SL Copyright / Discussion

Sub-page of SLCopyright

Table of contents

Possible license update?

Hello, I'm not sure where you folks do new topics on top or on bottom, but the Open Content License / OPL is really quite dated. It's a free license, but it's TECHNICALLY not compatible with cc-by-sa, which is what everyone else uses nowadays, although it's so close that it feels like a needless nitpick. Any thoughts on possibly re-licensing the entire wiki under cc-by-sa (Creative Commons Attribution / Share-Alike) at [ext] ? It'd make it far more usable elsewhere...

Herman: Although I think cc-by-sa would be a better choice now, I do not think it is possible to legally change the license on existing material. The original authors, by publishing on SL, released their writing under the current license, and I think that, legally speaking, changing that license to a license that is not 100% compatible would require their consent.

Arno: I agree with Herman here. It's legally not possible. SL was created before CC, even before GFDL and Wikipedia. OPL was the only in game in town and there's no "upgrade path", because I didn't include a provision along the lines of "or any license I'll choose in the future". So SL is locked into OPL.

SL Copyright and AGA eJournal (from Getting Beyond Shodan)

PeterHB: willemien, I've removed the article text you added on 2009-02-22. My reason is I'm not sure if publishing it here at SL matches the requirements of SL Copyright. Please realize I could easily be wrong, but wanted to err on the side of caution, rather than offending the apparent copyright holder, James Kerwin. I'm happy for it to come back once someone assures me I've misunderstood the situation.

willemien I don't think the AGA would have any problems, the end of the news letter says:

Published by the American Go Association; text material published in the AMERICAN GO E JOURNAL may be reproduced by any recipient: please credit the AGEJ as the source. PLEASE NOTE that commented game record files MAY NOT BE published, re-distributed, or made available on the web without the explicit written permission of the Editor of the E-Journal. Please direct inquiries to (earlier 7x7 Article By J Davies I did ask the AGA for an article from their journal and for permission to add it to Sl and did get it)

Also I posted it here because a link to this page allready exsisted and i liked the article (although I am far from a shodan)

I don't know how it influences the copyright of SL

copyright question w.r.t. (deep) linking

tderz Can giving the address information of these links

be a breach of copyright?

  • i) just giving the alphanumerical information
    • i-1) adding brackets and therewith establishing a link (would this be a so-called "deep link"?)
    • i-ii) the objected information was given full credit (the link was visibly stating and rather short (4 sentences). However, shortness is relative as it was 50-90% of the information on Gobase.

Does anyone have sound legal information (not just ad-hoc, instant-dogmatic layman opinions, as we all have) on "deep linking" w.r.t. copyright? K-F Lenz for example? [100]

The question arose after editing YamabeToshiro on Senseis. A picture link to Gobase + 4 sentences of the information on Yamabe were added, while giving credit via the link (address visible).
(Quite likely the previous information stems from Gobase too).

History phpwiki:?diff=YamabeToshiro&new=11&mode=stddiff phpwiki:?diff=YamabeToshiro&new=11&old=9&mode=diffinpage

  • What is our policy on Senseis?
  • Do we have one,
  • do we want one,
  • do we need one?

Only the last question is directly related to law and legal consequences. It is helpful to get a picture on the legal situation first. Any IP law (copyright) professionals around?

Good, practical, starting info:
[ext] 10 common misconceptions of copyright

A bad joke:
[ext] <The absurdity of copyright> Dr.Godfried-Willem RAES

Morten (Without wanting to be be an expert on copyright issues :-):

  1. We have tried on SL to foster the idea that even though you may be legally entitled to do something, you should not necessarily do so. In particular, we should refocus the discussion of copyright from what we are allowed to do (under a given jurisdiction, which instantly makes any clear-cut definition nonsense on the internet) to what we should do. (Of course, we should not do what we are not allowed to do...)
  2. Hence, please do not 'squeeze' your rights to the full, even if you may have them. The Go community has too few original content producers and we should go out of our way to make their life easy...
  3. On the issue of 'deep linking', I believe that there is considerable debate in legal circles, and SL is probably not a suitable setting for such debate. However, I know that some of our contributors specialise in closely related fields - it would may be useful if they could provide a 'current consensus' if there is such a thing.
  4. (BTW, to my knowledge: If copyright is breached, then an attribution (or credit) is irrelevant, unless such attribution or credit is in line with the rights granted to the 'poster' by the copyright holder.)

RobertJasiek: If I use the Sandbox to create PNGs of go diagrams, and save them to my harddisk, are the PNGs then in public domain, i.e. may I use them for uploading them to, say, Wikipedia?

DougRidgway My take: making a PNG from a diagram is purely mechanical conversion, without creativity, so the copyright in the PNG would be the same as the original diagram. If the original diagram is okay for uploading to Wikipedia (eg. it's PD or you created it), then the PNG is too.

discussion from Sakauchi Junei (which in fact misread the Japanese name)

John Fairbairn: Charles Matthews has been open about filleting the GoGoD Names Dictionary for names entries on SL. I wonder, though, whether it would not be inappropriate to ask for the source to be mentioned either more prominently or more often. If that is impossible then maybe SL readers should be expected to buy their own copy. But more important than that, I wish to signal that lack of comment from me so far does not imply that I allow or expect anyone else to use the Names Dictionary in an unreasonable way, and that includes getting the information via SL. Charles is and remains a special case.

Arno: I'm not sure I fully understand what you are saying, John. From above, I reckon that Charles got many entries for pro pages on SL from GoGoD, correct? And that you feel that the source should be mentioned in return (fair enough from my perspective). You also imply that not everyone is allowed to use GoGoD information that way - fair enough as well.

But I cannot understand the part: "and that includes getting the information via SL". SL publishes its content under the OpenContent License - see SLCopyright. Therefore content on SL can be used, copied, modified, etc. according to the terms of that license. And if someone does e.g. a compilation of all pro pages on SL, makes a book, and starts to sell it, I won't (and according to the OpenContent Licence cannot) act against this (as long as the book is OC as well).

All that can be argued is whether SL had the right to publish the content on its webpages in the first place. If that is not so we should remove all pages which you feel infringe your copyright. Notwithstanding that it can be argued whether birth and death dates can be copyrighted at all. Charles, maybe you can also clarify the situation a bit?

Charles Matthews It is roughly as Arno says - I in fact have used a paper version of John's Dictionary of Go Names, which John gave me at one point. It is the source for the biographies on the GoGod CD-ROM. I believe John was aware throughout, since we keep in close touch; but not perhaps of the implications of the SL license. I wrote to John today about my intentions as far as acknowledging the source on Names in Go goes. There is a huge amount of extra information in John's work; I'd hope all I had done at any point was to whet the appetite of those who enjoy this sort of scholarship.

Dieter: In view of the comments below, I prefer not to "stick my head in the sand" as they say in Dutch. I finally decided to edit the capturing race theory. I hereby swear that I edited all pages from memory and insight, admitting that I gained the insight from reading Richard Hunter's articles on counting liberties. The structure is somewhat different. The diagrams are all mine, or copied from game situations. I avoided the favourite/underdog terminology Richard has used. I hope this way SLCopyright policy is not violated: the only thing I have taken over from him is the insight to classify fights according to what kind of eye (if any) the involved groups have.

Charles I corresponded with Richard about this about two years ago. I doubt he would have a problem with what's now here on SL. The ideas are very old - one of Richard's sources was Segoe's Semeai to nakade which has some of the typical positions, but with a less systematic exposition.

discussion before SL Copyright update 2002

After the discussion below this line, SLCopyRight was updated in September 2002. Please add new items above this line.

Dieter: If Scartol and TheDullBlade have adapted existing articles about Go adding their own thoughts and diagrams, I see no reason why their content should be removed and not e.g. almost everything we have been writing about LifeAndDeath[1]. JamesDavies' book has been a great source of information. I have added many diagrams of my own and have been commenting other diagrams without looking at the book. However, I have also copied diagrams from the book for the simple reason that if you change one stone you change the issue or else the change would be a ridiculous attempt to avoid copyright issues.

Where we use the name RabbittySix[2] we give credit to Davies. However I don't think we ever asked Davies' permission and frankly I am not inclined to do so. The reason is that people who make their living by producing Go material are likely to be unsympathetic to the idea of any Go material be freely published on the net, let alone material related to what they are writing about. Maybe Davies will be an exception, he probably is a very nice guy, but what will we do if he has a look at SL and decides that several pages are plagiarism.

(If need be it could always go back to Flowery Six, the Japanese name for it.--TimBrent).

AAMOF, it happened when we negotiated with RichardHunter about CountingLiberties. I'm dying to put his ideas on SL but we asked him and he kindly refused because he is going to present the material in a new book coming out soon. Personally I think this is unfair: although he is the one who was so lucid to make that particular analysis of liberties and running fights, I consider it to be a marvelous discovery rather than an invention. We should be entitled to present these ideas on SL because they are as valid as the bulky five.[3]

Besides, Morten, I think the relevance of any article to the nature of game is key to the copyright discussion, so not wanting to argue about it is pointless.

Morten: Sorry, you lost me here...?


Aha! So you were the one blocking my attempt to save... Well, here are my parallel thoughts anyway. Good thing too we seem to disagree for a change!

Stefan: If material exists elsewhere, in whatever form, it shouldn't be copied here. The library does not need to function as a repository only - it can serve its purpose through referencing as well. The motivated student will learn from the connections between various parts and concepts in the library, and can follow the reference (order the book, contact an author,...) if she wants to dig deeper. (NB: Can someone, ANYONE, get me a copy of "Enclosure Joseki", PLEASE? I'm willing to pay for it if it's in a decent state.)

Dieter already mentioned Counting Liberties. Richard didn't like the idea, hence the SL material is limited to a reference. I was disappointed too, but I'd rather Richard feels OK and keeps writing - in the mean time, motivated students know who to bug for their immediate fix.

I feel similarly about the material I get from Matthew Macfadyen in the context of his correspondence course. I obviously won't copy it (it explicitly carries a copyright), and in most cases I also won't rewrite his ideas with new text or diagrams. If Matthew thinks it belongs here, he'll add it himself one day (or ask somebody to do it for him, as John Fairbairn has done on occasion).

This is a fine line, and I think we should draw it a bit further than the strictly legal one. The lithmus test is, as MortArno mentioned, to make sure that Richard and Matthew feel good about this site. We want them to keep writing stuff, after all. :-) The few good non-oriental go writers will not be motivated if the fruits of their labor appear on SL 24 hours after they hit the press, their website or whatever.

As a practical guideline, we may suggest that contributions are OK if they are:

  • novel and original - Taking a diagram out of a book for further discussion is OK. Taking a chapter out is not.
  • OR
  • in the public domain - The taisha is in the public domain. "Counting liberties" is not [4]. The classification of standard life and death shapes is handled by different authors, so it has a place here. It supersedes Davies' book alone. Reproduction of his text is still not OK though.

Over time more and more ideas will be "commoditized" into the public domain. At that point it will be possible to expand their section here without disrupting peaceful co-existence with other sources of English language go material.

And as a final thought - would there be merit in organising a deliberate effort to contact the well known names, ask them whether they want to make something available here and offer them a hand? Some of them already do publish for no other reward than promoting the game, right?

[4] To put it naughtily: if SL publishes the methods of counting liberties, it will belong to the public domain and as such SL is entitled to publish it. This is self-fulfilling. I know that patents expire but for Go I'd stick to Arno's statement that methods aren't copyrightable. --Dieter

It's not self-fulfilling. Your logic is flawed: it's like stating that you haven't murdered a person, because he was dead after the act. My criterion above applies to items that are in the public domain, not items that will be.

Poor analogy, sorry. Killing a dead person is quite meaningless. What I mean is: when does a subject belong to the public domain according to you ? If people start talking aboout it and use it on SL, RGG and the likes, it will become public. But we can't because it doesn't belong to the public domain ! That's why I call it self-fulfilling.

Quite meaningless indeed - that's why it's a good analogy. There is a difference between *being* in the public domain and *getting/evolving* in the public domain, which you don't seem to be willing to make. I partially see where you're coming from - I realise that somebody somewhere will have to act against my proposed code of conduct for the evolution to happen. But I propose this code of conduct for SL alone, not for "RGG and the likes". So the solution to the apparent paradox (which isn't one) is: SL doesn't participate in the act (thus avoiding cheesing off anybody). RGG and the others take care of themselves - the pros and cons of posting a PDF of "Life and Death" on RGG falls outside of this debate, as it won't get Morten and Arno in trouble.

To your question when I consider an item to be in the public domain: when there are multiple sources of the core ideas. In the case of Counting Liberties, I only know of Hunter. If I knew multiple sources, I would have written about it here already. Nobody could 'claim' the idea, in that event, and be cheesed off about it. In the case of joseki, L&D,... I know of various sources, so they are not claimable by one party. I do realise that caring about this 'claimability' is a SL goodwill issue, not a legal/copyright issue. In that respect, I don't disagree with the view that methods aren't copyrightable. I propose to keep them off to keep Richard happy. Or to return the question: if we all agree it's not illegal, why don't you write about CL?

From a pragmatic point of view, you could choose to start a worldwide promotion campaign of Counting Liberties on RGG, your personal website, ... and thus help create the treasured multiple sources that I need. "Pragmatic but silly", you may reply. "Fair point", I'll concede.

Morten: I should think that it is the idea or concept which becomes 'public property' and not the original text (As metnioned by Doug below). This is similar to being inspired by an idea and doing something original with it. There is nothing to stop us from writing what we think about e.g. CountingLiberties or even explaining, in our own words, how we do it.
On the same note, e.g. TenCommandmentsOfHandicapGo could have been (still can be) made into an original page if someone had just taken e.g. the headings (or essence thereof) and written the text for the sections based on their own interpretation/understanding.
Dieters comment above regarding adding their own thoughts and diagrams hits the nail on the head in that respect.

I know this begins to feel like pulling wings of flies, but I hope this clarifies. It's pretty much a given that we won't put copyrightable material on SL - that would be a criminal act. The question to me is: do we or do we not post material that is free from a legal point of view, but in danger of hurting some people's view of SL?

Morten: Yes, this is the point we are trying to make. Apart from whether or not you (think you) are legally entitled to behave a certain way does not mean that you always should.
As it happens, I am also of the opinion that we do not have this legal right in these cases, but that is really not the main issue, as far as I am concerned.


[1]: If you have a look at the TenCommandmentsOfHandicapGo you will see that it was a 1:1 copy of Terry's article. Not ok, by any standards. About DeepThoughts: quotes from TV series are ok. However, I suspect that the quotes are a 1:1 copy of a DeepThought book (which has quotes from the TV series). And that is not ok.

[2]: RabbitySix is not a trademark, so I think it is fair to use the term. About board positions in general: I don't think that any diagram (just the diagram alone) is copyrightable. However, the text/analysis/comments etc. are copyrightable.

[3]: I don't know enough to judge the issue regarding CountingLiberties, however I agree with you on this one. Methods (such as counting liberties to see who wins a fight) are not (should not be?) copyrightrightable. OTOH, we don't want to upset Richard, and if he has put the material for everyone to read up on the web we can lnk to it. Good enough for me. (But he has not --Dieter)

Why are we (Morten and I) insisting on this? With pages like TenCommandmentsOfHandicapGo and DeepThoughts we are distributing content that (most likely) violates copyright law. About the Hikaru anime: we link to content which quite possibily violates law, but we don't redistribute it. My stance is that linking cannot be illegal (courts have a different opinion on this matter). However, our host has serious concerns. And in France (where our host resides) copyright violation is not to be taken lightly. They shut down a whole ISP due to cp violation.

I hope you understand our concerns.

Following on from DeepThoughts:

Morten: Without wanting to argue with you regarding the relevance of Secret Art of Go? ;^), I am afraid that this page seems to be a straight copy (some might say 'rip-off') of copyrighted material. This would not be according to the intentions stated on SLCopyRight. I would therefore ask you to either change the contents of this page so that the contents are original (although they may well be inspired by someone) or obtain permission from the copyrightholder, or remove the copyrighted material. Sorry to be a spoilsport.

TheDullBlade: Hmm... I have been operating under the assumption that this was fair use. Look at it this way: we are using short quotations from SNL episodes for the purpose of humorously illustrating go gameplay principles and cultural items, in a non-commercial, educational resource, and in a way that is more likely to increase demand for the original copyrighted works than to decrease it. It's your call, but are you sure you want to treat it as copyright violation?

Morten (Without wanting to go into a deep discussion of copyright issues, which I don't think any of us is qualified to do) what you say sounds 'fair' however, things are not always 'fair' :-) In general,

  • A 'good intent' does not mean that the law doesn't apply.
  • A small breach (short quotations) is still as much a breach as a large one (50 small quotations)
  • It is not anyones call in particular. The law applies to all.

Yes, sometimes educational or non-commercial organsiations may be granted the (free) use of copyrighted material, but this is not as a matter of course but after asking for it. Which is why we ask contributors to do so.

Also, and I would like to stress this, we depend on goodwill to keep this site running. Apart from not wanting to piss of other contributors in the Go-world, various people upon whom we depend may judge us differently from the way you (or I) would do.

To avoid all this potential mess, there are two easy options:

  1. Be inspired by copyrighted material but present it in an original way, OR
  2. Ask the copyrightholder

TheDullBlade: Erm... have you honestly never heard of fair use? It is a very basic feature of copyright law. In this context, "fair use" means a use exempt from copyright protection: reference by quotation, illustrative sampling, parody, reproduction for personal use, limited reproduction for educational purposes, etc.

Legalities aside: the guy writes one-liners. He expects and wants people to repeat them [5]. It spreads his fame. What he doesn't want is a million nobodies trying to contact him for permission every time they want to quote him on some obscure website. Incidentally, I doubt he knows go from pente.

Technically, this case is debatable. I think the non-commercial nature puts it firmly under fair use, but I can see how other experts on copyright would disagree, and it would perhaps make an interesting court case. However, as a practical matter, I would stake my life on the claim that no legal repercussions would ever result, because this "copyright violation" is both commonplace and benefits the author.[6]

Anyway, I've written my last edit on this site. You worry about offending contributors with your copyright policy? That cuts both ways. It's not so much the fact that you chose to delete my carefully selected and arranged work, but your patronizing and arrogant dismissal from an apparent position of utter ignorance.

Stefan: For what it's worth to you, I didn't consider their position to be 'patronizing' or 'arrogant'. I can follow you on the 'ignorance' thing, but then again that's probably why they invited this discussion in the first place, no?

Some links:

Oh, one more thing. The fully aware, considered, and intentional act of posting (or allowing) links to copyrighted material (the Hikaru No Go stuff) with the intent of facilitating violation of that copyright makes you liable for it. It's called "contributory copyright enfringement." When (informed) people say, "Linking is not copyright violation." they are generally talking about 'deep-linking': linking to specific pages when the site-owner would prefer that people only link to an "entrance page."[7]

Saying essentially, "We expect to get away with it because it's not actually on our servers." is not exactly going to help you if it ever goes to court. Relying on technicalities you don't actually understand is not a good idea. Admitting intent to do so is an even worse idea.

Stefan: This is useful perspective to the debate. This could lead us to a position where we'll start writing our own Counting Liberties pages soon, remove links to Hikaru-related downloads, and reinstate your pages provided they fall under fair use. Not everybody seems to share your opinion that they do, however.

ArnoHollosi: Dullblade, I'm sorry that you feel the way you do. We did not mean to offend you. If you can assure me that you really hand-picked the quotes yourself (i.e. not copying them from a book) I'm happy to revive the page (btw, it is still in the archive). About fair use: quotation from copyrighted works has its limits. E.g. I cannot quote two pages of a three page article claiming fair use. The number of quotes you made, may have crossed the line.

[5]: Can you point me to a authorative source where the author publically stated so?

[6]: The non-commercial nature of SL is irrelevant for questions about copyright violation. Otherwise we could start redistributing e.g. all english Go books. And only because the copyright violation is commonplace and benefits the author it still remains a copyright violation.

TheDullBlade: Commercial vs. non-commercial is usually a major factor of determining the validity of fair use. That an alleged copyright infringement is non-commercial and benefits the author is a fairly strong indication that it's not actual infringement (most counter-examples are pretty contrived). After all, that's the whole point of fair use.
A Sharper Blade: It is the commerciality of the source material or even the possessiveness of the source copyright owner that is the determining rule. It does not matter if an infringer does not gain financially. What can matter is if the owner suffers financial loss (lost sales), or perceives financial loss, or feels that they might suffer future financial loss, or wants to maintain control over the material, or just feels nasty. Many copyright owners will automatically enforce their rights so that in a future case they can legally claim that their copyright ownership is valid because they have maintained it by enforcement over a period of time, and to discourage infringers. Settled law is that the copyright owner has control and does not have to prove damages.

[7]: "Contributory copyright infringement" is currently only known in the USA under the DMCA. Not in Europe. Question is: are the anime files violating copright (if they are from a DVD the answer is most likely "yes", if they are recordings from a TV show the answer may be "no"). I resent the idea that linking is illegal. Actually we don't even link to, we just mention its name. However, if our host feels that it is too dangerous we will remove the Hikaru No Go/Archive page.

TheDullBlade: You are thinking of contributory copyright infringement by creation or distribution of a tool for such purposes in general (novel, though not restricted solely to the USA). However, that someone who knowingly and willingly suggests, encourages, and assists in copyright infringement of specific works is held responsible is as natural and common a part of copyright law as holding a person responsible for loading a gun, handing it to another man, and telling him to kill someone is a part of homicide law. I don't claim to know the laws in detail in every European country, but I would be as surprised to learn that a country had copyright but no concept of contributory infringement as I would to learn that murder was a crime but hiring assassins was legal (admittedly, that analogy suits vicarious infringement better). I don't want the Hikaru No Go links to go down any more than the next fan, but the inconsistancy just struck me.

Again: I reckon that you are feeling angry that we removed your work. But I hope you understand that we feel strongly about providing a service for Go fans. If this means that we have to delete e.g. 1% of the contributions, we will bite the bullet and offend 1% of the contributors. In the words of Miguel de Icaza: "You can now flame me, I am full of love."

TheDullBlade: That is not why I'm annoyed. If you want to play it that safe, that's your business. Similarly, if you thought it was weak humor, offensive, or off topic, fine. But if both of you are full of misconceptions about copyright, yet are so quick to jump to conclusions and smugly "correct" people, I can hardly see this as either an isolated incident or a rational policy. Besides, all this living by the letter and violating the spirit ("We are the Guardians of Copyright and Decency. Sure, you can steal his work, just rephrase it!") leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Live straight, or live crooked, but don't live slimy. Something like this would just happen again, and life is too short to waste butting heads.
I imagine that Dullblade feels angry that we have declared that (s)he is wrong (if not criminal) for putting up the pages that (s)he did. And probably offended/embarassed that this is the first time that SL maintainers have drawn that particular line. I wrote "we" above because as a reasonably steady contributor to SL over the last 1 1/2 years I feel that it is partly "my" site. At the same time I suddenly realize the very great extent to which I/we (you know who you are!) have left to Arno and Morten those minor little issues like paying for SL, dealing with the ISP, etc. There are a couple of points that I think we should consider out of what has been written above (and below for that matter):
  • Copyright and other IP issues are complex particularly as they apply to the internet todayl. No one has all the answers (or even all the questions yet).
  • SL is not a commercial site. It most likely can not afford lawyers, etc. authoritatively arbitrate this issue (Arno, Morten if you are independently wealthy speak up!). This means that the rule is probably, "When in doubt, rule it out (be conservative)!"
  • The suggestion above to contact the original author is an excellent one. Can anyone else in the SL community at large assist? Does anyone know the author of the original work or how to contact them? Who knows they may want to contribute something directly :-)
  • In the end there may be no choice but to shoot for 99%. But remember, as Sai taught Hikaru Hikaru Problem 6 / Solution 99% may be good enough but not if you aim at greatness. And aren't we all united in the desire to make Sensei's Library the greatest Go site on the web? :-)
  • Personally I think that the discussion here should turn to how to heal the rift rather than escalate into more an more of a flame war. DaveSigaty

are there any differences between the GNU FDL (free document license) and the OCL?

the OCL appears to be shorter. i mean differences in 'spirit' :)

ArnoHollosi: yes, there are. The OCL is closer to the BSD license, i.e. if you'd take the stuff of SL and make a book out of it, you are not supposed to provide the book in electronic form (BSD license: make a binary out of a BSD source code without publishing the source). The GNU FDL requires a human readable electronic copy as well (GNU distinguishes between opaque copies (ones which can't be processed automatically by computers) and other copies).

I think this is the main difference. Both make sure, that if you take content and use it that the resulting work is open/free content as well.

There has been much debate about the different kinds of freedom by Tim O'Reilly, RMS, and ESR. Search the web for it.

RafaelCaetano: Confused. Is the second paragraph consistent with the first? The first is correct: the BSD license doesn't require that derived works also be open source.

Just a few legal notes: copyright protects the _expression_ of an idea, not the idea itself. Copying the text and diagrams of Richard Hunter's books or articles violates his copyright, but reexpressing those ideas is fine. If you want to protect the idea itself [101], you need to get a patent. Under the Geneva convention, no claiming or registration of copyright is necessary: the copyright is inherent in the act of expression. Not all expressions are copyrightable: for example, in the US, noncreative works such as font designs, and material facts such as game records and game positions are not protectable. Composed go problems and positions, on the other hand, are creative, protectable works. Copyright protects an individual expression of an idea. For example, if you and I each independently write a novel, and the novels turn out to be word-for-word identical, neither of us has an infringement claim against the other. Each of us owns our own copyright to our own novel. This is farfetched for a novel, and a judge might be persuaded that someone was lying, but this could quite easily happen for a go problem. Fair use allows limited copying of copyrighted work under a fairly complicated set of restrictions. IMO, the DeepThoughts page was somewhat too derivative to fall under fair use, but this is a judgement call, not at all black and white. Public domain refers to expressions which could be subject to copyright, but are not for some reason, e.g. copyright holder has assigned work to public domain, creator has been dead for 50 years, etc. It does not apply to ideas, which are not subject to copyright in any case. --DougRidgway

SirLyric: I beg to differ on the "non-creative" status of font designs. The art of typography is a long-standing and highly-respected one, despite the fact that many excellently (and painstakingly) drawn typefaces ship with all major operating systems these days. Typeface designs, in physical or electronic form, most certainly should be protected by copyright. Unfortunately the US is one of the few countries that does not recognize copyright on fonts, for several relatively silly reasons. More information is available at [ext]

Problem collections and copyright discussion

[100] __Reply by Dr. Jur. Karl-Friedrich Lenz, Professor at the Aoyama Gakuin University, Law School in Tokyo, interested in Copyright and other IP matters.

---------- Original Message -------------

Subject: copyright question w.r.t. (deep) linking
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 11:41:15 +0200
Hallo, ein Link zu einer im Web veröffentlichten Quelle kann ja wohl
keine Verletzung des Urheberrechts an der betreffenden Quelle
sein (wohl aber eine Mitwirkung an der Verletzung der
Urheberrechte Dritter, wenn etwa Gobase das betreffende Foto
ungenehmigt irgendwo kopiert hat).

Auch wenn es urheberrechtlich unproblematisch ist, gilt es zu
Recht wohl als unangemessen, direkt auf Fotos auf den Servern
von anderen zu verlinken. Dies kostet nämlich den
betreffenden Server die Bandweite für das Foto, ohne ihm echte Leser zu vermitteln.

Ich würde es daher für gute Politik halten, derartige Linkseher zu unterlassen.
Allerdings sehe ich dafür keinen urheberrechtlichen Grund.



tderz: [ext] Links & Law:
Legal aspects of search engines, hyperlinks (surface & deep), inline links & frames - case law summary, court rulings worldwide, relevant articles about deep linking

[101] tderz: "Protect(ing) the idea itself" is not possible with patents. In those patent systems which I know best (if at all), this is explicitely excluded (in Article 52 of the EPC), [ext] Patentable inventions under the EPC, which defines the exclusions in Article 52 (2):

(1) European patents shall be granted for any inventions which are susceptible of industrial application (...)

(2) The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of paragraph 1:

(a) (...) mathematical methods;

(b) aesthetic creations;

(c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers;

(d) presentations of information.
(3) (...) as such.

I must add that this might be similar in all patent systems on the world.
In the US for example, you only can not obtain a patent, when not applying for one. The above excluded "doing business" is ok there, you even can claim marketing methods for home loans. This reminds of old times: 500 years ago some duke will have delivered you a Venetian patent (brevet; also in the sense of license) to do business.
Any problem concerning the validity of your patent is for later and food for specialised lawyers (possibly in front of some unspecialised judges, depending on the states). Ah, yes, money always plays a role. Swinging a big money bag threatens many of those with valid patents who still fear to be broke halfway any clinch in court. Render the patent or surrender, sell it or crosslicense (if you have something to offer) could be the parole of big companies.

Anyway, back to Go: even if s.o. had managed to obtain a patent on semeais and wealthy enough, any opponent would still use fearlessly the same methods (because it is difficult to create and substantiate a case here).

§ 100. Definitions

When used in this title unless the context otherwise indicates
(a) The term “invention” means invention or discovery.
(b) The term “process” means process, art or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material. (...)

§ 101. Inventions patentable
Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

I conclude in: it's in the copyright domain.

SL Copyright / Discussion last edited by hnishy on November 21, 2022 - 07:50
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