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Showing posts with label Mason Malmuth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mason Malmuth. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

What's Legal and What's Right

First let me assure you that at some point we're actually going to talk about something that relates to playing Low Limit Holdem, it's just not going to be this entry.

This entry I'm going to talk about the site (www.lowlimitholdem.com) and one of the longest running unchanged entries in it--the starting hand selections.

Back in the day (the day being towards the end of the year in 2000) we listed the Sklansky and Malmuth starting hands (from their book Hold 'em Poker For Advanced Players) to show a contrast between what they suggest for a typical middle limit game and what works for a loose passive game (the no foldem holdem games you find at especially the 2-4 and 3-6 limits in brick and mortar cardrooms). This section of the web site stood as is for a few years and then in December 2003 I received an email from Mason Malmuth, or at least someone impersonating him, demanding that we remove their starting hand selections from the site.

My initial reaction was that this may be a prank of some sort and even if it wasn't I felt that we probably had a right to publish this short excerpt to compare to what we were offering for low limit games. The first thing I did was to ask Mr. Malmuth to give me a call to talk about it. This would scare off most casual pranksters but Mason did in fact phone me and we talked about the situation for about ten minutes.

At the end of the phone call I decided to remove the section in our starting hand selections that listed the S&M starting hands. I didn't do this because I thought I was in legal danger but simply because I respect both of these poker authors and because we got right down to it on the phone and the bottom line is that I told him that although I didn't like the tone of the original email that all he needed to do was ask me to remove them and I would--not for legal reasons but for reasons of respect and acknowledgement of his contribution to the poker world before it was the chic thing to do.

Since I removed them I've received several emails from various people pointing out that the copyright law has the following restriction:

Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:

Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration

In short that legally I shouldn't feel compelled to keep the S&M starting hand selections off the web site. Legally I don't. But I did make an agreement with one of the great poker writers to keep it off the site so I will.

Really it's irrelevant because if you're serious about playing poker you're at least going to own a copy of the book they wrote that contains these starting hand selections anyhow, right? You can order a copy directly from the publisher at www.twoplustwo.com. Tell them I sent you.