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 Post subject: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:18 pm 
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I got contacted by a Shanky-user,
who is a bit disappointed about lack of features and development (no PT, only 4 sites, etc.)
and who volunteered to create a PPL-interpreter for OpenHoldem.
PPL means "Poker Programing Language": http://bonusbots.com/PPLguide.pdf

I am currently a bit sceptical about several things, but my main concern is:
Shanky is a commercial poker bot and AFAIK they do it for a living - it might or might not affect their sales.
Are there any legal issues if somebody creates a compatible PPL-interpreter?

Concrete:
  • what about the syntax of the language? If we create something very similar that should be ok, provided that we don't use any code (it is closed source anyway) and that we maybe refer to the inventor of PPL.
  • what about the symbols name and sematics?
  • what about the documentation? I assume that we can't copy and paste; but if we reword everything we should be ok?

Thank you all for your answers.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:06 pm 
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If i were you, i would not make it compatible.

Similar enough to make it trivial to port a bot, but not fully compatible.
Imho this is the trouble line, because making it compatible you openly acknowledge their proprietary work, language and product.

They are surely not the owners of the concept of a poker programming language, but they are surely the owners of *their* ppl.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:35 am 
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AFAIK fully(*) compatible, as long as it is a self-contained bot in text-format,
that does not depend on encrypted PPL and does not fall back to the hard-coded default logic.
Plus some convenient enhancements.

(*) I am not sure, if some of the limitations can be ported with ease. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:57 pm 
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@THF - Not sure here.

Documentation for sure you can't copy/paste. To get some a bit more reliable POV (w/out contacting a lawyer) maybe you can look at similar cases (e.g. OpenOffice opening Word documents, PDF viewers/editors, etc.).

But I also wonder a bit about your concerns - OpenHoldem was initially created as a copy of Winholdem, with backward compatibility on the scripting language and possiblity to import WH created profiles and formulas. If that was fine, then doing what you plan to do with Shanky should also be fine.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:01 pm 
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This was an interesting question, which sparked some research. The link here seems to suggest that a programming language is not copyrightable.

http://compsci.ca/blog/copyrighting-a-p ... -property/

However, if you look at the below links, you can see there were similar arguments regarding XML. Though, I'm not sure if the below example could translate into only the "interpretation of a language," as it seems to also incorporate the structuring of data.

http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blog ... osoft.aspx
Quote:
According to Mr. Owen, the 449 patent is an integral part of the XML programming language at the centre of the dispute with Microsoft. "i4i's '449 patented invention infuses life into the use of Extensible Mark Up Language (XML) and dramatically enhances the ability to structure what was previously unstructured data," he said.

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Pars ... =5,787,449

I believe ultimately Shanky Technologies could patent the "idea" of PPL (or some of it's specific key features that make it a novel approach), though not the language itself. Having a patent in this regard could give them enough juice to make a case in court. Though who would they sue? It's not like OpenHoldem is a company, making a profit by selling the PPL language.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:41 pm 
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That was my understanding aswell, openholdem would not be selling a product and the entities involved in evolving the product is unknown and situated in various countries.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Thank you everybody for your answers.

c2008, your links indicate, that we are fine, as long as we behave cautious and reasonable.
I couldn't find much more on the net, which might back up our opinion.

Indiana wrote:
OpenHoldem was initially created as a copy of Winholdem, with backward compatibility on the scripting language and possiblity to import WH created profiles and formulas. If that was fine, then doing what you plan to do with Shanky should also be fine.

Some early parts of OpenHoldems documentation got copy-and-pasted from the WH-homepage.
Ray must have know it, but he simply didn't care.
Now that I am responsible for the project I would rather avoid issues like that.

c2008 wrote:
It's not like OpenHoldem is a company, making a profit by selling the PPL language.

hugo1 wrote:
the entities involved in evolving the product is unknown and situated in various countries

That are weak arguments, if you get in conflict with law. ;)

I will be on holiday the next 10 days, but I might come back to this topic later.
Have some nice days, too.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:52 pm 
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TheHighFish wrote:
That are weak arguments, if you get in conflict with law. ;)
It's not a defense. It's a mitigating factor in the eye of most courts.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:18 pm 
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c2008 wrote:
I believe ultimately Shanky Technologies could patent the "idea" of PPL


Don't they have to take out a patent before they make it public?
wikipedia wrote:
An invention is not patentable if the claimed subject matter was disclosed before the date of filing, or before the date of priority if a priority is claimed, of the patent application.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:12 am 
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spears wrote:
Don't they have to take out a patent before they make it public?

Yes and no, some specific "ideas" included in the language might be less than a year old.

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/#novelty


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Dont worry THF no one is going to jail.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:25 pm 
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The PPL language syntax as well as the parser is protected by copyrights. We will definitely legally go after anybody copying the language or using it in any application without our permission. We are open to licensing the language out to other open source developers and can discuss the terms for that. A language is not patented but is automatically protected by copyrights. You can check with your lawyer if you are not sure of that. You can certainly go to jail for copyright violations. This is similar to copying text from a published book and using it in your own. There is no patent for the book but copying parts of a book or of a song for that matter is a copyright violation for which people have had to pay huge fines in the past.

By the way the Shanky bonusbots now also support the ipoker network.

For Shanky Technologies


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:43 pm 
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Shanky Technologies wrote:
The PPL language syntax as well as the parser is protected by copyrights. We will definitely legally go after anybody copying the language or using it in any application without our permission. We are open to licensing the language out to other open source developers and can discuss the terms for that. A language is not patented but is automatically protected by copyrights. You can check with your lawyer if you are not sure of that. You can certainly go to jail for copyright violations. This is similar to copying text from a published book and using it in your own. There is no patent for the book but copying parts of a book or of a song for that matter is a copyright violation for which people have had to pay huge fines in the past.

c2008 is right. The PPL language itself is not copyrightable, at least in any country I'm vaguely aware of the IP laws. The actual code written by Shanky to parse the language is copyright though. So it is entirely legal to write your own 100% compatible PPL parser bot from the ground up, provided none of Shanky's work is used.
The bigger question is, why would you bother making a PPL compatible bot? PPL has no opponent modelling, no HEM/PT integreation. And if you read the Shanky forums, the Shanky people seem hostile to even including these.
There isn't even an equivalent to prwin in PPL, so you end up having to code up a bunch of rules for almost every single case, or have the default bot deal with them.
There's maybe a case for implementing then improving on PPL, but as far as rule based languages go I think you'd be better off extending CLIPS or something like that.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:55 pm 
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kpx1 wrote:
c2008 is right.

kpx1 is a genius. :knight


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:14 pm 
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kpx1 wrote:
The PPL language itself is not copyrightable, at least in any country I'm vaguely aware of the IP laws.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but can you offer evidence to support this position?


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:46 am 
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spears wrote:
kpx1 wrote:
The PPL language itself is not copyrightable, at least in any country I'm vaguely aware of the IP laws.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but can you offer evidence to support this position?

Ummm basically because copyright can only protect the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. So that means compiled binaries, original source code, even shanky example PPL code and the PPL manual are all copyright.
Here's a better discussion: http://compsci.ca/blog/copyrighting-a-programming-language-syntax-and-other-intellectual-property/ It is a Canadian example, but applies pretty much anywhere that WIPO treaties do (i.e. the USA).
And from Lexis Nexus.... http://lexisweb.co.uk/groups/author_extranet/blog/archive/2010/07/27/sas-institute-inc-v-world-programming-ltd.aspx Scroll down and read (2).


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:36 am 
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kpx1 wrote:


Nice find.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:08 am 
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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.


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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:29 am 
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kpx1 wrote:
The bigger question is, why would you bother making a PPL compatible bot? PPL has no opponent modelling, no HEM/PT integreation. And if you read the Shanky forums, the Shanky people seem hostile to even including these. There isn't even an equivalent to prwin in PPL, so you end up having to code up a bunch of rules for almost every single case, or have the default bot deal with them.
That pretty much sums up my feelings also.

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 Post subject: Re: OpenPPL - legal issues?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:53 am 
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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.


Microsoft licensed the Java trademark brand as a supplier and then breached the licence agreement. As OP hasn't licensed the your brand as a supplier I don't see how he could breach the agreement.


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