Fabien's open letter to the community

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Gian-Carlo Pascutto
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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by Gian-Carlo Pascutto » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:34 pm

JuLieN wrote: Besides, the GPL license is more general than "copy & paste" : even a program inspired by a GPLed one should disclose its code.
It depends on what you mean with "inspired by", but a program just borrowing ideas is not a derived work, and hence the GPL has no rights over it, because copyright doesn't either.
Though if the FSF stood only by its rule it should only ask for the disclosure of the code as the GPL, if I understood it well, seems to allow the use of a GPLed programs to generate profit.
That is true, but the act of violating the copyright is an action that in itself creates liability for damages, and the FSF will seek those, because they don't like people violating their license.

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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by Robert Flesher » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:35 pm

Tord Romstad wrote:My good friend Fabien Letouzey, author of Fruit, asked me to post the following message for him:
Hello,

Long time no see.

First, I am not back to computer chess, sorry about that. I just want to clarify a few things. Sorry if that's old but there is some misunderstanding I need to fix, and I found out only yesterday. Bear in mind that I am mostly unaware of what has happened for five years though.

First there was the Strelka case. Dann approached me with some "Strelka" source code for me to check. I had never heard of it. I assumed it was some closed-source free engine and that people wanted to know whether it was based on the Fruit source code.

The short answer was "no", it was not a verbatim copy of the source code. All the code had been typed (can't say "designed" though, see below) by an individual. So legally there was no issue that I knew of. It was however a whole re-write (copy with different words if you like, similar to a translation) of the algorithms. Not just an extraction of a couple of ideas as is common, and normal.

That being said, some original changes and ideas were also included in the program. So it was, as has since been stated many times in fora I suppose, a bitboard re-write of Fruit with some personal (or otherwise) ideas. Also note that the source code Dann sent me might not be the from the 2.0 version.

Edit: I've just had a look at the 2.0 sources. On top of what I said above, there are many constant and function names that are identical to Fruit's. I remember noticing it back then as well.

Hope it helps, because my email answer to Dann was unusually short and cryptic even by my standards. And Dann, please next time make it clear when you want a public statement instead of a private opinion, thanks.

I want to point out something immediately: there was no mention of Rybka whatsoever. Indeed I was unaware of any relation between Strelka and Rybka, this is precisely what I learned only yesterday. I insist because it seems I have often been quoted about "not caring" about the (possible) Fruit/Rybka relationship, but this is not so. Strelka did not look like a problem because I assumed it was free.

Next, I was approached by Ryan (I think) and Christophe Theron about whether I could help with some "possible Fruit code inside Rybka" issues. I answered "yes, but how?", but did not get a reply. This did not make me really aware of a clone possibility however because I thought they were talking about some insignificant UCI-handling code or whatnot. Also this was several years after the initial Rybka release, and I guess quite a few people had a close look at it. Apparently Chrilly did?

Now if someone could tell me a bit more about the major events last five years and the current state of affairs, I'd be much obliged.

A few things I noticed yesterday, can you confirm?
- Rybka search info was obfuscated in some way (like displaying depth-3 or something), any pointers on details please?
- Vasik claimed that Strelka 2.0 is a clone of Rybka 1.0 (and you know what that would imply!)
- Zach Wegner found many Fruit ideas (and nearly identical code) in Rybka 1.0; I think someone else did, too
- Some even stronger open-source program appeared as a decompilation of Rybka (with own ideas, sounds familiar), what came up of looking at those?

Any questions, now is the one time to ask.

Thanks for your attention,

Fabien Letouzey.

One question for Fabien, where is chess64 ? :wink: kidding...

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JuLieN
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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by JuLieN » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:43 pm

hgm wrote: So applying conditions on 'inspired work' is completely outside its jurisdiction, as copyrights do not extend to 'inspiration'. Just to copying.
I need your expertise of the GPL to understand something, Harm Geert : does the GPL implies the use of the AMERICAN "Copyright law" everywhere the GPL license is agreed upon, or does it rely on the local "copyright law" of the author of the GPLed program? If the later is the answer, then it would have very important consequences, as the American copyright law is actually an exception in the world (actually all anglo-saxon copyright law). For instance, in Europe we have a very different system. And in our systems, "inspired work" is punishable.
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Gian-Carlo Pascutto
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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by Gian-Carlo Pascutto » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:04 pm

I need your expertise of the GPL to understand something, Harm Geert : does the GPL implies the use of the AMERICAN "Copyright law" everywhere the GPL license is agreed upon, or does it rely on the local "copyright law" of the author of the GPLed program? If the later is the answer, then it would have very important consequences, as the American copyright law is actually an exception in the world (actually all anglo-saxon copyright law). For instance, in Europe we have a very different system. And in our systems, "inspired work" is punishable.
The GPL was written against the background of American copyright law, but has been found to be enforcable in Europe, which shouldn't be too surprising due to things like the Berne convention.

I believe your claim for "inspired works" is not relevant for computer software, see for example:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/Lex ... 50:EN:HTML
2. Protection in accordance with this Directive shall apply to the expression in any form of a computer program. Ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright under this Directive.
It's a bit hard to track which directive is implemented in which country, but in any case, you can clearly see that the intention in Europe is to make this NOT illegal.

(All the people claiming that Ippolit and co are legal should read article 6.2.c, anyway)

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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by hgm » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:18 pm

JuLieN wrote:I need your expertise of the GPL to understand something, Harm Geert : does the GPL implies the use of the AMERICAN "Copyright law" everywhere the GPL license is agreed upon, or does it rely on the local "copyright law" of the author of the GPLed program? If the later is the answer, then it would have very important consequences, as the American copyright law is actually an exception in the world (actually all anglo-saxon copyright law). For instance, in Europe we have a very different system. And in our systems, "inspired work" is punishable.
It does not seem to refer to any specific country of residence. But I am not sure if it would make sense if it did:

If laws in countries differ, I guess you have to obey the laws of the country where you act. I.e., if I would live in a country that did not recognize ownership of music, or where such ownership expired after 5 years, and I would start burning my own Rolling Stones CDs and selling them there, I don't think there is anything the Rolling Stones could do to stop me. Even though they live in a country that does recognize the music as their intellectualproperty. They probably could stop me from exporting the bootlegged CDs to countries that do recognize ownership of music. I don't think they could ask for my extradition based on that what I am doing here would be a violation of the laws of the country where they live.

So I guess that in a country where copyrights apply to a broader class of derivative than in the U.S., you could try to enforce the conditions specified in the GPL also to derivatives that fall in such a class. So in theory it could be that spreading Rybka would require permission from the Fabien in France, but not in the U.S., and that the GPL does not automatcally grant this permission. (As the source is not included.) Of course this would not really put Vas, or the company marketing Rybka in trouble, as they are not based in France. IMO the most that could come from it is that Rybka could no longer be imported to France. Punative damages seem out of the question, in this case, as those importing Rybka so far acted in good faith.

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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by JuLieN » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:21 pm

Gian-Carlo Pascutto wrote:
I need your expertise of the GPL to understand something, Harm Geert : does the GPL implies the use of the AMERICAN "Copyright law" everywhere the GPL license is agreed upon, or does it rely on the local "copyright law" of the author of the GPLed program? If the later is the answer, then it would have very important consequences, as the American copyright law is actually an exception in the world (actually all anglo-saxon copyright law). For instance, in Europe we have a very different system. And in our systems, "inspired work" is punishable.
The GPL was written against the background of American copyright law, but has been found to be enforcable in Europe, which shouldn't be too surprising due to things like the Berne convention.

I believe your claim for "inspired works" is not relevant for computer software, see for example:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/Lex ... 50:EN:HTML
2. Protection in accordance with this Directive shall apply to the expression in any form of a computer program. Ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright under this Directive.
It's a bit hard to track which directive is implemented in which country, but in any case, you can clearly see that the intention in Europe is to make this NOT illegal.
It appears that I teach my students about this very law, and that you made a little misunderstanding, Gian-Carlo :)

Here, "copyrights" is synonymic of "litterary intellectual property", and must not be confused with the more general american "copyright law", this is why the 1st article details the notion : "copyrights, as literary works". Just an example so you see how different the "copyright law" quoted here is very different from the American copyright law : the Berne convention is quite old by our standards (end of the 19th century) and it was a first attempt to unify the various copyright laws. But the USA obtained to keep a quite different one. For instance, in our European copyright laws we aknowledge our authors both moral and patrimonial rights, while the moral rights just doesn't exist in the USA. One typical moral right is the right for an author to not have his work damaged : for instance, in Europe, the author of a book will always be able to keep an eye on the way a film-maker that bought the rights to adapt it will do it. In the US you can't, and sometimes your masterpiece will be butchered by Hollywood. Another difference between our systems and the American one is that in Europe you don't need to publish or register your work to get it protected by the law : it is protected as soon as you create it. In the USA, you must registered it (hence the " (c) with a registering number).

Both systems have their logics and plus/minus sides. But they DO are different. Still today.

Now, regarding the copyright laws for computer programs, in Europe, things are a bit different as, since the 80ies, most European countries (and this 1991 european directive tells the same story) that moral rights don't apply with computer program (UNLESS stipulated otherwise : so you can still ask in your distribution contract to keep your moral rights... good luck to find a distributor :) ).

Oups, ther I go.... lecturing again... don't start me! ^^
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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by JuLieN » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:33 pm

hgm wrote:
JuLieN wrote:I need your expertise of the GPL to understand something, Harm Geert : does the GPL implies the use of the AMERICAN "Copyright law" everywhere the GPL license is agreed upon, or does it rely on the local "copyright law" of the author of the GPLed program? If the later is the answer, then it would have very important consequences, as the American copyright law is actually an exception in the world (actually all anglo-saxon copyright law). For instance, in Europe we have a very different system. And in our systems, "inspired work" is punishable.
It does not seem to refer to any specific country of residence. But I am not sure if it would make sense if it did:

If laws in countries differ, I guess you have to obey the laws of the country where you act. I.e., if I would live in a country that did not recognize ownership of music, or where such ownership expired after 5 years, and I would start burning my own Rolling Stones CDs and selling them there, I don't think there is anything the Rolling Stones could do to stop me. Even though they live in a country that does recognize the music as their intellectualproperty. They probably could stop me from exporting the bootlegged CDs to countries that do recognize ownership of music. I don't think they could ask for my extradition based on that what I am doing here would be a violation of the laws of the country where they live.

So I guess that in a country where copyrights apply to a broader class of derivative than in the U.S., you could try to enforce the conditions specified in the GPL also to derivatives that fall in such a class. So in theory it could be that spreading Rybka would require permission from the Fabien in France, but not in the U.S., and that the GPL does not automatcally grant this permission. (As the source is not included.) Of course this would not really put Vas, or the company marketing Rybka in trouble, as they are not based in France. IMO the most that could come from it is that Rybka could no longer be imported to France. Punative damages seem out of the question, in this case, as those importing Rybka so far acted in good faith.
Then this last paragraph makes sense to the jurist I am, Harm Geert. :) Note that any individual or company from different countries can agree to get their contract ruled by another country's law (providing that this country is related to one of the contractors or to the business involved in the contract... though most of the time it will be the country where the business takes place...): but then it will be stipulated in the contract. If the GPL says NOTHING about that then it probably implies that it will be the author's local copyright law that will get involved. And that only makes me agree even more with all doctrinal articles I read that said that most free software licenses have nearly no legal strength.

Something I'd like to add is that it seems to me that the GPL looks very close to the "donation" contract and, at least in France, the judges tend to be very protective to the person who donates, as it is a free move from the heart made for no compensation. What I mean is that the person who GPLed a program should get a very good ear from the judge.
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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by Houdini » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:52 pm

Tord Romstad wrote:My good friend Fabien Letouzey, author of Fruit, asked me to post the following message for him:
Is there a particular reason for Fabien not posting this message himself?
The best advice for Fabien would be to settle this matter directly with Vas Rajlich, chess forums are hardly the right place to resolve this kind of issue.

Robert

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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by tomgdrums » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:53 pm

Gino Figlio wrote:
tomgdrums wrote:
Gino Figlio wrote:
tomgdrums wrote:Well, it looks like I am going to have to delete Rybka 3 and Rybka 4 from my computer. I am not being facetious either.

On principle I have stayed away from the Ipps and Houdini and now to stay principled I am not going to be able to continue using Rybka.

Makes me sad, but that is the way it is.

(it actually makes me a little angry as well since I paid for Rybka...I wonder if I can get my money back?)
I am not sure why you would do something like that. The potential problem is between the real author and the one that stole code. Neither one of them get anything out of your suggested actions.
It has nothing to do with what either author gets or doesn't get from my actions. It is about being consistent in my actions and thoughts. Period.
It's hard to build consistent thoughts about complex issues in the absence of facts and in such a short amount of time. Congratulations, I could not do that so quickly.
It is actually not hard at all. We like to use the murkiness of the internet to say things are unclear etc. etc. (which is why the illegal downloading of music and books etc. is so hard to fight) The thing is that downloading illegal copies of music, books and software isn't murky. It is wrong.

If an engine has enough doubt cast upon it by people who are in the know than in my mind I will stay away from it until I know it is ethically sound to use it. I would rather err on the side of caution than just have a new strong engine in my collection.

The reason it becomes difficult for some people is that they are weighing their own desires over the need for clarity.

SO with that being said I have held to not owning or using any of the questionable engines. AND NOW with Rybka being in serious question (and the fact that it was also commercial )I am lead to the unfortunate action of having to delete Rybka(s) from my computer. If I don't, I am a hypocrite! I must put consistency over my own desires to play with the toys I purchased.

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Re: Fabien's open letter to the community

Post by JuLieN » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:59 pm

hgm wrote: It does not seem to refer to any specific country of residence.
I just checked on GNU's website to get a definitive answer, as a good debate can only take place on a solid ground, and got the confirmation that it's the local copyright law that matters :

Code: Select all

How do I get a copyright on my program in order to release it under the GPL?
Under the Berne Convention, everything written is automatically copyrighted from whenever it is put in fixed form. So you don't have to do anything to “get” the copyright on what you write—as long as nobody else can claim to own your work.

However, registering the copyright in the US is a very good idea. It will give you more clout in dealing with an infringer in the US.
Source : http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.htm ... tCopyright

There's something funny with the way this answer is written : it seems to imply that the USA gave up their exception of registration. It would be interesting if someone who knows the american copyright law well enough could enlighten us on that matter.
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