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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:13 am 
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Not to berate you Shanky, but your argument is starting to sound like a lot of scare tactics. You're not dealing with your average, naive internet dweebs here. If there's a flaw in your argument we'll pick it apart, publicly. ;)

I still don't even know who Shanky would sue? Maybe, he would be able to get the PPL portion of OH removed, but I couldn't see anyone having to pay monetary losses, especially if the port is published anonymously. Given some of the links by kpx1, I'm not even sure a copyright would hold water if challenged in court.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:39 am 
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@skanky If you spent your revenues on fixing the software instead of lawyers customer satisfaction would improve and they wouldn't want to go to another supplier


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:56 pm 
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Sorry for the tl;dr. Cliff notes:
1) Copyright cannot protect programming languages
2) Just try sue me Shanky, I will counter-sue and likely win.
3) Sun vs Microsoft case regarding java has nothing to do with copyright so does not apply
4) Shanky's IP does deserve protection. Some suggestions.
5) IP law is a stop-gap. Focus on improving the product so people will pay for, not copy PPL.

Shanky Technologies wrote:
We have now contacted our lawyers and are on strong legal ground as there are several precedents that go in our favour. The PPL language itself is protected by copyright. Just because you write a parser from scratch does not protect you. The most famous case is that of Java. Sun owns the copyright for Java. But after it became popular Microsoft wrote their own compiler and virtual machine for Java and called it Microsoft Java. They wrote the compiler and the virtual machine from scratch. They also changed certain parts of the language so that it was not exactly the same as Sun's Java. Sun sued Microsoft and they had to pay millions of dollars in fines to Sun and get rid of Microsoft Java. So Microsoft no longer ships a Java virtual machine and we have to download it from Sun's site even when running on a Microsoft machine. Sun made some decent revenue from the fines it got from Microsoft.

You are blowing hot air - copyright in no jurisdiction I am familiar with cannot protect a programming language. And copyright law is the most uniform of all IP law amongst all nations that have signed the relevant WIPO treaties into law. Shanky, If you honestly think you have a case, then try providing some REAL precedents that actually apply to the situation in question...... no?....... thought so.

At least in my jurisdiction if Shanky were to try a "copyright suit" against ME for implementing PPL I would respond to the C&Ds (cease and desists) with counter-C&Ds until Shanky filed a full suit then it's simply a quick trip to my courthouse to counter-sue with the following motions:
1) Motion to move the case here. High chance of succeeding since I didn't agree to T&Cs that mention jurisdiction and my jurisdiction takes a dim view of its citizens being sued in outside jurisdictions for actions taken with it's geographic boundaries. Shanky should note that in my jurisdiction publication re: the web/email is deemed to have taken place at the place of upload and not at the place of web/email-server. You can thank the unfortunately numerous precedents in child-pornography cases for that one.
2) Motion for dismissal due to frivolous/vexatious litigation or malicious suit (the exact term might show what my jurisdiction is so I'm not giving it here).
3) Motion for damages based on the second motion. Good chance of succeeding since Shanky's "copyright" lawsuit has obviously no chance of winning. The stupider the judge deems the Shanky case, the more money I would get.
4) Possible motion for sanctions against Shanky's legal representative for bringing a suit that is slam dunked under motion 2. (some chance of succeeding if the legal representative is licensed to practice law in my jurisdiction but tbh that's more likely to be referred to the local bar. Your lawyer will not like the potential non-billable hours this will create if it goes to the bar even if they are not sanctioned).
5) Finally a motion for summary judgment. Happens often for cases that are dismissed under the second motion because the courts do not desire to be clogged with trash cases.

Ahhhhh the damages check..... but I'd never waste time making a PPL parser anyways for reasons stated in an earlier post - and many more. (It is in Shanky's best interests to probably not encourage me to state these in full in a publicly searchable forum).

Now, let's break down the Sun vs Microsoft cases from Dec 1997 onwards:
1) the word copyright is mentioned only once in background material and never once in the actual Claims or request for Relief.
2) There are claims made relate to breach of contract regarding the licensing of the "Java compatible" and Java trademarks.
3) There are claims made in relation to breach of contract regarding a MS's development of the Java technology breaking the cross-platform intent of their contract.
4) The original complaint introduces monopoly behavior claims. The later suits continue this theme.
Sun was at least successful in the claims relating to breach of contract and misuse of trademark.
You will note that the Sun vs MS suit did not succeed based on the copyright of the language.

The SAS judgment I linked to before (filled in a WIPO country so somewhat relevant) specifically mentions that the SAS language cannot be protected by copyright. Even though the judge thought some protection would be appropriate they could not specify what that protection might be.

Oracle's suit vs Google for the Dalvik java virtual machine used in Android is much more interesting. Again not based on copyright - but based on patents and trademarks.

Since it seems that Shanky's lawyer either does not know the basics of IP law, or is recommending their client tries to bully people with C&Ds (I hate that kind of lawyer scum because it dishonors the profession), or the lawyer does not exist, I am going to give Shanky some free advice as to how they might protect their IP. Believe it or not, I think that Shanky's work does deserve protection.

1. Make the PPL manuals impossible to obtain without agreeing to T&Cs that specially prohibit people from making their own PPL parser. The best way to make T&Cs legally enforceable to bring them under the pervue of contract law by doing this at the time money some changes hands.
2. Tighten up the distribution of the manual - I was able to obtain a copy through a simple google search without agreeing to any T&Cs. Copyright does protect the manual itself so you can legally control the distribution.
3. Change the PPL file format to something that is encrypted. Even basic XOR encryption would suffice. (Shanky would need to provide an IDE to edit PPL files instead of allowing any text editor). Then the DMCA provisions regarding anti-circumvention would apply. I am assuming that Shanky is in a jurisdication where the DMCA applies.
4. Make the T&Cs specify Shanky's home jurisdiction as the place where all suits regarding PPL and Shanky technology are heard. (Maybe already done, I have not read Shanky's T&Cs)
5. Obtain a trademark for PPL and "Poker Programming Language". The terms look too generic though and could probably be successfully challenged. Perhaps rename to SPPL, "Shanky Poker Programming Language" since that would be a more defensible trademark. Trademark law is much easier to win cases.
6. Patent anything novel within the parser. Software patents in the US are quite easy to obtain provided you can show "novelty". BTW: An associate who specializes in this area privately tells me that novelty is often a matter of imagination.

I am also of the opinion the the protections given by IP law are ultimately a short-term defensive measure. I think that best thing Shanky can do is to improve the product to the point that people think that it is simply better to pay the money than take the time to develop their own PPL alternatives. The WinHoldem -> OpenHoldem situation is a relevant lesson from history.
Think of it this way, Shanky could become a decent alternative to OpenHoldEm if they allowed for more pluggable AI -> beyond the limitations of PPL. I think that newbie botters are going to stick with PPL. The pro-botters might be convinced to go Shanky if they had a more pluggable AI system and Shanky concentrated on stealth, game state reader, actor - and stayed ahead of the casino updates. People might pay for that level of convenience.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:24 pm 
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c2008 wrote:
I still don't even know who Shanky would sue? Maybe, he would be able to get the PPL portion of OH removed, but I couldn't see anyone having to pay monetary losses, especially if the port is published anonymously. Given some of the links by kpx1, I'm not even sure a copyright would hold water if challenged in court.


To be honest, I was following discussions about other lawsuits as part of my RL job in [non-legal] forums, and the quallity here is well above what I've read there. So without offense to the guys that do clever and in-depth opinions on the matter, these are all still nearly pure speculations with possibly no merit. I also have to remind you that this is not a legal forum, and nothing here should constitute a legal advice.

How a case like this might go, depends on many things, for example where is such case evaluated? I guess most of you assume either US or your local jurisdiction, which might simply not be the case.

With regard to whom can be sued: Provided that most people operate anonimously, they can sue only the owners of the website that distributes such [alleged] software. Additonally (on the legal course) they can possibly sue all involved parties in such development (by means of tracing IPs, etc.).

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:16 pm 
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This is a pretty funny thread.

1. You can't copyright an idea (already posted above)

2. Who would you sue? A collection of developers in random countries? How, exactly, would you find them? Maybe you can trace IP logs on the OH forums, but I know for a fact that I obfuscate mine in various ways.

3. What would be the legal remedy? There are no revenues in the OH project to attach.

Bottom line, the cost of bringing this case in multiple global jurisdictions far outweighs the benefit. Besides, the code is already out there. Good luck deleting it from the intertubes.

I remember Ray's blustering when OH first was released. It was very entertaining then as well.

Frankly, I feel that if your business model cannot compete with open source, then you need to change your business model. Ray didn't change and his business died. Maybe PPL is a good addition to OH, maybe not. Maybe it will kill Shanky maybe not. Have fun throwing your lawyers around.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:29 pm 
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@OH, point 2) and 3) have counter precendents. Like there are guys being busted and going to jail for distributing torrents, which also fails in these 2 and 3 cases - provided legal guilt.

That, however, is a very true statement in the industry:
OpenHoldem wrote:
Frankly, I feel that if your business model cannot compete with open source, then you need to change your business model.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Yes, I agree Indy - distribution of copyrighted material is a crime. However, the work being done on PPL does not include the distribution of copyrighted material; the arguments above have poked plenty of holes in Shanky's arguments, so I won't repeat them.

We are creators, we are not distributors of copyrighted software.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:47 pm 
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How about I just edit all these posts to read Skanky Technologies?


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:55 pm 
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indiana wrote:
I also have to remind you that this is not a legal forum, and nothing here should constitute a legal advice.

^this. :xx09 Get a lawyer.

indiana wrote:
How a case like this might go, depends on many things, for example where is such case evaluated? I guess most of you assume either US or your local jurisdiction, which might simply not be the case.

True the jurisdiction is very important. I can claim familiarity with the laws and legal processes in my jurisdiction only. The laws in your jurisdiction might be different. I am lucky to have good anti-stupid-lawsuit laws here.

Having said that, on copyright alone, the laws are surprisingly internationally uniform. A bucket load of countries have signed the relevant WIPO / WTO treaties. Probably the best list is at Wikipedia, though you'll need to double-check its accuracy.
List of parties to international copyright agreements

TRIPS Section 1: Article 9, Paragraph 2. says:
Quote:
Copyright protection shall extend to expressions and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such.

The next thing to check is how that treaty has been implemented in your jurisdiction's legislation. A treaty itself is not law so look for the relevant Acts passed by your government.

Note that I am only talking about the copyright of the PPL language. Shanky still has copyright in things relating to the ShankyBot such as the source, binaries, manuals and associated DLLs.
There are other legal means Shanky could use to try protect the PPL language. Trademarks and patents are the most obvious. He might just be saying copyright as a generic term for IP Intellectual Property and is hiding his try legal strategy to avoid having it picked apart on the internet before it gets to a courtroom.
Shanky might sue under Trade Secrets but a clean-room implementation would avoid that.

Yes, I still call BS on copyright to the PPL language itself in almost any jurisdiction that has implemented the relevant international conventions.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:28 pm 
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kpx1 wrote:
The bigger question is, why would you bother making a PPL compatible bot?

Simply because somebody contributed code and wants to combine the easiness of OpenPPL with the mightiness of OpenHoldem.

kpx1 wrote:
Shanky still has copyright in things relating to the ShankyBot such as the source, binaries, manuals and associated DLLs.

  • we use no sources
  • we use no binaries
  • we don't crack or reverse-engineer anything
  • we don't copy the manual
  • we don't support or rebuild the built-in default bot ("doodle") nor its option settings
  • we don't support the encrypted PPL format, but only plain text format

So the only question is: can programming languages be copyrighted (syntax and naming conventions)?
And (provided OpenPPL gets released) it won't even be an exact copy: there will be some limitations, but of course also lots of extensions and extensibility for the user.

Anyway: we will discuss this case internally too and then decide, how we proceed.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:12 pm 
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Ok Shanky Technologies I am a long standing member of OH and I am a Lawyer by profession. I have a simple question you can put to your lawyers:

OH is a Non-profit Opensource project including many people from different countries. Who will you sue or charge and where?

IMHO suing an international (in the sense that the members can be found in different countries) non profit voluntary association for damages is impractical if not impossible.

Criminal charges...yea right. Criminal Law is different in most all jurisdictions but one thing seems universal:

nihil crimine sine lege


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:18 pm 
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@kpx1 could you plz supply me with the authority for this:

'Shanky should note that in my jurisdiction publication re: the web/email is deemed to have taken place at the place of upload and not at the place of web/email-server:"

This may be important for me professionally.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:20 pm 
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want2learn wrote:
... I am a Lawyer by profession ... OH is a Non-profit Opensource project including many people from different countries. Who will you sue or charge and where?

You are a lawyer? Obviously you [nearly] always sue the one that distributes the software (And it doesn't matter if it is paid or for free, or who created it), as this is what creates "the damage". You can of course sue the "initial" distributors of the software (and as I said above, if they are anonimous, then you start from the distribution channel), but e.g. if this initial distribution get settled, anyone who further does or did that is exposed to exactly the same thing.

If you however meant the comlpexity involved in doing that, then your point might be valid.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:26 am 
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want2learn wrote:
@kpx1 could you plz supply me with the authority for this:

'Shanky should note that in my jurisdiction publication re: the web/email is deemed to have taken place at the place of upload and not at the place of web/email-server:"

This may be important for me professionally.

Probably different in your jurisdiction. If tell me your jurisdiction and it is the same as mine, then I'll send you the case references, otherwise I'd like to keep my location secret. I will delete your PM as soon as I read it.

To clarify, the publication of things on the Internet taking place at the point of upload happened because of a few child porn cases where the defendants tried to argue that the servers were not located in this jurisdiction so could they could not be tried for publication of child porn in this jurisdiction. The judge ruled that publication has occurred at the point of upload and the location of the webserver was defined as the point of distribution. That does expose the accused to possible criminal proceedings in the jurisdiction or upload and the jurisdiction of the webserver.
Personally I think this happened because (at least in my jurisdiction) they have been prosecuting any resident for child porn or child sex crimes that have occurred anywhere in the world.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:05 pm 
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@Indy, You know what I do for a living!? I thought you knew my real id. Yes I was refering to the economic and practical problems relating to the case.

@KPX1 the reason I asked was due to a recent case here were a similar decision was handed down. It is up for appeal. Your authority could be persuasive (although against us) and somewhat relevant. Plz provide me with details.

@shanky, A less argumentative and less confrontational attitude will benefit you. :xx20


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:38 pm 
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want2learn wrote:
@Indy, You know what I do for a living!? I thought you knew my real id. Yes I was refering to the economic and practical problems relating to the case.

Yes, OK.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:45 am 
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No matter how much you polish a turd, it is still a turd. I've skimmed the PPL manual and I can't see why anyone would want to copy it. A dumbed down version of Python would be a lot more powerful and easier to understand, even for newbies.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:03 am 
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HI ppl code is in text format as well so reading the code wouldn't break copyright


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:26 pm 
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Yes, that's our opinion, too,
But in the meantime all legal issues are solved.
Shanky is ok with an OpenPPL-implementation as part of the OpenHoldem project,
as long as they are credited as the inventors of the original PPL (we would have done that anyway).
Overall they might lose some customers and they might get some new ones,
but I don't expect, that it does affect their business in a negative way.

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