Somebody presented in newsgroups (rec.gambling.lottery) an original lotto wheel. The author, Manfred Stampe (one-word royalty name Shkiotorbahn), also raised the issue of copyrighting lotto wheels, lottery combinations in general. This subject can touch a wide area of copyright matters, such as numbers in general, numerical relations, even mathematical relations, such as formulas and equations.
• A lottery wheel can fall under the protection of the copyright laws. It is a final product created for the first time by one person or a group of persons. It doesn't matter if the final product consists of letters, words, numbers, sounds, mathematical relations, or combinations thereof.
There must have been a person, who showed for the first time – publicly, that is – the following group of numbers named 9-number wheel:
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 2 3 7 8 9
4 5 6 7 8 9
The person who published such group of numbers for the first time is considered, by national and international laws, the author and the copyright owner of the 9-number lotto wheel. I don't know who that person is. It's not me and I may not publish a similar group of numbers claiming ownership.
I would try to convince a court that the wheel above can be constructed easily by dividing 9 numbers into 3 3-number pools A (1,2,3), B (4,5,6), and C (7,8,9) and combining the pools two at a time: AB, AC, BC. If drawing 5 or 6 winning numbers, the winners will be found in two or three of the groups. The worst-case scenario is 2-2-2 (or 2-2-1). Therefore the wheel assures the minimum guarantee 4 of 6 or 4 of 5. The court would disregard my claim. The reason: I was not the first person to create such a group of numbers. Timing is the main foundation of the copyright law. The first publisher is the only legally valid author and copyright owner. The owner usually enjoys 78 years of legal protection.
The presentation is part of this Web page:
I read somewhere (I forget where now) that the first abbreviated lotto systems were created — first — by a Spanish mathematician 200 or so years ago. So, many common lotto wheels may not be copyrightable at all. They may already qualify as public domain.
I wrote a computer program that generates a wheel exactly like the one above. It also generates 10-number wheels in 5 combinations to guarantee 4 of 6; or 11-number wheels in 11 combinations to guarantee 4 of 6, etc. I may not publish such wheels and claim ownership, because I saw the exact wheels in a book named Swedish Lotto Systems. The book was published before my lottery wheels; therefore I may commit copyright infringement. I do not know if the aforementioned book was the first to publish such wheels or lotto systems. Nor do I know what method the author of the book used to create his systems. Our methods may be totally different (most likely they are). I may not claim ownership, however. I was not the first person to publish such products.
One legal trick would be the modification of the wheel. In the 9-number lotto wheel, for example, we can interchange numbers. We can replace 1 by 4, 2 by 9, 3 by 6, etc. The wheel becomes:
1 2 3 5 7 8
1 4 5 6 8 9
2 3 4 6 7 9
I still may not claim ownership of such a system. The author of the original 9-number system is entitled to copyright protection. Most courts would rule in his/her favor. I may be punished for copyright infringement. This is the question I asked Manfred. I simply modified his 116-line wheel. I interchanged the numbers randomly. Then, I generated another wheel filtering out all 3-number groups from the original 6-number combinations.
What Manfred, the legal owner of the 116-line wheel, would have to do is convince the tribunal that I employed a trick. He would need to convince a court that my effort brings absolutely no originality. I only modified his product, illegally claiming that I created an original product of my own. I know it requires legal skills, and resources, and patience. But most courts would rule in Manfred's favor.
Now, back to the 10-number wheel guaranteeing 4 of 6 in 5 combinations. I wrote another program that generates a 10-number lotto wheel guaranteeing 4 of 6 in only 3 combinations.
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 3 4 8 9 10
2 5 6 7 9 10
I have had no knowledge of such a wheel having been published before my system. I made it public and have not received any complaint. That is, nobody brought to my attention that such a lottery wheel existed before, publicly. Therefore, I am entitled to claim copyright ownership. There is no doubt, most courts would rule in my favor.
But why all the buzz and fuss? Why publish before making sure all bases are covered? The U.S. Office of Copyright recommends the author to send to himself/herself, by registered mail, a copy of the product and keep the package sealed. Only then, after receiving the self-addressed package, the office recommends the publication of the product. And, still, the outcomes of potential legal actions depend on the skills of the lawyers.
•• Two lightening quick reactions to the previous part of my post. I've never figured this out: Why some people are hesitant to express themselves publicly. Hey, nobody owns the copyright over the English language!
1) Can anyone own the copyright of this combination: 1 2 3 4 5 6?
2) Can a lottery commission own the copyright over its drawings or draws or winning numbers?
1) The string of numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 appears in a lot of number groups named wheels. After all, 1 2 3 4 5 6 is a lotto wheel itself, guaranteeing 6 of 6, 5 of 5, 4 of 4, etc.! NOT! I said that the first legal test of copyright ownership is timing; i.e. a product made public for the first time.
The second legal test is the entirety of the product; e.g. in the 9-number lottery wheel, the 3 combinations act as an indivisible group. The third legal test is the end, or the goal, or the purpose, or the outcome of the product; e.g. in the 9-number wheel, the 3 combinations guarantee that at least one of the combinations will have 4 winning numbers if the 6 winning numbers drawn are among the 9 player's selections. The combination '1 2 3 4 5 6' fails the first and the third tests. Nobody has ever claimed copyright ownership of 1 2 3 4 5 6. The lotto combination 1 2 3 4 5 6 has no purpose, since a player must select exactly 6 numbers in a lotto-6 game.
Furthermore, nobody can claim copyrights over 1 2 3 4 5 6 for the reason of being one of the lines in potentially copyrightable 9-number wheel in 3 lines. But somebody might claim copyright over a 2-line group such as this one:
1 2 3 5 7 9
2 3 4 5 7 8
It guarantees 4 of 6 (the third test: purpose) and it is a complete system (the second legal test: entirety). The remaining burden of proof is timing: Prove who did it first.
2) I don't think a lottery commission will ever claim copyright ownership over its drawings. No religions can claim copyrights over their gods. The lottery draws are ruled by Randomness the Almighty. No entity has copyrights over Almighty Randomness. Anybody can publish things like “These are the winning lotto numbers drawn by this lottery commission on this date…” Anyone may freely publish a text file such as “These are the 1000 draws conducted by this lottery to date…”
Yet, the copyright laws may kick in (and really kick ars) if an entity copies the draws of a lottery commission and pays prizes based on them. Say, a group of persons in Antigua creates a business entity set up as a lottery. They have no drawing machines. They simply pay according to the lotto numbers drawn by another lottery commission.
This type of action collides with the randomness legal test. The Antigua lottery would not randomly draw the winning numbers. They copy winning numbers! I think there are such situations; Internet free lotteries? I don't think they will survive the legal actions of the commissions who really draw numbers! I heard New York lottery started their pick-3 game with the winning combinations being the results at the Belmont Park horse races. I think there was legal action that forced New York lottery to draw actual combinations, using their own machinery.
Of course, there is no legal case if New York lottery would draw a pick-3 combination in the same sequence as a horse race at Belmont Park. Or, both Pennsylvania lottery and New York lottery would draw absolutely the same combinations, even if that happened the same day!
A few of my cases
• Case 1
As soon as I published two very unique lotto 6 wheels, some bastards already reprinted them without even asking for my permission! I intentionally did not release software to generate lotto wheels. I only published two of the tightest lotto wheels out there:
~ 10-number 4 of 6 wheel in 3 combinations (exactly the odds)
~ 11-number 4 of 6 wheel in 5 combinations (exactly the odds, plus 1).
The two wheels cannot be replicated by anybody or any software, except for my lottery wheeling software. Nor can anybody replicate the method with different numbers (12 or more lotto picks).
•• Case 2
This site is a whole lot greedier. They simply copied and pasted almost the entire Gambling Formula page of my site! Then, the new “author” signed it as “gambler”! There is only one short notice at the end of the pirated material: Taken from www.saliu.com! As simple as that! Not even asking for permission! That was blatant plagiarism!
The site is: gambletribune.org/article.php?pid=274
In case they deleted the pirated article, here is a persistent copy as of July 13, 2003:
Pirated Gambling Formula at GambleTribune.org.
I have encountered numerous cases when full pages of my Web site were published without authorization by other websites, including message boards. Some of the pirated materials preserved my name; most of them, however, were signed by false authors!
I still believe that the long arm of the law will knock out the bastards sooner or later!
How many 9-number lotto wheels are there? We can interchange the numbers in 9! (factorial of 9) ways: 1x2x3x4x5x6x7x8x9 = 362,880. But only a far smaller amount will be unique systems. For example, 3,6,2,4,1,5 and 2,5,3,1,4,6 always become 1,2,3,4,5,6. In this case, there are 9!/6! = 504 unique 9-number lotto wheels that guarantee anything.
Of course, a 49-number wheel can lead to an astronomical number of unique systems. 49! is a 63-digit number! Well, that's over 60% of a googol, and nobody has ever been able to say such a number. The person who can say — for the first time — such a number will definitely enjoy a googol of copyrights!
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