a derivative
work or compilation can exclude anyone––including the owner of the copyrights to the underlying
work(s)––from copying, distributing, etc., the derivative work or compilation.
If and to the extent a creator of a derivative work or compilation bases her work unlawfully on
copyrighted works of others, however, she does not acquire any copyrights in the derivative work or
compilation. Also, a licensee who creates literal or non-literal copies of an existing work under license
from the copyright owner does not acquire any copyrights to such copies.


Since a copyright owner is generally free to exercise its exclusionary right and prohibit others from preparing derivative works, even if Strelka is a derivative work and not a non-literal copy, he doesn't have the right to distribute your work, and doesn't acquire it through his actions. He also does not acquire copyright to the unlawfully derived derivative work.

The GPL stuff just muddies the waters and doesn't seem like a good fit for what you are trying to do, i.e. sell proprietary software. See the discussion starting on page 34.

Of course the great majority of software companies that sell software to the public do it under a EULA that people "agree to" before they download the application or open the CD box. This arrangement has allowed companies like Microsoft to recover millions of dollars from other large companies that knowingly violated the terms of the license. Software licensing issues are discussed starting on page 25 Including important differences between the US and EU when it comes to unfair contract terms.

Regards,
Alan
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2008-01-15 15:57
Of course, Russia will have different rules, and since most Russians in cases like this don't follow rules anyway, and since the Russian government doesn't enforce rules that involve situations between their people and the people in other countries, this ends up not going anywhere in practice.
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-15 18:37
The rules that are relevant are the rules in the market that Vas is actually selling into, which one would suspect would be the US and EU.

Of course our Russian friend will not follow the rules and if he isn't doing business in the US or the EU, he has nothing to worry about. And as long as his goal is just to give it away, there is not much to be done about it.

That doesn't make this completely pointless though because he may be entertaining thoughts about selling this in the US or EU. In this situation, Vas will retain the ability to take action against any business that distributes or takes payment for this unauthorized non-literal copy or derivative work. This is a reasonably effective barrier if the damages are large enough to justify the costs associated with defending the copyright.

Alan
Parent - - By hristo (*) [us] Date 2008-01-15 17:34
Alan,
good work, however this is just the foundation for the case-law and without a proper case-law study one cannot draw conclusions.

One thing is clear, Vas can assert copyright infringement and seek injunction against further distribution, what is not clear and in fact is not addressed in the text is that Vas can assert copyright ownership on the entire derivative work.  Given that the derivative might be a compilation of several original works then a single original-author cannot claim the derivative 'his own' without further infringing on the rights of the other copyright holders.

The GPL, if present, is simply another way to seek the injunction since the GPL has vested interested as it represents the rights of some set of the copyright holders involved.

Furthermore, the GPL puts limits on what can and cannot be done with respect to the derivative work.

To Vas:
The amount of GPL and the level of modification is important to determine whether the GPL has any say in this case, but this is a field where proper advice from an IP lawyer is needed.  I don't think that there is a single standard to evaluate all cases and often such 'standards' are agreed upon in the discovery phase. 

Stopping the distribution of the source is, IMO, secondary since the damage is already done and could very well be irreversible.  In this sense, you [Vas] should start looking beyond the 'simple' distribution issues and concentrate on protecting what is already out.

Regards,
Hristo
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-15 19:05
The article does not assert that the original author can claim copyright over unauthorized derivative works. It states that an author of an unauthorized distributed work cannot claim copyright for this work.

It's hard to understand why Vas would want to even consider distributing his code under GPL. If he had done this originally, with a few minor tweaks our Russian friend's work would have been completely legitimate. I suspect this is not the outcome that Vas is looking for.

Alan
Parent - By BB (****) [gb] Date 2008-01-15 22:30

> the damage is already done and could very well be irreversible.


"...one can't expect anything to be perfect now. In the old days if there was one thing wrong it spoiled everything; from now on for all our lives, if there's one thing right the day is made..."
[from Put Out More Flags].
Parent - By richbell (**) [in] Date 2008-01-11 19:03

> You are a class act!  If someone stole my hard work, I would be a lot more upset, angry and want to sue. 
>
> Mark


That's where Vas really inspires most of us. I have observed his attitude so long, i am always amazed at his EQ which seems to be equally well balanced with his excellent IQ.  Truly gifted.
Parent - - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) [hu] Date 2008-01-12 10:10
Thanks for all of the support.

It's amazing - we have many interesting discussions here, which get 5 posts and 500 hits. And this gets 100 posts and 3000 hits in one day. I guess we're just fascinated by the dark side ..

Vas
Parent - - By Werewolf (*****) [gb] Date 2008-01-12 12:16
Actually, I would hope it's becuase we want to stamp this moron out. He's (indirectly) hindering progess in computer chess by taking away your profits from Rybka. That makes him my enemy because I want the strongest software available to analyse my games. It's in my interest (and everyone else's) to find a solution and stop this guy.

Also I hope you manage it for personal reasons too :)
Parent - - By Uri Blass (*****) [il] Date 2008-01-12 12:41
I disagree that he is hindering progress in computer chess.

It is the opposite.
Now people can learn from the code and develop better chess programs.

If someone release free source of rybka2.3.2a then it is bad news for Vas and it is illegal and immoral but it is not clear that it is going to stop progress in computer chess.

Vas can still earn money from computer chess in this case because even if rybka2.3.2a is free he can sell rybka3 and even if rybka3 becomes free some months later he can sell rybka4 and continue.

Of course Vas is going to do actions to stop it but even if he does not succeed he can still earn from computer chess so I expect him to continue when at the same time opponents can look at better source and maybe one of them can use the knowledge to get the first place.

Note that I do not justify releasing source of commercial rybka and I only express the opinion that if it is done it can increase progress in computer chess.

Uri
Parent - - By Werewolf (*****) [gb] Date 2008-01-12 14:27
Well, Uri, I stand by my assertion. The more lucrative computer chess is the more investment, and resourses go into it. Think about any REALLY lucrative technology - like mp3 players or mobile phones - they have made MASSIVE advancements because there is money to be made. If mobiles were handed out free tomorrow Nokia, Apple & co would do something else.

The same is true for chess - if chess were a REALLY lucrative sport Microsoft would be in on it and we'd have amazing software.

I understand your argument but this man is a thief and a copier - not an inventor. This situation is very different to the Fruit one.
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-12 14:41
The more lucrative computer chess is the more investment, and resources go into it.

Maybe not. Chess is a hobby for most of the people in the community. Most developers, like Uri, are not making bundles of cash from developing engines. I'm sure that even Vas, far and away the most successful engine developer at this point in time, could make more money doing other things. Chess, like many other sports, is really a very interesting waste of time and money for almost the entire chess playing community.

if chess were a REALLY lucrative sport Microsoft would be in on it and we'd have amazing software.

I guess you meant to say that we'd have amazingly bad software. :-)

Regards,
Alan
Parent - By Werewolf (*****) [gb] Date 2008-01-12 16:15
yes, ok, there isn't much money to be made but the reason is not many people play chess (relatively) NOT because it's a sport. Football is a sport and some people are loaded from it.

Anyway - we're not really arguing here, I'm sure we'd all like to see strelka brought under control.
Parent - - By Wayne Lowrance (***) Date 2008-01-12 18:57
Yes, at the expense of taking away earnings from Vas. You amaze me sometime Uri
Wayne
Parent - By Uri Blass (*****) [il] Date 2008-01-12 20:11
I did not justify releasing source of commercial rybka.
I only explained that I believe that it is not going to stop or reduce the progress in computer chess.

Uri
Parent - - By albitex (***) [it] Date 2008-01-14 23:25 Edited 2008-01-14 23:30
Uri I am  fully agree with you.
But Vas. lives in a nation, that has been communist ago up to few years.'
They has passed of hit, brusquely, from the communism to the most unbridled iper consumerism. As all the people of nations of the ex Soviet block.
This violent jump, has pushed him to the opposite extreme. But they don't have well still understands, the operation of the capitalism and his mechanisms.
They are as of the astronauts, to the return from a trip to the speed of the light.
They have made a leap of decades in few months.
Parent - - By Roland Rösler (****) [de] Date 2008-01-15 01:46
... They have made a leap of decades in few months.
It´s annoying to read such nonsense! Okay, it´s only my opinion.
Naturally, I heard and read this in german tv and newspapers, but then I switched off at once. I´m silly enough!
PS: Next scenario for you for a better world: Irani have primary elections like in USA?
Parent - By albitex (***) [it] Date 2008-01-15 17:23
Excuse me, but I can speak only a little English : ... They have made a jump of decades (years) in few months.
Irani ? That Irani ?
Do you know that here in my city, Turin, are we invaded by people of the east?
Romeni, Albanian, Moldav, Slavic generally.
I believe to know something of theme...
Parent - By richbell (**) [in] Date 2008-01-12 12:38

> Thanks for all of the support.
>
> It's amazing - we have many interesting discussions here, which get 5 posts and 500 hits. And this gets 100 posts and 3000 hits in one day. I guess we're just fascinated by the dark side ..
>
> Vas


I agree, but not JUST because of fascination towards dark side. Most of us want to support you to make sure a genuine author's hard work doesn't get ripped off and exploited by competitors because of some culprit hacker. It's purely painful to see that.

In spite of Rybka's unanimous success, it really frustrating to see how many are against you. That what i feel motivates rest of the public in supporting you. I feel people who sneakily oppose you in other forums, are purely jealous of your success and nothing more.  
Parent - - By thierrycatalan (**) [fr] Date 2008-01-11 13:26
osipov ought to be ashamed of himself ...and must to apologize for his clone in all chessforum on the web.
Parent - - By Uri Blass (*****) [il] Date 2008-01-11 13:36
I do not think that he has to apologize in all chess forums.

Many people are happy with what he did
This includes programmers who have a new source code to look at and this includes
users who have new strong free chess program.

Uri
Parent - - By Wayne Lowrance (***) Date 2008-01-11 21:03
Uri, I do not like your post here. Who is happy with this ? I dunno anyone in my life circle who is happy or would support in any way a person like this Ospinov.
Wayne
Parent - - By Uri Blass (*****) [il] Date 2008-01-11 21:11
I am sure that many chess players are happy that they can get a new engine for free.
Chess programmers can be happy because they have a source to learn from it or be sad because other programmers have source to learn from it.

Uri
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2008-01-11 21:29
This is all true, but the laws help to protect and promote innovation.  If we all lived in a communistic society where all such code was out in the open, there would be no real motivation here because there wouldn't be much reward for improvement, either tangible or intangible.  Something only slightly stronger than Crafty 16.xx would be the strongest engine around (assuming that the public really had cheap computers, of course--and that's pretty doubtful).
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-11 21:41
There are a lot of good reasons for protecting Intellectual Property Rights. The desire for faster innovation isn't one of them though. There is little doubt that the release of this code will spur innovation in the rather insignificant field of chess engine development. Vas will respond by working hard to put as much distance as possible between his current and previous efforts, and will try to make it harder to reverse engineer future releases.

This is actually the normal model for innovation. Someone comes up with a good idea, and others copy it, leveling the playing field until someone comes up with a new innovation. Rinse and repeat.

Regards,
Alan
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2008-01-11 21:56
What I'm talking about is long-term innovation.  Yes, this will get computer chess engines developing faster than they were before--but it won't last forever, and for many, it will only last as long as there is a bit of a monetary goal.  For others, it's a hobby, and will remain that way.  In general, when there isn't a monetary or other material source of motivation, innovation is going to stall in the long-term.
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-11 22:16
The primary financial motivator for innovation is that the first guy to market generally gets the most benefit, and this is usually the innovator. In any event, I would maintain that the real intellectual property in a chess engine is in the algorithms rather than the software, and these aren't protected by anything other than secrecy.

Alan
Parent - - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) [hu] Date 2008-01-12 10:20

> There are a lot of good reasons for protecting Intellectual Property Rights. The desire for faster innovation isn't one of them though.


I understand your point, but it's not quite that simple. If there are two fields, one in which IP rights can be protected and one in which they can't, which field will see more effort (and innovation)?

When Shredder was #1 a few years ago, I always wondered why he was so careless about keeping his edge, diverting his attention to a GUI, website, etc. We see part of the answer now.

Vas
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-12 14:05
If there are two fields, one in which IP rights can be protected and one in which they can't, which field will see more effort (and innovation)?

Generally, the one with more money! :-)

Seriously though, there is rampant IP theft in fields such as movies as music, but the amount of new material being generated has never been higher. In the software field, OpenOffice involved serious reverse engineering of MS's Office product line, is free, and seems (to me anyway) to be every bit as good as MS Office. MS is still putting enormous resources into Office and still making very good money from it despite the significant degradation of their Office IP rights.

Things are much worse on the patent side were there are intellectual property houses, such as Rambus and Patriot, that collect patent portfolios for the sole purpose of shaking down companies that wind up using similar technology. Many of these places don't perform any real innovation at all (i.e. they don't produce anything) and end up exerting significant drag on innovation.

I still believe in IP rights, but I would argue that they function mainly to protect profits rather than to spur innovation (and that's not a bad thing if not taken to excess).

Regards,
Alan
Parent - - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) [us] Date 2008-01-13 18:52
I have lain dormant in this whole Strelka discussion as the whole thing kind of bores me.  But I do have to comment on the general concept of property rights and the purpose they serve.  I grant that this may be a bit off-point but it surprises me to read that anyone could think that just nibbling at the edges of property rights might be a good thing and could spur innovation.

As a rule, secure property rights are the single biggest difference between economies that prosper and wallow in poverty.  Rather than make the case myself, I refer to the work of Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, whose work can be summarized here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hernando_de_Soto_(economist)

I grant that full disclosure of Rybka's source would result in a dissemination of chess programming knowledge.  But if you were to make all source codes public and you eliminated all profit motives, what would happen?  It is the hope of profit that spurs people to innovate.  Some might work without a profit motive, I grant you.  But in general the aggregate level of innovation would be diminished.
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-13 21:32
I am a big fan of De Soto's work, but his work doesn't apply to intellectual property. De Soto argues that it is extremely beneficial to assign a bundle of rights to real property, record the status of these rights, and to put a formal system in place for transferring these rights with a minimum of bureaucratic involvement. This is a fairly straightforward for real property and impossible for intellectual property.
Parent - - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) [us] Date 2008-01-13 22:03
Impossible perhaps, but directionally where we would like to go.  Amusing that you would call assignment of formal rights for real property "straightforward" when it has been the exception to the rule throughout most of human history.  There are people running for president this year (with a reasonable prospect of success) who have a very unfirm grip on this straightforward concept.  There are people actually running countries all over the world who straightforwardly eschew property rights and don't even bother with such legalistic terms as "eminent domain".  They will just seize what they want and put a bullet in your head if you object.
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2008-01-13 23:12
You certainly would not want to go to a system where every idea was the intellectually property of some entity that could prevent others from making use of it. The concept of treating intellectual property the same as real property is actually a very scary one and luckily no one is seriously considering basing IP rights on the same structure used for real property rights.

Real property can be defined in a manner that is relatively unambiguous and can be assigned a bundle of rights that are natural and well understood. There is no question about the borders of the properties that I own, nor the extent of the structures that exist on them. Disputes can still arise, but it is generally relatively easy to chart out the course the dispute will take and in most cases even figure out what the final resolution will be if the results are contested.

In contrast, ideas are not well delineated, nor is there agreement on natural associated rights as there are for real property. In the current case, it is not clear, at least to me, what exactly Vas claims as his own. Assuming Anthony's summation of the differences between what's in Strelka and other engines is accurate, it would seem that very little of the secret sauce could actually be protected by any method other than keeping it secret. This is not an unusual situation. Even when there is the possibility of patenting an innovation, it is frequently possible to perform the same task in a different manner or even in the same manner but in a surreptitious manner.
Parent - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) [hu] Date 2008-01-14 22:24
Obviously, there is a lot of IP gray area, but I can't see a situation where code itself could be a gray area. This would shatter the software industry.

Vas
Parent - By Uri Blass (*****) [il] Date 2008-01-13 22:25
Making all source code public is not going to eliminate profit motives.

All books are public but the writer can earn money from selling them and if somebody copy the book and sell it or give it for free in the internet then this is illegal.

Same can be with chess programs when the programs can be commercial together with source when it is going to be illegal to copy
them instead of buying them.

Maybe it is better to have rules that say that it is illegal to give the exe and hide the source and people who are interested in the source or the exe have to pay.

Uri
Parent - - By BB (****) [gb] Date 2008-01-14 19:41

> As a rule, secure property rights are the single biggest difference between economies that prosper and wallow in poverty.


Perhaps, but the more gadfly eye might note that this still leaves open the question of whether a prosperous economy is good. :)
Parent - - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) [us] Date 2008-01-14 20:43
Speaking for myself, I'd rather live in Switzerland than Zimbabwe.
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