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Joel Lautier is against Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite

by Boris Schipkov

Chessville: Other sports benefit far more from corporate sponsorships than chess seems to do. As a chess professional, you would probably like to see this change. What could be done to attract more money to support the royal game?
GM Lautier: In addition to a sponsored professional circuit of tournaments, which I have already discussed at length, the ACP will research what can be done in terms of defending the players' copyrights to their games. It is hard not to agree with Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov, when he points out how unfair it is when chess organizers, writers and other players use the fruits of his analysis and work shown in his games to earn money without paying him any tribute. This obviously holds true for any strong player's games published without asking his permission, when his ideas and discoveries become public property. This state of affairs is not quite normal in my view, for a well-played game involves an act of creation that is valued by other people. Hence, like any value, it should have a price.
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It is a very strange that such chess professional as GM Lautier has read few about copyrights and Copyright Law. Games, scoresheets and moves do not pertain to works of authorship, also as ideas, processes, discoveries, facts, news. Games are not literary or artistic works.
In the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, international copyright agreement, we can read: "The expression "literary and artistic works" shall include every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression, such as books, pamphlets and other writings; lectures, addresses, sermons and other works of the same nature; dramatic or dramatico-musical works; choreographic works and entertainments in dumb show; musical compositions with or without words; cinematographic works to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to cinematography; works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and lithography; photographic works to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to photography; works of applied art; illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science.
The protection of this Convention shall not apply to news of the day or to miscellaneous facts having the character of mere items of press information".
Also in the Copyright Law of the United States we see: "Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:
(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
(7) sound recordings; and
(8) architectural works".

One player makes a knight move, his rival shifts a queen on the a5-square. These are simple facts. Therefore any person can free record moves of games (chess, yacht, go, chequers, cards, battleships etc), publish games etc. We see Lautier and Sveshnikov unfairly and illegally would like to get money from chess organizers, writers and other players for unannotated games.

Now we consider fantastic and absurd situation that games are under copyright protection. When I was working on the "Novosibirsk Sicilian B33" I saw the game Anand, V - Lautier, J, Investbanka 1997. Lautier won and it was his only victory over Viswanathan Anand for the last seven years. It is interesting that in 1997-2003 Anand, was playing against Lautier, won 7 games, drawn 7 games, lost only 1 game.
However, in the game Lagunov, D - Schipkov, B, Novosibirsk 1984 this variation 11. c4 f5 12. cxb5 Nd4 was played in the first time for all the chess history and Lautier repeated my moves 11...f5 and 12...Nd4 (12...f5 and 13...Nd4, because he played 2...e6, then 7...e5). The game Lagunov, D - Schipkov, B was published in the newspaper "Vecherny Novosibirsk" in 1984. Then the magazine "Shakhmaty v SSSR" (Chess in the USSR) published my article on the line 10....Bg7 "Za shag do tabii" (One step before tabiya) in 1986 with this game. Then Sveshnikov, of course without my permission, has taken the games from my article and published in his book "Sitsilianskaya zaschita 5...e5". If my game was under copyright protection Lautier must ask my written permission on the moves 11...f5 and 12...Nd4 before his game against Anand or/and pay me some money after his game in the case if he did not know about the owner of copyright on those moves. We see Lautier and Sveshnikov have used the fruits of my analysis and work shown in my game to earn money (prize in the tournament and royalty for the book) and glory for victory over the famous opponent without paying me any tribute.

So Joel Lautier is against Liberty ("players' copyrights to their games"), Equality ("strong player's games") and Fraternity ("chess organizers, writers and other players use the fruits ... without paying him any tribute").


© 2000-2004 Boris Schipkov