From: Sam Sloan <sloan <at> ISHIPRESS <dot> COM>

Subject: Re: Copyright of game score

At 11:43 AM 7/15/2003 -0400, Larry Kaufman wrote:
>----- 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

To explain the same points in a different way, historical events cannot be

The moves of a chess or shogi game are a historical event, and therefore
cannot be copyrighted.

The words used to describe a historical event, such as "That was a
brilliant move", are copyrightable.

In general, only words can be copyrighted. The events or ideas described in
those words are not subject to copyright.

Sam Sloan