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Re: Interesting Licensing Issue -- Crafty

On Mon, 3 May 1999, Paul Serice wrote:

> The problem is that persons other than the original author, Dr. Hyatt,
> have been entering Crafty into computer chess competitions.

And claiming that Dr. Hyatt did not write the original code?  This is
probably a violation already.  If the current license is GPL-like, these
other persons must provide source to their version, and retain the
original copyright statement.

> Can Dr. Hyatt, the original author of Crafty, restrict use of the
> program such that he is the only person who can enter the original
> program into a chess competition and still have a license that is Debian
> free?

Nope.  Free means your competitors get to use it too.  They must retain
your copyright, though.

> Can Dr. Hyatt forbid any derived works from being entered into a chess
> competition and still be Debian free?

No way.

> Professor Hyatt's main objection is that new computer chess programmers
> will be at an unfair disadvantage and will give up because it seems to
> them that everyone's new program is beating their new program.

Then the rules of the competition should be changed, not the license of a
particular entry.

The competition should require source be included with entrants (in the
"new program" category, at least), and disallow programs based on code
that has been entered in the "unlimited" category.  Beginners, of course,
should also study Dr Hyatt's program if it's beating theirs and see what
good ideas they can reuse.

> My sense of "right" tells me that Professor Hyatt's restrictions are
> fair and reasonable.

"Fair and reasonable" is in the eye of the beholder.  Many believe that
Microsoft's restrictions are fair and reasonable.  It's certainly his
legal right to restrict the use of his work, but he must recognize that he
has now declared that he values control over his work more than he
values intellectual freedom.

> 6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
> I'm just including this paragraph so I can so that it is off point.  A
> chess tournament is not a "field of endeavor." 

"Chess tournament" is definitely a field of endeavor. 

>Second, this restriction is simply in place to prevent unethical persons
>from defrauding the chess tournaments, and I have to believe the DFSG 
>allows licenses that prohibit fraud.

The contest rules should prohibit fraud.  Use those rules, not the
software license, to combat this problem.

Note that someone who is willing to lie about the origin of the code is
ignoring your license ANYWAY, so changing the license doesn't help.  The
only thing that a license change does is to make the software non-free to
ethical users of the software.

In fact, if they've removed the copyright notices, they've likely
committed a crime.  You can combat their dishonest actions as easily under
a current GPL license as you will be able to with your new non-free
Mark Rafn    dagon@halcyon.com    <http://www.halcyon.com/dagon/>   !G

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