Terrence L. Domjan (questor@fast.net)
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 04:13:28 -0400


While you guys have been planning T-shirts,
(a noble activity in and of itself) I've been
wondering about some legal stuff (on which
I have no training).

I'll be brave (or stupid) enough to bring down the
mood by bringing this up. Please don't hurt me
because I was the first to do so.

I'm from PA but this is a sample of law that I found:

"A lottery is defined as "a plan which provides for the
distribution of money, property or other reward or benefit to
persons selected by chance from among participants some or all of
whom have given a consideration for the chance of being
selected." Minnesota Statute Section 609.75, Subdivision 1(a)

==== Was DESCHALL an illegal lottery? ====

In other words, did the RSA Challenge change from
being a contest to a lottery when DESCHALL, an
instance (method) of its solution (winning), came
into being (was started)?

After all, the result was "the distribution of money".
This occured when a person was "selected by chance"
(albeit, in a very complicated fashion having, as I recall,
something to do with searching a keyspace) "from among
participants ... whom have given a consideration" which
was their spare CPU cycles (something of value whose
value will increase because it will probably be sought
after more and more in the future).

This may affect future, distributed computing efforts
where money is involved because it would bring in
government regulation which might be effective in
stopping such efforts from doing things which the
government didn't like - such as simulating the
causes of and cures for the genetic defects which
would most certainly occur in human cloning
(which is one of the reasons that human cloning is
now illegal) - regardless of the legality of the results
of the efforts.

By the way, it doesn't matter that it happened
on the Internet and not in a particular state.
I've found references to support this.

If it was illegal, and I say this GINGERLY, Rocke
would be the guilty party. In essence, it would be
as if he invited a number of kids to guess (using his
protocol) how many jelly beans were in the huge
glass bowl at the town supermarket sponsoring a
contest. He then submits all the guesses which
amount to ALL possible guesses. He and the winning
guesser then share the prize. I know. I know. It's
not completely equivalent to DESCHALL, but
alot of stuff happens on computers which has no
"real-life" equivalent.

I'm not knocking the effort. I participated and learned
a few things. I've combined some of these things with
some ideas I've had and have come up with a unique
answer to the "What's Next?" question posed earlier.
I'll give out a URL for details when I'm finished writing
it up.

Terrence L. Domjan