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 Post subject: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:03 pm 
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I suggest that we have a system where someone can privately submit a completed new puzzle to a moderator or admin. This would then be a record that a certain person created a certain puzzle at a certain time. Naturally a few photos and description would be required. It could be done pretty informally and wouldn't really create any extra work for moderator or admin since the message in their inbox would be the dated record.
The reason I suggest this is that there are times when it is not desirable or sensible to present a new puzzle immediately. Perhaps you want to make a batch to sell or are seeking to get it mass produced. Uwe Meffert for example told me it makes life a lot easier if a puzzle he is making isn't 'out there' already. Not only does it stop "before it was even released" copiers but it also prevents KO companies arguing that a product existed in the public domain prior to a patent being granted (Uwe's words paraphrased).
My suggestion however is more about the forum situation than the legal ones. Although it's not a forum policy I completely agree with, it would give clear 'ownership' to the first creator instead of having an uneasy situation where the same puzzle is made and shown after someone else has already made it but not shown it. I am sure many of us have been sitting on a puzzle (no Kelvin! no Gus!) praying no one else makes it before we are ready to show it ourselves.
If the puzzle creator shows the puzzle soon after completion or doesn't care then of course there would be no need to submit it privately. It would not be a requirement, just an option.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:31 pm 
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The usual cheapo method of proving date of origination, is to post the design to yourself by registered post with a date stamp, and leave the envelope sealed until you need to prove it by opening in front of a lawyer or other witness.

What you suggest could work just as well within the community, though I'm not sure anyone else outside our community would care to believe the moderators.

Now, I'm going to sit on my puzzle for a while... Ah yes, that feels better. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:05 pm 
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The old way to do this was via anagram. For example, when Galileo discovered Venus has phases just like our moon, he wrote an anagram of the discovery and sent it to others. Then later he could provide the original sentence proving he had the discovery before he was prepared to reveal it. See http://www.geocities.ws/dantebissiri/ENGLISH/Galileo-ENG.html and http://galileo.rice.edu/sci/observations/saturn.html.

The more modern way to do this is to provide a cryptographic hash of something.

So for example, I could provide the hash:

Code:
brenrigh@lambda ~ $ sha1sum secret.txt
af17b2663e08efe6309d303c8ae6844785c69851  secret.txt


Those 40 hexadecimal characters are useless to you but they later allow me to provide the contents of secret.txt so that you can verify that I really had the contents back when I posted the hash.

So later when I reveal the contents:
Code:
brenrigh@lambda ~ $ cat secret.txt
I have discovered a very powerful technique for twisting individual
pieces pure.  It involves n-cyles (usually 3 or 5) of large blocks of
pieces by building the n-cycle out of two or three 3-cycle conjugates
by chaining them together.  The usual form is [[X:Y] Y]x2 where Y is a single
move.



Anyone can take that text, perform the sha1 hash, and confirm it matches af17b2663e08efe6309d303c8ae6844785c69851. This allows folks to publish short hashes and then later prove they knew or invented or had something at the time of the published hash.

This is pretty common. You see people publish hashes on security mailing lists all the time. I've used it among my friends to make bets on outcomes without revealing what I think until the outcome actually occurs.

If you've ever been in a situation saying something like "tell me the secret and I'll tell you if it's what I was thinking" then you're doing it wrong. Show them the hash of what you're thinking first so that you can prove to them that you guessed right later by revealing the source of the hash.

Hashes are especially nice because you can hash any amount of data. You could take a picture of something before you're ready to publish and then just publish the hash of the photo file. Even a picture of an unfinished product plus a sketch is enough to prove you had an idea at some particular date.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:31 pm 
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Brandon, is there some dedicated website that will do this kind of thing (encrypt, store, publish and decrypt info as you describe)?

And can it work with images and other files, besides text?

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:11 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
Brendan, is there some dedicated website that will do this kind of thing (encrypt, store, publish and decrypt info as you describe)?

And can it work with images and other files, besides text?

I'm not aware of any websites specifically dedicated to proofs of knowledge. One of the troubles of a website that does everything for the user is that most users would have to submit their secret to the site for appropriate hashing and storage of the hash. This probably isn't a problem when the site is neutral third party but it's still something to think about.

A good site would provide a downloadable list of proof (hashes), each with a name and a submission timestamp.

Unfortunately, due to the edit feature and no visible history of edits, this forum doesn't provide a good mechanism for hash submission because people can change hashes after the fact.

Absolutely anything, from text to photos to music to ANY file can be hashed. Hashing just operates over an arbitrarily long bitstream which encompass all information.

If you want to hash text easily, you can use a website like http://home.paulschou.net/tools/xlate/. Type in any text in the upper left side. Then hit encode and SHA1 value will be in the lower right panel labeled "[ MESSAGE DIGEST / CHECK SUM ]".

It wouldn't be that much work to make a simple website to offer this service. Unfortunately I'm already completely underwater so there is no way I can do it anytime soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:14 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
encrypt, store, publish and decrypt info as you describe

I should point out that this isn't encryption. It's a "message digest" (hashing). The result of the hash is a big number written in hexadecimal. There is no way to go in reverse. Unlike an anagram which doesn't destroy data but only reorders it, hashing does destroy data so that the original data can never be recovered. Hashes work as good proofs of knowledge because they aren't reversible but if you provide the original input that results in the hash, it proves you had that original input when the hash was first created.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:56 pm 
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The moderator forum could be used to solve this problem. If we move a post there it can't be seen by anyone but the Admins/Mods. We often move threads that are in debate before returning them or deleting them (and many still exist there to track the conversation).

So a member could post about their puzzle and a mod could immediately move it away from view. Then, when ready, we could move it back by request and it would show up with the original poster and date.

The only requirement is that you be in close contact with a moderator so it has virtually no "visible" time in a public forum before being moved. But this can probably be arranged as I don't think this case will come up often.

I don't mind providing such a service, I can't speak for the moderators but suspect they would also be amenable. And with moderators in all three major timezones it seems reasonable you could arrange a time (and perhaps post in a not-often-read forum to minimize undesired views).

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:37 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
(and perhaps post in a not-often-read forum to minimize undesired views)

That's one way to ensure it will become a "MOST-often-read forum"! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:23 am 
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Hi Tony,

In The Netherlands, the tax office has a registration department. One can send them one or more sheets of A4. They put a stamp and a date on it and return it to you. It proves that you were in possession of whatever is on the paper. It holds up in court. Another person can still patent your invention, as long as you didn't publish it, but they cannot refrain you from using your invention for your own private purposes. Many other tax offices offer the same service, and it is virtually free (except for the postage stamps).

I am not sure why the TP Forum should provide a poorer-because-unclear-whether-it-holds-up-in-court version of that service.

Oskar

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:04 am 
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^ I wonder if you send the tax office a stack of blank paper, they will stamp each page and send it back to you? Then you could just write or print on the stamped paper whatever you need and whenever you like.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:20 am 
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In response to the many replies. I was only meaning an informal thing for the forum. If a "new" puzzle is shown then a quick post by Dave or whoever saying it's already known would be enough. Posting copies of some document proving ownership would come across as a bit hostile two minutes after the original post.
I like Dave's suggestion though it still almost feels a bit too public. Perhaps it's because I know some mods personally whereas others I don't. So I would feel more comfortable sending a design directly to the one I knew the best. I can however be over protective of my stuff (just ask my ex work mates) so it might be ok for most people.
Since a pm can pretty much be the same as a post I am not sure why it needs to be posted even for a second or two. I wouldn't trust some clever brain here to devise a system to grab that information just for the fun of seeing a new puzzle.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:58 am 
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Tony, the NSA already knows what puzzles you're working on before you even think about making them.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:31 am 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
...I like Dave's suggestion though it still almost feels a bit too public. Perhaps it's because I know some mods personally whereas others I don't. So I would feel more comfortable sending a design directly to the one I knew the best. I can however be over protective of my stuff (just ask my ex work mates) so it might be ok for most people.
Since a pm can pretty much be the same as a post I am not sure why it needs to be posted even for a second or two. I wouldn't trust some clever brain here to devise a system to grab that information just for the fun of seeing a new puzzle.
I had a similar thought as Dave, when I read your first post. I thought of a PM that would be transformed by a admin/moderator to a topic in the hidden Forum Moderators immediately after arrival.
I would guess that in case of a later discussion about ownership a topic in a hidden forum would be more valuable than a private message. You would need to trust all of us moderators/admins, though. This "disadvantage" could become an advantage - you would have more than one witness.
A loss of information is less likely if the PM becomes a post.
Remember the time where PM's got deleted when you had more than 300 in a folder!
You could express in the first PM, if you want to keep it completely privately or if you want it posted by the selected moderator in the hidden forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:41 am 
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Konrad wrote:

You could express in the first PM, if you want to keep it completely privately or if you want it posted by the selected moderator in the hidden forum.

I like that choice. That way people could weigh up whether they want to be ultra private against having a more secure record.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:00 am 
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Another hint:

If you have a working prototype of puzzle to be hidden, you may create
a video, put it on youtube and set privacy to Private. Later you can
change the privacy to Public and share your puzzle. On youtube everyone
can see published date of video.

Does the first post mean Tony has some puzzles to be mass produced? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:54 am 
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iaroslavski wrote:
Does the first post mean Tony has some puzzles to be mass produced? :)

It mainly came from the Skewb Xtreme. I was about to show the prototype a while back and wasn't sure if it had been made before. I showed it to a couple of moderators to ask. I then changed my mind about showing it and asked Uwe Meffert about mass producing it. That meant it had to stay hidden for several more weeks but I figured the two moderators had dated proof in their inboxes that I had made it. That's what gave me the idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:00 am 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
Since a pm can pretty much be the same as a post I am not sure why it needs to be posted even for a second or two. I wouldn't trust some clever brain here to devise a system to grab that information just for the fun of seeing a new puzzle.
Although I can cut and paste the text of a message from a PM to a post, it would then show up as me, when I did that copy.

I was suggesting a more "authentic" version because it shows as the original author and when it was posted by them.

I'm sure if mod posts the original text people would trust its authenticity, but it somehow feels inferior. But neither are particularly difficult so I'm happy to support the community in whichever way is preferred.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:09 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
....I'm sure if mod posts the original text people would trust its authenticity, but it somehow feels inferior. But neither are particularly difficult so I'm happy to support the community in whichever way is preferred.
Dave
The same is true for me. We can handle it as the author may request.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:45 am 
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A simple solution to Brandon's hash storage site is to simply upload the hash to a site like pastebin.

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:58 am 
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I think both of Pyraminx Crystals(a.k.a. Mega Crystal(a.k.a. Alehs Brilic)) an were show at the same time. I also think Helicopter Cube (aka Bevel Cube). What do you do then?

Uwe Meffert Pyraminx Crystals

Mr. Okamoto Mega Crystal

Aleh Hladzilin Alehs Brilic
-------------------------------------
Adam G. Cowan Helicopter Cube

Mr. Okamoto Bevel Cube

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 Post subject: Re: Submitting a new puzzle to claim "ownership"
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:24 am 
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Darren Grewe wrote:
I think both of Pyraminx Crystals(a.k.a. Mega Crystal(a.k.a. Alehs Brilic)) an were show at the same time. I also think Helicopter Cube (aka Bevel Cube). What do you do then?

I very much doubt they were published at *exactly* the same time. Maybe on the same day, or hour, but not at the same minute, second, and fraction of a second!

And if the publication times could not be distinguished, then I think both designers would have to accept joint ownership.

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