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Re: Packaging YICS

I think that you could package the software, but it wouldn't be very
useful as anyone who uses it is violating the TOS. But if you can
create a server package for it, it would have a legitimate use as a
client for a server that just happens to use the same protocols as
Yahoo does.

There may be loopholes in the TOS, but I wouldn't take too many
chances, especially not with Yahoo.


On 1/9/06, Chris Howie <cdhowie@nerdshack.com> wrote:
> I decided, as an excersize (and for the heck of it) I would package my FOSS
> project YICS (www.yics.org) for Debian.
> Basically, YICS connects to any of the free Yahoo! Chess lobbies and emulates a
> FICS server, meaning xboard, eboard, and other FICS interfaces can be used to
> play on Yahoo! Chess.  The idea is to bring the features of those interfaces
> (automatic PNG logging, customizable colors/sounds, etc) to the Yahoo! world
> There are, however, a few legal issues I wanted to bring up before I spend the
> energy packaging it.  I believe that I can refute most of the problems, but you
> might (and certainly do) know more about law than I do.
> (For those who can't figure it out, I start potentially negative sections with
> "===" and potentially positive ones with "+++".)
> === Problem 1: The Yahoo! TOS: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
> Section 17 contains this sentence:
> > You agree not to access the Service by any means other than through the
> > interface that is provided by Yahoo! for use in accessing the Service.
> Section 2 defines Service:
> > Yahoo! provides users with access to a rich collection of resources,
> > including various communications tools, forums, shopping services, search
> > services, personalized content and branded programming through its network of
> > properties which may be accessed through any various medium or device now
> > known or hereafter developed (the "Service").
> We can assume that this includes Games.
> +++ Refutation: "Interface" is not defined anywhere.  Couldn't TCP port 11999
> be considered some kind of interface to the "Service?"
> === Problem 2: Back to our friend, section 17:
> > You acknowledge and agree that the Service and any necessary software used in
> > connection with the Service ("Software") contain proprietary and confidential
> > information that is protected by applicable intellectual property and other
> > laws.
> The binary protocol is encrypted, which also brings up DMCA issues.
> +++ Refutation: Progressive XOR can hardly be considered a trade secret.  And
> the DMCA is supposed to cover *copyrighted* material, *and* allow for
> interoperability exceptions.
> === But: http://www.eff.org/IP/Emulation/Blizzard_v_bnetd/  The DMCA is, of
> course, supposed to cover copyrights, not protocols.  But bnetd did get sued.
> === Users of YICS don't see banner ads when playing either, so YICS does mean
> some lost revenue for Yahoo!.
> *HOWEVER*, and this is kind of the hinge... regardless of the legal issues
> outlined above, I have one major advantage.  I have very strong evidence that
> Yahoo! knows about my project, and I have made no effort to hide my identity --
> the program itself lists my Yahoo! ID.
> I have not heard from Yahoo! during the project's two-year life.
> An unfortunate side-effect of YICS is that it allows a computer to be directly
> hooked up to the Yahoo! Chess servers, by way of WinBoard, xboard, and other
> commercial interfaces.  Yahoo! does not forbid this, but I doubt they like it
> very much.  On the project wiki and forum I have stated in the rules that any
> kind of information pertaining to using YICS in combination with an automated
> computer are prohibited from appearing or being discussed on either.  I feel
> that it is this alone that has kept me in Yahoo!'s good graces.
> A side-effect of this side-effect is that I am contacted almost daily by
> certain key members of the Yahoo! underground world (cracking, boosting, and
> all that junk).  Several of them have had their accounts removed within months
> of registering on Yahoo!.
> So... if Yahoo! actively deletes accounts of known underground leaders and
> participants, how come my account hasn't been disabled or removed?  I can only
> assume that it's because I've tried to promote YICS as an alternative
> interface, not a cheating tool.  I haven't tried to hide from Yahoo!.
> My site doesn't use a dark color scheme like the "hacker" sites, either.
> But seriously, what do you think?
> --
> Chris Howie
> http://www.chrishowie.com
> Version: 3.1
> GCS/IT d-(--) s:- a--->? C++(+++)$> UL++++ P++++$ L+++>++++ E---
> W++ N o++ K? w--$ O M- V- PS--(---) PE++ Y+ PGP++ t+ 5? X-
> R(+)>- tv-(--) b- DI+> D++ G>+++ e>++ h(--)>--- !r>+++ y->+++
> ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------
> --
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Andrew Donnellan
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