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I was surprised to see The Toronto Star with an article on how the organizers of the Kamsky-Topalov candidates match threatened ChessBase/Playchess into abandoning their live broadcast of the games. Unfortunately, the article gets lost in a discussion about copyrighting the ideas behind the moves, which, while it has come up on a regular basis in chess history, is entirely beside the point. They speak with a well-known expert on these matters, Professor Michael Geist. (Who, not coincidentally, I corresponded with for advice when the Canadian company MonRoi threatened me with litigation over some critical remarks I and some commenters here made regarding their US Ch coverage in 2007.) The article gets to the real point here only to drop it quickly.

And while neither Kamsky nor Topalov's moves could be protected, the rights to their being broadcast certainly could.

In the much larger arena of NFL football, the same issue has recently come to bear over the surfeit of bloggers gaining accreditation as official members of the media covering the games.

Last season, most were barred from live blogging at the stadiums themselves on the grounds that their presence infringed on the official, live-broadcast-rights owners (though, oddly, sitting on the couch at home and doing the same thing would constitute no such infringement).

That's the issue, the right to broadcast moves. And the answer certainly isn't "certainly could." Trying to maintain personal (or organizational, or intellectual) rights to moves and scores as such goes back at least to Lasker and more recently with Sveshnikov and Kamsky. Organizers have done it too -- Aeroflot comes to mind a few years ago and FIDE briefly tried to sell each round's PGN files during the 1998 Olympiad, I believe. But the Bulgarians' beef with ChessBase had nothing to do with that. They simply didn't give permission for them to rebroadcast the games live on Playchess. (They did give permission to the ICC, sparing us the initial hassles we had when the Anand-Kramnik WCh organizers demanded other sites broadcast with a delay. Well, some other sites, which was the problem.) Of course this assumes ChessBase needs their permission to copy the moves from the official site and relay them on their own. This argument is as old as the internet, if not Lasker, and we've killed billions of pixels debating it here. Are the moves reportable information or an element of content? The former is very difficult to protect.

For example, in one of the early relevant cases in the US, the NBA sued Motorola's content service for providing near real-time scores. Many sports sites skirt the "robust content" provisions in many broadcast rights cases by giving live updates of everything statistical, which can be classified as reported fact instead of media content. As in the NFL case The Star article mentions, if you sit at home watching a game and update your blog with the score (or whatever else descriptive as long as you don't post audio, video, etc., "robust content") as fast as you can, you're okay. You are reporting facts. Are chess moves already played and broadcast facts or content? This has been a regular battleground in many sports just in the US, so when you throw it open into the courts of the world I'm sure you would get as many rulings as judges. The lawyers would make a lot of money and nobody else would.

I've been on both sides of this argument, as an organizer events we wanted to show live exclusively on KasparovChess and as a journalist trying to cover events. While I think it would be dandy if the moves could be protected and rights to them sold (or freely given), as it would provide a potential revenue stream for organizers, however small, it just doesn't hold water. Of course you'll always find a lawyer or ten who will be happy to take your money to try to prove it will, and maybe they'll even succeed in some cases in some places. But I would rather put it to the organizers to come up with something actually worth paying for, or coming to see, instead of trying to shut down coverage of an event they are trying to promote. Leverage the advantages of being the organizer by producing a rich media experience people will want to see and that can't be seen anywhere else. Some sites are finally doing this fairly well, if in a haphazard way, with webcams and post-game video.


trying to protect "chess content" wont work from now on. if we cant protect music nowadays, imagine chess...
on a different note: anybody know why Ulf Andersson resigns events in the middle, even if hes not doing bad? for example, he left the european championship with 4/6, and that including a forfeit on 5th round, a win on 6th and a performance of 2629 (hes currently on 2571)! Ive seem him doing this on several other tourneys in the last couple of years, but have no idea why it happens...

We had a big debate on this matter below my co-editor's column at
One of the points Arne makes is that there's no difference in writing down "1.e4" (as in: this was played, it's a fact) or showing it in a game viewer. Besides, he argues that "broadcast" is not the best word to describe relaying a game live in a game viewer, as it's easily confused with live stream of, let's say, a soccer match, which is clearly something different.

Btw the Toronto Star journo even asked for Arne's number, but then never called him.

Other countries may vary, but in the United States, raw data, such as the moves of a chess game, are never protectible by copyright. Period. Only representations of data reflecting at least a quantum of creative effort merit protection, and even these can be worked around by representing the data in a different way.

The NFL restrictions are not based on copyright, but on contract--a blogger agrees not to liveblog on the game in exchange for accepting the credential. But absent an effective contractual restriction, relaying chess moves without permission, at least in the United States, is legal.

I'm more curious as to what advice Micheal Geist gave you during the Monroi fiasco. Is this something you can disclose? It would be helpful to know what he said for others who might find themselves in a similar situation in the future with their own blogs.

Can you share this with us Mig?

I agree with Peter, in that it's not really accurate to call the transmission of chess moves a "broadcast." It's more akin to something like the GameCast that ESPN's website provides for live basketball or football games that describe, using up-to-the-minute stats and play-by-play, what's going on in a live game. The problem (if there is one) is that while following the GameCast application is a very poor substitute for watching a basketball game on TV or even listening to a broadcast on radio, merely transmitting chess moves provides 99% of the experience of watching a game live or via video (or perhaps even more since it's even easier to kibitz with your fellow chess fans and even strong titled players).

From one way or another , the owners or organizers of the chess events will find a way to decide who can broadcast their events and who cannot.
I wonder what will chessbase do if Topa becomes world champion once again .

Jesus Christ, Manu, can you refrain from bringing Topalov up every single time you post a comment? It's utterly bizarre how you seem to circle back to him time and again, no matter how unrelated the current topic might be.

Holy Moses , Theorist , i think it is related with the topic (dont forget that this problem came up during Sofia), and my post are usually short enough for you to skip them.

Methinks it's still OK to bring up Topalov, but odd to come up with "prohylactic" (or at the very least premature) insults against Chessbase ... .

Manu....and my post are usually short enough for you to skip them.
but so numerous that you'd need to be a very good gymnast to skip them all.

Im sorry Hardy , but this is open forum and like i said im not off topic .
In fact , 10 years of experience in broadcasting might be usefull to discuss this issue.
@Thomas : There is no insult in my post , just an advance of a very provable scenario .

Well said, Mig. If organizers want to make a "broadcast" of an event, they have to do more than just post the moves. The current state of move relays, while useful and fun, is equivalent to the move tickers on Yahoo Sports (and GameCast and elsewhere. I'm obviously in the camp that feels that reports of game moves, even in real-time running, are simply facts and not content.)

It would be sad if organizers thus stepped down their reporting of moves. But it's equally a challenge: Give consumers more value than what ICC/FICS/PlayChess etc. can copy by relay.

And thanks for the well written summary - this post and Arne's on ChessVibes are most excellent reporting.

I find interesting that the people who thinks that the moves are property of mankind is the same that strongly believe that chess is a sport and not a game.
My opinion ( and i bother no more) is that the moves are property of the organizers of the event while the game is in progress , during that time they should be the ones to decide who can broadcast them .
As long as i have a public site which broadcasts the game to the public , i get to do as i want with the broadcasting.
Of course , ONLY during the game.

Be as BBC for MAster Game with the late 1970s. Contract demands player no-talk by games till airings. So Bring out the dough $$$ and the saugsaes achieve their other end.

It seems that organizers are trying now to delay transmission of the moves to draw people to their own live broadcast web site, to give exposure to the sponsors. I think the era of trying to charge for that access is passed.

The solution is simple. Organizers need to offer a better experience than just the moves. Webcams, live video analysis, etc. will draw viewers directly to their sites, and expose us to the advertisements of the sponsors. I know on ICC if someone kibs a link to a webcam page, I go right to it.


"I wonder what will chessbase do if Topa becomes world champion once again".

I ignored this when you said it once before, Manu, but what is your problem? Chessbase would just do what it always does - report it. For reference here's the last time he (arguably) became World Champion: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2681

"Veselin Topalov is the new World Champion! What a brilliant performance!" Can't you just feel the hatred coursing through their veins for the Bulgarian :)

If you want to insist that was just in the pre-Elista days you can also see that they reported Topalov's wins in that match perfectly normally - e.g. http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3409
Or Topalov's win in Wijk: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4404 etc.

On a more interesting note: how did you meet Danailov (in San Luis?) and what did he offer to pay you to keep up your preposterous support for his every action?

Nicely done.

I have no problem , what i was pointing is that Topa´s camp has shown that they remember chessbase coverage of Elista very well , and they do not consider that it was fair.
The Sofia match shown that the conflict between them is not over and i was just foreseeing that chessbase will have problems and restrictions to broadcast anything coming from them.

¨ On a more interesting note: how did you meet Danailov (in San Luis?) and what did he offer to pay you to keep up your preposterous support for his every action?¨

Never met him personally (saw him during the games like the rest of players and seconds), didnt knew who he was by that time .
I make my own money making movies , trolling for the Bulgarians goes for free.
But i have to say that i find it very interesting the way you (and some others) feel the need to insult another person just for thinking different , i guess is the way things are.

Actually, Manu, it's not because you're "thinking different". It's because you're thinking the same -- time after time after time...

As far as the technical matter of copyright, these things can get
pretty tricky, but in general terms, if we assume that
"transmission" ~= "selling a product" then I can see how the
activity of transmitting may have to be protected. At the same
time it is very easy to get silly though in some of the
technicalities involved.

As far as the Chessbase case -- their coverage during Elista was
disgustingly one sided. Yet, I feel that the love affair between
Topalov's Team and Chessbase (Friedel, I guess) has to come to an
end at some point because it is becoming grotesque and quite
noisy. I suspect that a number of other things may have gone
under the table recently that we're unaware of..


I dont have any problem with your insipid comments , i just dont answer them and everybody is happy.
Do the same with mines ,theorist.
It is easier than writing that crap of someone thinking the same over time and has the benefit of not poluting the thread with idiotic atacks and my consequent retorts.


I challenge you to produce a single post from manu which has ever repeated what he'd previously said. Each individual manupost is a small yet essential facet of a priceless gem which, when taken in its entirety, dazzles with its brilliancy. Remove even a single post and the whole carefully crafted edifice comes crashing down.

And, Theorist, how can you not wonder what chessbase will do if Topa becomes world champion once again? (I'm betting they'll publish lots of pictures of attractive female chessplayers).

You guys really aren't getting caught up in the spirit of peace, love, and reconciliation sweeping the place. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: repetition, redundancy, and fanatical consistency are what internet discussion is all about. Whoever stops typing first loses. There, a thousand and one. I win.

Lets make this more interesting!
Tomorrow is rest day but the next day your guy plays with Topalov , if Kramnik wins the mini- match i wont post anything related to Topa (or Danailov)for a month .
If Topa wins ( and it is going to be though because he is more like relaxing after a BIG achievment) , i get a month of bash-free commenting .
The odds are on your side guys ,for many reasons Topa is the underdog here.
What do you think: Theorist , Greg , mishamp , Deal ?


I'm caught up in the spirit of peace, love, and reconciliation, and wouldn't dream of bashing your posts in any event. Good luck Vlad, good luck Veselin. May the best man win.

If they draw the match the rest of us win and you all have to shut up for a month.

Lol , deal.

More important IMO than the result of their mini-match (for me at least blindfold shouldn't be taken ALL that seriously): Will Kramnik and Topalov finally again shake hands before the game? Enough time should have gone since the Elista match/scandal, and the overall relaxed atmosphere of Amber may well be the right place and moment.
The question is: Who (if one) will stretch out his hand, and would the other one refuse?
[sort of cross-posting from Guillaume's comment on Chessvibes and my reaction there]

Did I miss Danailov apologising for Elista?

If you missed it, so did I .... . But as I have a track record of asking/recommending an apology, I chose not to be repetitive and redundant at this occasion ,:).
Anyway, my ideal scenario would comprise Topalov making such an apology before the game - opportunities should arise on today's rest day. And yep, IMO 'burying the past' would be a bigger step for Kramnik, though ... (maybe I am unduly blowing things up) it is an almost philosophical question: What's harder, realizing and admitting mistakes you (and/or your manager) made in the past, or forgetting/forgiving mistakes by other people?
Question to onsite journalists (Macauley?): How do Topalov and Kramnik act towards each other at the Amber scene? Do they avoid each other as much as possible, sitting as far away as possible at the dinner table?
Comment to chesshire cat (posted in another thread): Once Kramnik and Topalov make such a step, it is definitely time to stop posting about Elista toiletgate.
Hugh, I have spoken ,:)

Pigs will fly before Topalov/Danailov either admit they're wrong, or issue an apology. They were showing a video "How Topalov was robbed in Elista" in the press room of the recent Topalov-Kamsky match, for heaven's sake. Or pre-match Danailov said, a propos of nothing: "Topalov is the number one in the world, and Kramnik will do anything to avoid playing him. He refused to play in Sofia for one million dollars".

So I'd forget any hopes for a genuine reconciliation. Of course Danailov might calculate that a handshake offer would unsettle Kramnik, but that's about it.

From Kramnik's point of view I'm sure he's not losing much sleep over it. His position after Elista was that he wants nothing more to do with the Topalov camp, but will play any individual games that come up. I doubt that's changed.

Manu, I accept your deal. (Please Vlad don't lose, please Vlad don't lose...) If I find out there's been an impromptu gathering of traditional Bulgarian folk spoon players outside Kramnik's hotel room all day -- the deal's off!

Good one , im looking at Vlad´s games and it wont be easy.

Jeez, you guys are restless...

Hey mishanp, your problem is that you're obsessed with Kramnik and it
is not obvious exactly how relevant he is at this moment. That may
change, of course, but right now, let it go. I hope they're civil to
each other. As far as love is concerned, you're asking for too much.

I'd seriously consider that they should apologize at least for
overreacting if anyone apologizes to Topalov for the nasty campaign
accusing him of cheating at the highest level. Of course, this will
never happen, neither from Chessbase (the primary purveyor of that
nonsense), nor from those other loonies ( including couple of GMs too)
who ruined so much of the pleasure for watching Topalov in early 2007
and probably were instrumental for him to lose form for an year or
more. So, get your house in order before asking much love.

Some of you whine about Manu -- every post of his, is bracketed by a
few of the familiar faces who groan and moan about what he says,
basically repeating the same thing -- Elista, bla, bla, bla...


"Hey mishanp, your problem is that you're obsessed with Kramnik and it is not obvious exactly how relevant he is at this moment."

Dimi, I just replied to Thomas. Danailov bringing up Kramnik out of nowhere when questioned about something else is the sign of an obsession.

"I'd seriously consider that they should apologize at least for overreacting if anyone apologizes to Topalov for the nasty campaign
accusing him of cheating at the highest level."

Dimi, Danailov wasn't "overreacting", he was deliberately making false accusations to try and help Topalov's match situation. Some GMs whispering about Topalov after Elista (or going on record, as Nigel Short did) has zero relevance to the match with Kramnik.

"Of course, this will never happen, neither from Chessbase (the primary purveyor of that nonsense), nor from those other loonies (including couple of GMs too) who ruined so much of the pleasure for watching Topalov in early 2007
and probably were instrumental for him to lose form for an year or more."

Chessbase weren't the "primary purveyor". They covered some GM comments that were published elsewhere. Whatever you think, cheating accusations are newsworthy, whether made by Danailov or Short or Mamedyarov. There's no use blaming the messenger. Chessbase also published Danailov's comical flights of fancy (the wires in the ceiling) and Topalov's paranoid interview on Kramnik and the KGB, which was more damaging to the Bulgarians' reputation than anything else. But are you going to blame them for that?

p.s. don't worry, I won't feed the trolls for a while, whatever happens at Amber today!

The point mishnap, is that the wholly unfounded and subsequently unproven accusations against Topalov were equally scandalous. Poor man, climbs to the top of the world through years and years of dedication and hard work, no free lunch, and what did he get? Jealous competitors whispering cheat behind their backs. Why is any unfounded cheating allegation worse or better than another?

"Why is any unfounded cheating allegation worse or better than another?"
All kinds of reasons - two things both being unacceptable doesn't make them equivalent. In any case, Kramnik didn't make those accusations, so there's no tit for tat justification.

Note I don't see why anyone would mind whether Topalov and Kramnik shake hands (I certainly don't) - I was just responding to Thomas' suggestion that they might.

Who said Kramnik made those accusations against Topalov? Dimi made the point that Topalov is as entitled to an apology as Kramnik is. Not from each other. I'm curious as to why you think the monstrous accusations against Topalov were not as serious as those against Kramnik? In my view they were equally bad, and actually had a worse effect. The allegations against Kramnik didnt stick, and rightly so. Topalov was defamed over years, and some of them stuck, gleefully pounced upon by losers who are in the same league as those who poke fun at somebody for looking different or not socialising according to their norms. Pfah.

I don't want to get dragged into this, but the reason doubts have remained about Topalov is exactly because of his behaviour in Elista.

The blatantly absurd accusations against Kramnik demonstrated that Danailov had no scruples. So the muffled comments after San Luis that Danailov might have signalled to Topalov suddenly gained some credence, whereas before most of us (myself included) dismissed the evidence as purely circumstantial - i.e. there was opportunity & a stunning performance (5.5/6) by a player who had had a good but not great career.

So the Topalov camp really have only themselves to blame. I'm bemused that you don't see a difference between expressing probably genuine doubts to friends during a tournament and what the Danailov camp did: launching a calculated assault with information they knew to be false/misleading in order to support a claim they didn't for a second believe in, all with the aim of changing the course of a match... and then shamelessly (if suicidally - they provided the perfect reductio ad absurdum) with wild claims, books and videos for years to come.

Spare us the "poor man" comments about Topalov.

"Dimi made the point that Topalov is as entitled to an apology as Kramnik is."

Agreed, but Dimi made the entitlement contingent on others apologising to Topalov first. Why? That would only make sense if Kramnik was the culprit.

"I don't want to get dragged into this, but the reason doubts have remained about Topalov is exactly because of his behaviour in Elista."

That is prima facie absurd. Accusations started well before that, and were given prominent publicity. And your method of proof is laughable. "Officer, I saw this man throw a cigarette butt out the window, therefore he is guilty of robbing that shop."

I'm bemused you don't see the seriousness of assasinating a man's character in public, with absolutely no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, unless you count playing good chess and winning as circumstantial evidence. And how did Topalov become synoymous with Danailov?

And its OK for somebody to have genuine doubts in a tournament with no evidence, but its not OK for somebody to have genuine doubts in a match? How do you know they didnt have genuine doubts? Somebody leaves the board often and has moves matching an engine, Mamedyarov considers it enough proof to accuse somebody; Topalov starts winning games and sits in the same place every round in San Luis, enough for sore losers to feel Topalov is cheating; Kramnik leaves the board often and disappears into a private room, enough for somebody to feel he is cheating. All equally moronic and deplorable to me. For you, the Topalov incident is genuine? Hah. Spare us the false objectivity.

I think it was the ABC interview that did it for ... Hey, wait a minute! Topalov and Kramnik just drew both games in Melody Amber! I think that means no more mentions of anything that happened between them before 2009 for at least a month, unless there is, say, an actual thread on a relevant topic. For some of you it will be like going outside for the first time in a month and seeing there's a whole world out there. Heck, it might actually BE the first time in a month.

I'm even going to the gym. My winter fat (on top of my year-round fat) is getting embarrassing even to me. I should put up a weight tracker here to shame me into going the gym instead of posting here. Sigh.

"That is prima facie absurd. Accusations started well before that, and were given prominent publicity."

Yes, but the accusations were generally dismissed until Elista - even Dimi's complaining about 2007. When was the WC tournament again?

"I'm bemused you don't see the seriousness of assasinating a man's character in public...".

I do, and condemned it (even if it was mainly in private in the case of Topalov).

"And how did Topalov become synoymous with Danailov?"

When in an interview post-Elista Topalov removed all doubts and repeated everything Danailov said, even embelishing the story slightly.

"How do you know they didnt have genuine doubts?"

Danailov's a smooth operator, not an imbecile. I can understand them feeling a little annoyed that Kramnik didn't choose to spend more time with Topalov, or that he made the Champions League quip... but you're not going to tell me for a millisecond that they believed Kramnik, checked by Bulgarian metal detectors, was climbing to the ceiling of the bathroom they swapped each game and doing something magical with cables. Or that Danailov "Fritz statistics" were anything other than a psychological ploy?

"For you, the Topalov incident is genuine?" If you're asking about San Luis then I still don't think he was guilty. But Danailov's subsequent behaviour will always leave that open to doubt.

Luckily Kramnik-Topalov drew, so we're obliged to drop this topic :)

You beat me to it, Mig :)

Mig has probably never been so grateful for Kramnik's fabled powers of drawing...

Topalov: "Silvio was writing all these press releases, but of course they were also on my behalf. So I subscribe to every word and every press release."

Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam: "There never was any disagreement about anything? That you wanted something phrased differently or..."

Topalov: "No, no. I mean, come on. Every word."

(New In Chess 2006/8)

From today to 19 - 04 - 2009 , i will honor the agreement.

I also have a quote from New In Chess to share - I will only give the year (2008) because it is sort of a quiz ... :
Who said the following after losing a tactical game against Topalov?
"We [player X and his second] have checked the game with the computer. After the opening all your moves are the first choice of the computer. How could you do this to me? I thought you were my friend!"
I will not (yet) give the name of player X - but as far as I know he was and still is a genuine close friend of Topalov, so it was 100% in jest. At the same time, (maybe inadvertently) it disqualifies similar accusations by whomever against whichever strong GM. I guess noone would make the claim that Topalov is the only one capable of playing like a computer without using a computer .... .

That was Ivan Cheparinov larking about, wasn't it?

Yes it was Cheparinov, and as I wrote he was clearly joking (immediately after his game at MTel), and maybe not fully aware of implications of his joke.
And while I hadn't signed the deal, I will now also honor the one-month embargo on talking about Elista (unless someone else breaks it first).

Well, how do you know it was generally dismissed? Did you take a poll? You could equally argue that some might have come to the conclusion that what's good for the goose is also good for the gander. Certainly the Topalov camp felt like that. Read an article by Mark Crowther of TWIC on this, posted just after the match. As for your claim that Elista made it more likely that Topalov was cheating in San Luis.. well, it is breathtakingly absurd on so many levels. I'll leave you to figure it out.

Here we go again!

Danilov suing Chessabase.

Wow, nice post,there are many person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post.Thank you for sharing to us.Please one more post about that..

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