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Stolen Code Is Linked to Program for Chess

Publication Date: 
July 04, 2011
The New York Times
Dylan Loeb McClain

An e-mail written by Professor Mark Lemley on why a a chess champion developer, accused of plagiarizing code, might not be guilty of misconduct is mentioned in this New York Times article by Dylan Loeb McClain.

Players who use computers to cheat are a growing concern in the chess world. Now the developer of Rybka, the winner of the last four World Computer Chess Championships, has been accused of plagiarizing code to create the program.

Rybka has been stripped of its titles, and the developer, Vasik Rajlich, has been barred from entering programs in competitions.

The ruling on Rybka and Mr. Rajlich was made Tuesday by the International Computer Gaming Association, the group that organizes the championships. It concluded that Mr. Rajlich, who has American and Czech citizenship and lives in Poland, had used source code from programs called Crafty and Fruit.


Mark A. Lemley, a Stanford law professor who specializes in science and technology issues, wrote in an e-mail that because Fruit and Crafty are freely available may mean that Mr. Rajlich is not guilty of misconduct if he copied some of the code. But, Mr. Lemley added, “I can see why the Computer Gaming Association might want to prohibit it under its rules.”