From: Larry Kaufman <lkaufman <at> COMCAST <dot> NET>

Subject: Re: Copyright of game score

----- Original Message -----
From: "" <shogi-l <at> SHOGI <dot> DE>
To: <SHOGI-L <at> TECHUNIX <dot> TECHNION <dot> AC <dot> IL>
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 10:45 AM
Subject: Copyright of game score

> What I would like to know is:
>   Why game score of chess is not considered to be a copyrighted
> material?
> I know that in the world of chess, game score is not copyrighted and
> hundreds
> of thousands of game score files, maybe even millions, in pgn format is
> publicly available on the internet. A lot of people analyze these games
> and
> make research on chess strategy, and it helped to improve the theory of
> chess. However, because some people strongly insist that shogi game
> score is protected by copyright and distributing the score can be
> illegal
> without copyright holder's consent, people are afraid of exchanging game
> score.
> If we get a clear answer to the above question, I think we don't have to
> be afraid of such claim as exchanging the game score is illegal, and
> exchange game score without any hesitation, thereby making a lot of
> Japanese and international shogi fans happy.
> Best wishes,
> Katsutoshi Seki
> seki (at)

          The World Chess Federation (FIDE) seriously examined the
possibility of copywriting chess scores, but gave up the idea.  The general
opinion of legal experts who have considered the issue is that the moves of
a chess game are equivalent to the inning by inning scores of a baseball
game or the round by round results of a boxing match.  In other words,
freedom of speech gives anyone the right to describe what he has observed in
a sporting match, and therefore no one can be prohibited from reporting the
moves of a chess game anymore than one can be prohibited from describing a
boxing match he watched.  I don't know whether this would apply to a game
which had no public spectators and was not broadcast; that rarely happens in
chess.  If a shogi game is not broadcast, and none of the people present
choose to give out the moves, then I suppose their could be an argument for
the published game score to be copyright??
     I don't know much about Japanese law, but it is clear that anyone in
the U.S. or most (perhaps all) of Europe would not have any legal problem
with their own countries in freely exchanging game scores of chess or shogi.
Whether a westerner would face a problem under such circumstances if he
visited Japan I couldn't say.

      Larry Kaufman