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Re: Legal status of chess game collections

On 13 Apr 2002, Henning Makholm wrote:

> The more difficult problem is the legal status of each individual game
> itself? Do the chess players who played it have a sort of copyright?
> Surely, they have made real intellectual decisions about which piece
> to move where, but is that a decision about content (which is not
> protected by copyright) or form (which is)?

OK, I felt also uneasy about this. I googled around and found the
following quotes:

  Legally the actual moves of any game as played are considered to be in
  the public domain and not subject to any copyright laws.

"The Week In Chess" by Mark Crowther (the more or less definitive
weekly internet publication on chess) contains some reports (see issues
http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic{201,204,205,217,275}.html, grep for
"copyright") on an initiative of FIDE to enforce copyright on raw game
scores. However, it seems they failed, and it seems that Bobby Fischer
already tried this once and failed, too.

Here is another find from the usenet: Message-ID <2vakkb$8gv@panix.com>
contains the following statements by Dr. Roy Schmidt from Hong Kong

  The game score, in an of itself, cannot be copyrighted.  It is simply a
  record of a public event.
  The publisher holds a copyright on the *collection*.  The rationale is
  that the publisher has applied some unique criteria to select the games
  in the collection.

He continues to talk about annotations which may be subject to copyright.
However, the gnuchess book consists of raw game scores, so my conclusion
is that it is not subject to copyright and it is in the public domain. (As
far as I know, the gnuchess book was not put together with some "unique
criteria", was it, Simon?) Any objections?


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