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  1. Standard member Duncan Clarke
    Student
    10 Mar '15 18:18
    Who owns the copyright on a chess game?
  2. Subscriber BigDoggProblem
    The Advanced Mind
    10 Mar '15 18:56
    Originally posted by Duncan Clarke
    Who owns the copyright on a chess game?
    Depends upon which Federation it's played under. If none, then FIDE takes it by default.
  3. 10 Mar '15 19:14
    Fascinating question! Just doing a copy/paste of your question into Google yields 12,500,000 results.

    From a quick read it seems the general answer is no one can own a copyright on a chess game.

    A couple of answers from the Chess.com website:

    1)
    DrSpudnik
    Quick answer: no. Your games are not considered by the courts to be your property. Games are not copyrightable. Annotations are, since they fall under the creative realm of writing. But the game pre-exists the players (they didn't create the game of chess--unlike Monopoly or Scrabble) and the playing of it can produce the same outcome again & again if people just happen to make the same moves.
    A chess puzzle, as a composition, is (I believe) copyrightable.

    2)
    Tjeert
    I'm no 'legal eagle' but I do know there is no copyright in chess. The game notation is just a record of facts, just like the football results. If you were to publish a analysis of a game, you could have a copyright on the analysis, but not on the game/positions.
    I wouldn't mind owning 1.e4 and 1.d4 though..
  4. Subscriber moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    10 Mar '15 19:45
    Originally posted by Duncan Clarke
    Who owns the copyright on a chess game?
    Not a trivial question; no simple answer.

    See Ed. Winter's article for an overview of some of the issues.

    http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/copyright.html

    Clearly, any annotations will be copyright the author or the journal in which the annotations appear. But copyrighting just the moves is problematic, if only because a game could be duplicated, either by accident or by design, and no one would accuse the players of plagiarism.

    Furthermore, computer-computer games are now quite common, and a computer is not a person in the legal sense. A computer cannot own anything, therefore it cannot own its games either. Probably not even the programmer owns copyright in his program's games, since he cannot have known the program would generate just that sequence of moves.

    You might think that IBM owns copyright in whatever games Deep Blue churns out, since there is only iteration of Deep Blue, but ownership of whatever Stockfish or any number of other readily available programs churn out is probably public domain--since the programs are open source.

    A related question is: who owns the copyright to computer-generated music? See the following link for some of the issues:

    http://www.bcs.org/content/conBlogPost/141
  5. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    10 Mar '15 20:15
    Originally posted by MontyMoose
    Fascinating question! Just doing a copy/paste of your question into Google yields 12,500,000 results.

    From a quick read it seems the general answer is no one can own a copyright on a chess game.

    A couple of answers from the Chess.com website:

    1)
    DrSpudnik
    Quick answer: no. Your games are not considered by the courts to be your property. Game ...[text shortened]... on the analysis, but not on the game/positions.
    I wouldn't mind owning 1.e4 and 1.d4 though..
    This leads to an entertaining little paradox. There's descriptions in one or two Soviet chess player's books (I think Tal had this happen) of being in tournaments where they were the only player. So the officials, because this was the Soviet Union, would insist on the player making up some games so they'd save face and not all be sent of to Siberia or some such worry. The paradox is that if it's a faked game it is a composition and by the above arguments copyrightable, however, if it's a real game then it's not copyrightable.
  6. Subscriber moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    10 Mar '15 21:46
    The Soviets held 'elections' with only one candidate, so why shouldn't they also have held 'tournaments' with only one candidate? I don't see anything paradoxical about making up games which were never played and 'annotating' them. It's just a work of fiction, nothing more, and a work of fiction is copyrightable, no argument there.