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Simplified Meckwell Precision system (for students

#41 User is offline   bluecalm 

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Posted 2009-December-17, 13:49

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Agree - this would be a very bad idea. My point is that, as long as "publishing your own system notes" is not mandated by the rules, it is wrong for other people to publish your system notes without your blessing.


I agree with that in case you were given those system notes and publish it.
I think that reverse engineering and analyzing hands from public vugraphs are fair game though.
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#42 User is offline   xcurt 

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Posted 2009-December-17, 18:05

fred, on Dec 17 2009, 11:31 AM, said:

I completely disagree with those who claim that the lack of copyright on certain material is sufficient justification for doing whatever they want with that material.

Just because something is legal, does not mean that it is right.

Consider the case of a newspaper bridge columnist who carefully constructs a beautiful deal for his column. Like bidding systems, bridge deals are also not subject to copyright law, but how would you feel if you were the columnist in question and saw "your hand" appear in other authors' newspaper columns (perhaps with the suits switched around to make it look original)?

It would not matter if you received attribution or not (you can bet you would not in the bridge column case) - this is not about ego.


I think you are using a false analogy. In the newspaper column case:

* the original deal is not a fact (it wasn't dealt in a bridge tournament), it's a literary or artistic work
* presumably it was published by a publishing house that takes the proper steps to protect their copyrights
* even if there is no legal copyright on the hypothetical bridge deal, the second author, who in your example did not contribute anything new, is presumably violating the ethical and journalistic standards of their own publication and would normally be disciplined (more likely, fired) for doing so

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Many top players and teachers try to be protective of the bidding systems that they create because they have invested a lot of time and effort in the development of such systems and because they believe that such systems give them a competitive advantage (which in some cases helps to ensure that they are able to make a living). Of course such people recognize that bridge is a game of full disclosure, but that has nothing to do with these people not approving of those who reverse engineer and then publicly distribute their creations without their approval.



This paragraph attemps to draw a parallel between a literary or artistic work (the bridge deal) and an invention (the Meckwell Lite bidding system, let's ignore whether this invention is actually patentable for a moment). However, the legal framework governing these two types of intellectual property are different.

* As a third party, I am not allowed to reproduce the copyrighted work, but I may produce derivative works. An example would be if I took a published
deal (ignore the fact that this deal is actually a fact, for a moment) that has a cook and modified it to make it more interesting I would be within my rights to republish.
* As a third party, I am not allowed to use patented work unless I have a license from the owner of the patent. However, I am allowed to make further improvements and patent those improvements myself. Obtaining patent rights requires that the original inventor disclose the new know-how.

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My personal take on this is that, if you want to reverse engineer a bidding system and then use it in your own partnerships that is one thing, but to publicly distribute the notes of such a system without first seeking the approval of the original system author is profoundly disrespectful.

IMO what copyright law has to say about this doesn't matter - it is simply wrong.

Fred Gitelman
Bridge Base Inc.
www.bridgebase.com


I hope you are asserting that redistributing the original notes is wrong. If so, I agree with you (and redistribution probably runs afoul of copyright too). If, for example, you left your notes under my table at a NABC I would either return them or destroy them. On the other hand, if I played a Spingold match against you and noticed that, say, you had a really good defense to NT that nobody else was playing, I think I'm totally within my rights to figure out the method and republish it. If I reverse engineer Meckwell Precision 2009 and I want to write a book about it, all I have done is do something useful from knowledge that is in the public domain. jjbrr is different -- he accepted notes from a Meckstroth -- and if I were in that position I wouldn't feel free to publicly disclose anything related to R/M precision, and maybe to strong club bidding systems generally. I wouldn't publish even if I felt that there was no legal prohibition on me doing so, generally for the reasons you cite. Regarding the OP (stjk) I don't know where these notes came from, but I assume he is untainted unless someone produces information to the contrary.

Finally, a comment. This is how intellectual property works -- if you want the benefits of public use (such as winning bridge tournaments) or disclosure (any of the bridge articles you've published, which presumably help you get sponsorships, better partners, ..., these are analogous to me giving a talk at a conference), you also accept that you can't always control what happens to your creative work.
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#43 User is offline   fred 

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Posted 2009-December-17, 18:38

xcurt, on Dec 18 2009, 12:05 AM, said:

even if there is no legal copyright on the hypothetical bridge deal, the second author, who in your example did not contribute anything new, is presumably violating the ethical and journalistic standards of their own publication and would normally be disciplined (more likely, fired) for doing so

Actually in the real world of bridge writing, this goes on all the time and I have never heard of a bridge author who got punished in any way for engaging in this practice.

I am glad you mentioned the word "ethical" because to me that is really what this is all about. No offense intended, but most of your post sounds like it came from a lawyer. That fine of course, but for me at least, in this case the ethical considerations win out regardless of what the legal considerations happen to be.

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I hope you are asserting that redistributing the original notes is wrong.


Yes, that is what I was asserting. Sorry my post was not clear about this - I should not have made any references to "reverse engineering".

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Finally, a comment.  This is how intellectual property works  -- if you want the benefits of public use (such as winning bridge tournaments) or disclosure (any of the bridge articles you've published, which presumably help you get sponsorships, better partners, ..., these are analogous to me giving a talk at a conference), you also accept that you can't always control what happens to your creative work.


Maybe I have to live with the fact that other people will do this to me, but for me that does not justify doing the same thing to other people. Needless to say, I also do not find "because it is legal" to be sufficient justification.

Fred Gitelman
Bridge Base Inc.
www.bridgebase.com

#44 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2009-December-17, 19:00

I often disagree with Fred about systems, however on this point I totally concur. I don't think you can stop anyone reverse engineering a system and playing it himself. However to publish a system that a pair has spent hundreds, (thousands in Meckwell's case), of hours in developing without their permission really is lacking in ethics.
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#45 User is offline   xcurt 

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Posted 2009-December-17, 19:19

fred, on Dec 17 2009, 07:38 PM, said:

xcurt, on Dec 18 2009, 12:05 AM, said:

...

Actually in the real world of bridge writing, this goes on all the time and I have never heard of a bridge author who got punished in any way for engaging in this practice.


I should have added "presuming he got caught" (and maybe presuming an original author made some noise out of it).

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I am glad you mentioned the word "ethical" because to me that is really what this is all about. No offense intended, but most of your post sounds like it came from a lawyer. That fine of course, but for me at least, in this case the ethical considerations win out regardless of what the legal considerations happen to be.


I'm not a lawyer, but I have created a fair amount of intellectual property (patents and trade secrets).

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Finally, a comment.  This is how intellectual property works  -- if you want the benefits of public use (such as winning bridge tournaments) or disclosure (any of the bridge articles you've published, which presumably help you get sponsorships, better partners, ..., these are analogous to me giving a talk at a conference), you also accept that you can't always control what happens to your creative work.


Maybe I have to live with the fact that other people will do this to me, but for me that does not justify doing the same thing to other people. Needless to say, I also do not find "because it is legal" to be sufficient justification.


As someone who created IP, ethical and legal conduct is just as important to me. I think it's doubly so at the bridge table (and by extension, in the bridge sphere) because the rules that proscribe conduct in the bridge sphere tend to presume everyone will act according to the same. For example

* I get UI through some action of my partner, and I take advantage of it. The procedure presumes I did not deliberately try to take advantage of the UI, it merely tries to restore equity. In the public sphere, the legal procedures include an element of deterrence. Ergo, a sufficiently skilled unethical player could exploit UI for their own benefit.
* I think some opponents have a concealed partnership understanding. I am not allowed to approach you at a tournament and say publicly "I think Player X is cheating."

But in trying to understand the rights and obligations that go with using third party IP I don't think you can separate moral and ethical considerations from legal ones. The two inform each other. And to the extent that the system we have in place promotes the sharing and bettering of human knowledge, I think it's a pretty good system.

Curt
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#46 User is offline   TimG 

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Posted 2009-December-17, 19:53

I haven't read everything in this thread, but it seems to me that system notes can be copyrighted while the methods themselves cannot be owned. Sort of in the same way that an article about a baseball game can be copyrighted, but there is nothing to prevent an individual from watching the game and writing his own account. Or, from watching a hitter's technique and then using it himself or selling it to others through paid instruction.

I don't see anything wrong with people observing Meckstroth-Rodwell in action and then using the methods they've learned through observation or even writing articles on the methods they've observed and selling those articles.

Tim
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#47 User is offline   xcurt 

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Posted 2009-December-17, 19:55

One more thought and then I'll leave it. If someone were to reverse engineer Meckwell Precision and publish it, Meckwell would still have the advantages of

* their understanding of the bidding system and their experience with it
* their partnership
* their superior card play

None of these are embodied in their system notes. Of course, if someone did publish their system, they would lose (some of the) potential revenue from any book they might publish in the future, but in that case I think they are trying to have their cake and eat it too.
"It is not enough to be a good player. You must also play well." -- Tarrasch
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#48 User is offline   EricK 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 00:45

Why doesn't "Full Discolosure" imply that all players must make available their complete understanding of their own bidding system?

I thought that the "powers that be" didn't approve of people trying to win through other's unfamiliarity with their methods.
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#49 User is offline   jonottawa 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 03:03

EricK, on Dec 18 2009, 06:45 AM, said:

Why doesn't "Full Discolosure" imply that all players must make available their complete understanding of their own bidding system?

I thought that the "powers that be" didn't approve of people trying to win through other's unfamiliarity with their methods.

Because familiarizing yourself with your opponents' methods would be rilly rilly disrespectful, or something like that. And as long as your opponents pinkie promise that they 'believe that their systems give them a competitive advantage' it's okay if they don't tell you what they're playing because they have like families to feed and stuff.
Of course, there is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists. But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that would not be America. ~ Russ Feingold
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#50 User is offline   rbforster 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 03:04

EricK, on Dec 18 2009, 01:45 AM, said:

Why doesn't "Full Discolosure" imply that all players must make available their complete understanding of their own bidding system?

I thought that the "powers that be" didn't approve of people trying to win through other's unfamiliarity with their methods.

I'm with you 100% on that. However, just because that full disclosure is the intention, many pairs try to gain an (unfair?) advantage by revealing as little as is required about what their bids mean, what negative systems inferences may be available, etc, even when prompted.

This whole tangent on posting systems notes basically comes down to some people trying to maintain an advantage through secrecy that they shouldn't be entitled to under the rules. Of course they can hope people don't learn and/or remember their bidding system from playing against it, but they should have no expectation of this.
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#51 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 04:47

Full disclosure doesn't mean you have to post every method you use up front, you just have to give opps the same information you have during the auction. As much as I'd like every strong pair to post their entire system and competitive agreements, there's just no reason to do it.
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#52 User is offline   bluecalm 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 06:43

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This whole tangent on posting systems notes basically comes down to some people trying to maintain an advantage through secrecy that they shouldn't be entitled to under the rules. Of course they can hope people don't learn and/or remember their bidding system from playing against it, but they should have no expectation of this.


I agree with that to some extent. I think Meckwell shouldn't really be accused of doing that though. They have one of only two really good and useful convention cards among all top pairs (other is Zia - Rosenberg).
If you download cc of Italians (Duboin - Sementa is the worse) or polish pairs (Jassem - Martens has basically nothing in cc) or most of cc's of top pairs for that matter you will see that Meckwell really try to make their methods clear for the opponents.
I think that in international play there should be some forms to complete for every pair. The form would consist of many standard bidding situations and some general style questions. This is the basic step. Requiring Meckwell to publish their notes while you can't even know if Duboin Sementa plays blackwood or turbo in slam bidding is not fair imo.
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#53 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 07:38

The following is somewhat touchy / feely. I'm not claiming that its morally sound, logically coherent, or a even a valid representation of copyright law. However, the idstinction somehow feels important to me.

As I understand matter, copyright law makes a distinction between statistics and commentary. You can't copyright basic statistics like the number of runs scored or strikeouts in an inning. You can copyright commentary - the verbiage that is used to describing this information. You can also protect a (nonobvious) way in which a set of information is formatted. Last, but not least, you can protect a collection of data if you have invested significant time/effort assembling the information. (The obvious example here is a phonebook. Phonebooks contain raw facts, however, the phone companies have invested significant amounts of money assembling this data. You can't go and copy this information and release a competing product. The phone companies actually embed fake information in the phone book to use in these sorts of cases)

To me, the important analogies are the following:

Any copy of system notes that originated with Meckwell shouldn't be distributed. This would be analagous to distributing a copy of the phonebook.

I don't see anything wrong with trying to reverse engineer Meckwell's agreements based on publically available information. (Hand recods + convention cards). This seems much more equivalent to raw baseball statistics or chess games.
Alderaan delenda est
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#54 User is offline   stjk 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 08:30

fred, on Dec 17 2009, 07:38 PM, said:

xcurt, on Dec 18 2009, 12:05 AM, said:

even if there is no legal copyright on the hypothetical bridge deal, the second author, who in your example did not contribute anything new, is presumably violating the ethical and journalistic standards of their own publication and would normally be disciplined (more likely, fired) for doing so

Actually in the real world of bridge writing, this goes on all the time and I have never heard of a bridge author who got punished in any way for engaging in this practice.

I am glad you mentioned the word "ethical" because to me that is really what this is all about. No offense intended, but most of your post sounds like it came from a lawyer. That fine of course, but for me at least, in this case the ethical considerations win out regardless of what the legal considerations happen to be.

Quote

I hope you are asserting that redistributing the original notes is wrong.


Yes, that is what I was asserting. Sorry my post was not clear about this - I should not have made any references to "reverse engineering".

Quote

Finally, a comment.  This is how intellectual property works  -- if you want the benefits of public use (such as winning bridge tournaments) or disclosure (any of the bridge articles you've published, which presumably help you get sponsorships, better partners, ..., these are analogous to me giving a talk at a conference), you also accept that you can't always control what happens to your creative work.


Maybe I have to live with the fact that other people will do this to me, but for me that does not justify doing the same thing to other people. Needless to say, I also do not find "because it is legal" to be sufficient justification.

Fred Gitelman
Bridge Base Inc.
www.bridgebase.com

Fred: If you are so concerned about the ethic problem of revealing other players
system, then you may want to make some changes to the BBO vugraph, because one
of the major source of this system comes from the vugraph archives and live
broadcastings. I would suggest:

1) delete all the archives, it contains much more info about the bidding system
for lots of the players.
2) limit future vugraph commentator from talking about the bidding, mabe only
show the final contract instead of showing all the biddings.
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#55 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 09:28

I still don't understand all this discussion of copyrights. It has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with the issue at hand, as far as I know.

stjk, no one is even coming close to suggesting that it is against any law or ethics for anyone to compile information from vugraph archives. Changing the vugraph archives to prevent people from doing this is a terrible idea.


You said earlier in this thread, "It's not the ofiicial Lite version from meckwell, but should be clsoe. It's based on the version used by the US youth team and I added some followups." Is it safe to infer from this and your previous post, then, that you reviewed the US junior events on vugraph to compile your system?

I'd be interested to learn which events you studied and which partnerships were the most helpful to you.
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#56 User is offline   stjk 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 10:04

jjbrr, on Dec 18 2009, 10:28 AM, said:

You said earlier in this thread, "It's not the ofiicial Lite version from meckwell, but should be clsoe. It's based on the version used by the US youth team and I added some followups." Is it safe to infer from this and your previous post, then, that you reviewed the US junior events on vugraph to compile your system?

I'd be interested to learn which events you studied and which partnerships were the most helpful to you.

Well, I got the basic system convension cards of mechwell and the US youth team from the WBF websites, and reviewed some vugraph files related to pairs using mechwell related prec system, the most helpful stuff may come from the card of LIEN Owen and BRESCOLL Zach.
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#57 User is offline   EricK 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 14:29

Free, on Dec 18 2009, 10:47 AM, said:

Full disclosure doesn't mean you have to post every method you use up front, you just have to give opps the same information you have during the auction. As much as I'd like every strong pair to post their entire system and competitive agreements, there's just no reason to do it.

But how can a pair prepare adequate defenses to the opponent's system unless they know not only the meanings of all the bids, but also all the follow up agreements, agreements for coping with interference, etc

This amounts to their entire system notes, doesn't it?
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#58 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 15:12

EricK, on Dec 18 2009, 03:29 PM, said:

Free, on Dec 18 2009, 10:47 AM, said:

Full disclosure doesn't mean you have to post every method you use up front, you just have to give opps the same information you have during the auction.  As much as I'd like every strong pair to post their entire system and competitive agreements, there's just no reason to do it.

But how can a pair prepare adequate defenses to the opponent's system unless they know not only the meanings of all the bids, but also all the follow up agreements, agreements for coping with interference, etc

This amounts to their entire system notes, doesn't it?

How is bidding naturally and constructively not an adequate defense to any system?

Did you mean optimal? I suspect the difference between adequate and optimal is negligible enough for almost all systems that it doesn't justify going through all the trouble to learn someone's ENTIRE system and ALL follow up agreements only to then have to decide what the optimal defense is. That seems completely ridiculous to me and an enormous waste of time.
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#59 User is offline   fred 

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Posted 2009-December-18, 15:26

EricK, on Dec 18 2009, 08:29 PM, said:

Free, on Dec 18 2009, 10:47 AM, said:

Full disclosure doesn't mean you have to post every method you use up front, you just have to give opps the same information you have during the auction.  As much as I'd like every strong pair to post their entire system and competitive agreements, there's just no reason to do it.

But how can a pair prepare adequate defenses to the opponent's system unless they know not only the meanings of all the bids, but also all the follow up agreements, agreements for coping with interference, etc

This amounts to their entire system notes, doesn't it?

No, of course not. The whole purpose of things like convention cards and pre-alerts is to provide the opponents with information they rate to care about without overwhelming them with useless information.

Why on earth would you need (let alone want) to prepare for a multi-round constructive auction by the opponents when you and your partner pass throughout? Some pairs have hundreds of pages of notes that detail such auctions.

I am not really looking for an answer to this question. Even if you think there is an intelligent answer, it doesn't really matter as far as this discussion is concerned. All that really matters is that, for now at least, players are not required or expected to submit their system notes before they play.

I doubt this will change if the foreseeable future and I think that is a very good thing (for reasons that are practical as opposed to being related to intellectual property). If you disagree then all I can suggest is that you e-mail whoever is in charge of running the tournaments you care about and let them know how you feel.

Fred Gitelman
Bridge Base Inc.
www.bridgebase.com

#60 User is offline   bluecalm 

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Posted 2009-December-20, 14:41

Quote

Yes, Greco-Hampson play 1♣-1NT shows ♥s, but there are some advantages to play transfers.


Back to the system. Do you know if opener's rebid is natural or it shows suits in steps (like in original Meckwell) ?
For example :

1C - 1S (spades)
2C = ? clubs or hearts ? I think there is a lot going for showing hearts as the cheapiest step (because then responder can agree hearts at 2level and start slam investigation from there).

I am asking about what Greco Hampson plays. Also if they use steps what's the meaning of the auction :
1C - 1NT
2C - ?


I also have a question about 1D auctions.
1D - 2C/D - 2H is 11-13bal, what is 2S ? what are the continuations ? for example if you want to ask about shortness or check stoppers to 3nt, what forcing bids do you have in your disposal ?

Take care :)
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