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MatPlus.Net Forum Internet and Computing MPDBS
 
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(1) Posted by Geoff Foster [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 00:33]

MPDBS


Some threads have mentioned a Mat Plus Database (MPDBS). Where is this database?
 
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(2) Posted by Vladimir Tyapkin [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 00:40]; edited by Vladimir Tyapkin [07-09-03]

It is available through 'Services' menu on this website. You should be a Mat Plus subscriber to have access.
 
 
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(3) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 01:15]

At the moment it's unavailable though. There will be a trial period for non-subscribers until the PCCC congress in Greece, though. So watch out for it. At the moment you should see (on the left side) a small sad smiley. Click on it to see more information, or click here: http://www.milanvel.net/mpdbs/suspend.php

It's a pity since I'd like to get some problems of Francisco Benkö. However, I'm positive it will be up again this month. So there still will be some testing time for you.
 
   
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(4) Posted by Vladimir Tyapkin [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 01:38]; edited by Vladimir Tyapkin [07-09-03]

Milan, can you name a person who asked you to remove problems? And was there any reasoning behind the request rather than some dubious claim about 'intellectual property'?
 
   
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(5) Posted by Juraj Lörinc [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 09:06]

I would be able to make a guess based on the test output from the database MPDBS I have got a few days ago.

The accusation (or request to take care of intellectual property, no matter how you put it) seems to me valid and justifiable.

Although I do not remember seeing any copyright notice regarding the database X in question as I have started to use it more than 5 years ago (if my guess about database X is right), exporting database X created by number of voluntary contributors accesible to all users of database X to other database Y accesible by just users of something else (here Mat Plus subscribers) seems to be dubious practice. Creator of database system X have put quite an effort into system X and its voluntary contributors as well.

It is not about individual problems in the database X. It is about an effort of putting them into system. The similar seems to be valid e.g. for the HvdH's collection of studies, doesn't it?
 
   
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(6) Posted by Vladimir Tyapkin [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 10:47]; edited by Vladimir Tyapkin [07-09-03]

It is difficult work to enter problems to the database, no questions about that. But this work itself, no matter how hard it is, does not create new intellectual property that is subject to copyright. Imagine this for example: I spent a lot of time digitizing all Harry Potter books. Does it mean I created some new intellectual property and could claim a copyright on my collection? I don't think so. That means that a claim on stealing 'intellectual property' is not valid at all.

The valid question here would be : Is it fair to use database X as part of my own database? In Milan's case I think it is fair, because he paid for the software and database, so he can use it as he sees fit.

By the way, on the question of fairness: if I am right about database X, one of its sources is Milan's own 2345 collection of merediths. Is it fair to use problems from Milan's book for database X? After all, Milan spent much more time putting together this collection than just entering it into database X by some contributors.

On the contrary, this copyright claim creates a bad precedent. What if one author decides that he does not want problems from his book to be in database X? Or, how about some chess composer complaining that there are too many of his problems in database X and printed collection of his works does not sell well enough? Essentially, claims like that could kill online databases, no matter private or public.
 
   
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(7) Posted by Harry Fougiaxis [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 11:31]

The matter is very simple, in my opinion. I do know how enthusiastic and "altruistic" Milan is, but he should have asked Christian's permission before importing the records into MPDBS. The problems themselves are obviously not "intellectual property" of anyone other than of the composers, but the work of Christian himself and of the volunteers is, as well as the annotation of the themes (Christian has written special routines to make WinChloe understand the content of the problem that it is solving).
 
   
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(8) Posted by Milan Velimirović (+) [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 13:54]

I didn't want to name the person before I re-examine all the aspects, but now we all know that it was Christian Poisson, author of the wonderful "WinChloe".

I could ignore his complains since formally I did not "steal" anything. We all use various sources and collections created by known and unknown authors. I am sure that a great deal of WinChloe base was created from these sources. However, it's not about simply entering the positions into database, it's important to "process" them. WinChloe has the unique intelligence to do it automatically. If Christian complains about using it then legal issues become irrelevant for me, the question is if I have the moral rights to do it. I do want to have a great online database, but I want to do it right. If Christian complains I will respect it regardless whether I think he's right or wrong (although, he could have at least warned me about the limited rights of use before he took my money for his program!).

 QUOTE 
Harry: he should have asked Christian's permission before importing the records into MPDBS

WinChloe is well protected (to my opinion perhaps over-protected) program. Now, if I can read the data from database in another way, and I did it virtually with no effort, and since the exchange of data is already the practice we adopted, what could be my conclusion? Logically: I can use it without the permission. After all, thousands of problems from collections created by me are there for sure - without my permission. I would have contributed even more if Christian did not ignore my request to specify in which format I could send him my the data. I didn't feel like doing it manually again.

Anyway, let's conclude: he is right, I am wrong. Period!

Now I've got the magazine to prepare...
 
   
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(9) Posted by Harry Fougiaxis [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 15:52]

I had the feeling that the names were self-evident, sorry if I revealed them.

I can understand your point, I am thrilled by your programming skills, I love your enthusiasm, but I still believe that you should have asked for his permission. Christian sells a commercial product and he has the right to protect it and choose how much information he wants to disclose. One may not agree with such a policy, but this does not mean that he is entitled (even if he is a legal user) to ignore it.
 
   
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(10) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 16:16]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [07-09-03]

The point we're talking about is "Threshold of originality" (from now "t.o.o.") [1] Of course you can use all of the problems included in WinChloe database BUT you can't use the themes key, annotations, order of problems, etc since this is original enough to be protected individually. It's the same as (to cite it again) with the Harry Potter book (to do that example again). You may use every single letter in the book BUT not in that exact order. Of course, there may only be 52 letters (small a to z and big A to Z) but it's the order and use of it that creates a t.o.o. and protects it. Or, the same for chess composition itself. You may use every single piece (e.g., 12 if not fairies) but can't send in something already existing as an own work (even if you re-created it).

Let me give an example of my own. Some time ago I wanted to use material from Die Schwalbe on my website. The information itself would not be subject to anything like copyright. However, the way it is written etc is enough for t.o.o. so I had to ask first. Hemmo Axt, who was first president (or chairman?) at that time, kindly gave me permission to reproduce it. [2]

Footnotes:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshold_of_originality
[2] It was just six pages about the Babson king: http://www.sh-kunstschach.eu/start/bilder/babsonking/babsonking.htm
 
   
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(11) Posted by Vladimir Tyapkin [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 20:00]; edited by Vladimir Tyapkin [07-09-03]

Here is listed all sources for WinChloe database (http://winchloe.free.fr/ouvrages_table_echecs.html). Harry's name listed as one of Album Fide contributers and antologies of helpmates by Semenenko brothers.
Both of these are collections of problems. From legal point of view, database has the same status as a collection of printed problems. Did Harry ask permission from author/publisher? Milan told already that nobody asked his permission for his 2345 collection of meredith problems, even Christian Poisson is listed as contributer.

Why these double standards? Why cannot Milan do the same that WinChloe contributors are doing for a long time? You pay for a book and use it as a source for WinCloe database, Milan pays for WinChloe and use it as a source for his database. I don't know Milan personally, but judging from his forum posts, I conclude that he is the person of the highest honesty and integrity. This is why he decided to remove chess problems from his database based on somebody's request without legal or ethical merits. If you want to clain moral high ground, you should go and ask permission from all sources you use for WinChloe.

Here, at http://winchloe.free.fr/newtables.html one can find a big chunk of WinChloe database available for everybody. Inside zip files are unencrypted paradox 7 tables with recorded problems. Positions are stored unencrypted as well. I don't see Christian putting a lot of effort here to protect his database.

If you think this position will help sell more copies of WinChloe, you are wrong. I was actually going to buy it, but after all this I've changed my mind.
 
   
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(12) Posted by Harry Fougiaxis [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 21:03]; edited by Harry Fougiaxis [07-09-04]

 QUOTE 
Harry's name listed as one of Album Fide contributers and antologies of helpmates by Semenenko brothers.

...as well as of

- 48th World Congress of Chess Composition, 3-10 September 2005, Eretria bulletin (with Kostas Prentos)
- ASP - The Caught of My Imagination, Z. Janevski 2004
- Black to Play, C.J. Feather 1994
- Böhmische Schachminiaturen, F. Dedrle 1922
- Braní dvou bílých figur v P2#, M. Dragoun 1998
- Broodings, C.J. Feather 31-38
- Chess Compositions, B. Zappas 1997
- Cykly tahu v P2#, M. Dragoun 2001
- Dreiklang, A. Johandl, K. Wenda, F. Chlubna 2001
- Fact and Fiction, A. Karpati 1995
- György Páros, Ein Begründer des modernen Hilfsmatts, T. Brand, C. Feather & H. Gruber 2004
- Helpmates of The Future??, C.J. Feather 2000
- Helpmate Problems, A. Molnár 1998
- Orbit 12bis (oct. 01)
- P2# - minimálky, M. Dragoun 1998
- Result of JT "TOGOOKHUU-60" 2007
- Rozmaitosci szachowe 23-24 (2006)
- Rundlauf in Helpmates, M. Prcic 2003
- Sredba na Solidarnosta 1971-2002 - ‡2, ‡3, s‡, h‡
- Stratégia és gondolat, G. Bakcsi 1981
- Top Helpmates, H. Ebert & H. Gruber 1995
- Wola Gulowska 2006

and of thousands of helpmates from my own library (magazines, booklets, etc.) which are not listed because they are not 100% complete. I entered all of them one-by-one, also adding themes manually in the cases where WinChloe could not find the content. At the same time, I was also updating for these sources existing entries with missing awards, notes about anticipations, etc.

 QUOTE 
Both of these are collections of problems. From legal point of view, database has the same status as a collection of printed problems.

I do not know if, from legal point of view, a computerized database is the same as a collection of printed problems. What I know for sure is that they are not the same from practical point of view. Sorry, I am an engineer, I am not a lawyer.

Btw, since you mentioned Semenenkos' anthologies. Their main source was evidently PDB (I know because in some cases particular mistakes in the sources in PDB appear exactly the same in their books). You may wish to question them if they asked for Gerd Wilts' permission.

 QUOTE 
Did Harry ask permission from author/publisher?

No, I did not, because I never felt that I was doing anything wrong. The page you are referring to is there for years, and nobody contacted me to complain.

 QUOTE 
Why these double standards? Why cannot Milan do the same that WinChloe contributors are doing for a long time? You pay for a book and use it as a source for WinCloe database, Milan pays for WinChloe and use it as a source for his database.

Because the contributors are transferring problems from printed material into a computerized database, while Milan bypasses the program's protection (or proprietary format, if you wish) to transfer a computerized database into his own database.

Edit : To make myself more clear. In the former case, the information is transduced from paper to digital bits and it is processed by a certain program, while in the latter it is decoded to extract the processed information and still remains in the same electronic form.

 QUOTE 
I don't know Milan personally, but judging from his forum posts, I conclude that he is the person of the highest honesty and integrity. This is why he decided to remove chess problems from his database based on somebody's request without legal or ethical merits.

Milan is an old friend, I know him from 1982 and I was one of the first to congratulate him on the MPDBS. Yet, I was under the impression that he had asked for permission. I may eventually disagree with him, but this does not mean that I consider him a thief. He simply sees things from some other perspective.

 QUOTE 
If you want to claim moral high ground, you should go and ask permission from all sources you use for WinChloe.

You overlook an important technical difference, which I tried to explain above.

 QUOTE 
If you think this attitude will help sell more copies of WinChloe, you are wrong. I was actually going to buy it, but after all this I changed my mind.

Pity, you cannot imagine what wealth of information you're missing.
 
   
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(13) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 21:29]

Just a reply to Mr. Tyapkin


 QUOTE 
I don't know Milan personally, but judging from his forum posts, I conclude that he is the person of the highest honesty and integrity.
I also don't know him personally (but I may be able to meet him next year, more probable if my health becomes better). Still, I can say you're correct about this. He's always helpful and friendly.

 QUOTE 
I was actually going to buy it, but after all this I've changed my mind.
Milan is correct on his point of view (which means he wants to give access to all those problems). Mr. Poisson also is correct on his point of view (he wants to not get ripped off). I don't think we should judge them since both did not want to do anything wrong. Law is on the side of Mr. Poisson, though.
 
   
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(14) Posted by Vladimir Tyapkin [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 22:25]

 QUOTE 
Milan is correct on his point of view (which means he wants to give access to all those problems). Mr. Poisson also is correct on his point of view (he wants to not get ripped off). I don't think we should judge them since both did not want to do anything wrong. Law is on the side of Mr. Poisson, though.

I think it is pretty much established that this is not a legal issue at all. It is about fairness and ethics of using somebody else's work. Legally speaking, you cannot accuse of stealing some intellectual property because databases are not subject of copyright and intellectual law. That means the law is on Milan's side.
 
 
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(15) Posted by Vladimir Tyapkin [Monday, Sep 3, 2007 23:22]; edited by Vladimir Tyapkin [07-09-03]

 QUOTE 
I do not know if, from legal point of view, a computerized database is the same as a collection of printed problems. What I know for sure is that they are not the same from practical point of view. Sorry, I am an engineer, I am not a lawyer.

The point here is not a legal issue. WinChloe database are based on hard work of many individuals(Milan included) that wrote books on chess problems. Milan's MPDBS are relied on WinChloe database. While it is not exactly the same, ethically it is on the same level. In both cases, underlying works are used without permission. I cannot understand why you value your work on entering problems into WinChloe database more than underlying works of all those authors.

 QUOTE 
...while Milan bypasses the program's protection (or proprietary format, if you wish) to transfer a computerized database into his own database.

There is no protection at all. All files(http://winchloe.free.fr/newtables.html) are unprotected paradox 7 tables. Everybody with programming skills can get raw data from it.

 QUOTE 
Btw, since you mentioned Semenenkos' anthologies. Their main source was evidently PDB (I know because in some cases particular mistakes in the sources in PDB appear exactly the same in their books). You may wish to question them if they asked for Gerd Wilts' permission

Did Gerd know about it? There is a note on his site prohibiting using database for any commercial purpose. It is not hard to predict his reaction, though. Severely restricting access to the database is quite possible.

I think, Christian's request for removal is shortsighted. He probably thinks that using WinChloe database in MPDBS would cannibalize the sales of his software. In my case, however, it is a lost sale. I think he is a good programmer but poor salesmen. I am sure that he would benefit long term if he agrees to a free exchange. It is just a matter of time when free online databases will become more popular and surpass WinChloe. Besides, 200 Euros is too high price for most people.

 QUOTE 
Pity, you cannot imagine what wealth of information you're missing.

I know. But do you realize what wealth of information the whole chess problem community is loosing? What we need is a free exchange of problems among different databases and join collaboration to the benefit of the whole community. Instead, we blame each other for 'using' somebody else's problems. Why ask to re-do the work of reentering if it is already done? Why not digitize more sources instead?
 
   
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(16) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 00:52]; edited by Jacques Rotenberg [07-09-04]

Mr Tyapkin,

You don't know what you are writing about.

Winchloe is wonderfull, cheap, and for the meanwhile, unique, and of a very high level of quality.

I think that Milan made a big mistake when he put it on the net whithout Christian's authorization, he corrected it immediatly, and this is very well done.
 
   
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(17) Posted by Harry Fougiaxis [Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 01:42]; edited by Harry Fougiaxis [07-09-07]

 QUOTE 
WinChloe database are based on hard work of many individuals (Milan included) that wrote books on chess problems. Milan's MPDBS are relied on WinChloe database. While it is not exactly the same, ethically it is on the same level. In both cases, underlying works are used without permission.

I do not agree that they are on the same level. We have a change of state, when the problems are entered into WinChloe, which to me is a significant factor to justify such an action from every aspect. A practical example that involves the two of us : you recently scanned to pdf the BCF awards 1951-79 (thanks for that!) and I updated all the relevant WinChloe existing entries accordingly (I'm not so interested in direct-play problems, so I left the new stuff for someone else...) So, from paper to pdf, and then to database. This is fine to me.

 QUOTE 
Did Gerd know about it? There is a note on his site prohibiting using database for any commercial purpose. It is not hard to predict his reaction, though.

There is not even a single reference to PDB in the books, as far as I can see. It should have been mentioned for sure, but again I think that Gerd would have to agree in the end. The authors extracted the information, classified and indexed it, and then transformed it to a different media : back to paper, where John Niemann got it from in the first run.

 QUOTE 
It is just a matter of time when free online databases will become more popular and surpass WinChloe.

I would love to, but I would not be so optimistic. The main free online database (PDB) is practically abandoned atm, while Meson still needs a lot of work.

 QUOTE 
But do you realize what wealth of information the whole chess problem community is losing? What we need is a free exchange of problems among different databases and joint collaboration to the benefit of the whole community.

Yes, I do and I agree with you, but under certain conditions. This is an enormous project and in order to work seriously and be maintained properly needs a lot of co-ordination. And people will have to be compensated somehow for the time and energy that they invest, otherwise it will fade pretty soon.

 QUOTE 
Instead, we blame each other for 'using' somebody else's problems. Why ask to re-do the work of reentering if it is already done? Why not digitize more sources instead?

I know, it is odd, but this is how things are working at the moment. I neither like it, but in order to change, the driving forces should first find some common ground.
 
   
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(18) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 02:35]

I found on Edward Winter's beautiful website that there was something similar 27 years ago:
http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/copying.html
 
 
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(19) Posted by Vladimir Tyapkin [Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 03:05]

Dear Mr. Rotenberg,

I am fully agree that WinChloe is wonderful, unique and quality software. I never claimed otherwise. However, I'd like to try it myself and see it with my own eyes. Can you tell me where I can download it?

But I cannot agree that it is cheap. I don't know what planet you are from but even here, in the USA, 200Euros is serious money. Chess problem lovers are not exactly rich people. Recent scandal about hotel prices for PCCC congress is just one example.

 QUOTE 
You don't know what you are writing about

I know software business too well and I still stand on my opinion that WinChloe marketing just sucks. Let me give you some reasons why I could not justify buying WinChloe for several years even when money is not an issue:
1. No English user interface. This is a trivial fix but is not getting implemented for years. It means either Christian don't care about potential customers or there is not much business outside French community.
2. No trial version. Alybadix has it, Problemist has it for less one tenth of a price of WinChloe. If it is such a wonderful software why not give me a try? Besides, there is always a problem a software incompatibility. I recently tried Alybadix and it did not work on one of my computers. Imagine my disappointment if I pay for it first.
3. Overprotection. There are rumors, WinChloe license is tied to your computer.

 QUOTE 
I think that Milan made a big mistake when he put it on the net whithout Christian's authorization

And what mistake it that? You sound like Milan redistributes the whole WinChloe package for free to everybody. Christian's claim has no legal merits. Questions of ethics and fairness are not that simple as I try to show. Re-read the whole tread again. I think even Harry could agree that this whole issue is not as obvious and clear-cut as appeared in the beginning.
 
   
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(20) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 07:53]

Dear Mr Tyapkin

You are aggressive and talkative, and wrong.
 
   
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