Mar 30, 2016

A Winning Move in Chess Broadcasting Rights Battle?

Agon Limited is the organiser of the World Chess Championship and broadcasts live matches on its website.  In contrast to other sports, the broadcast is of graphic boards showing the players' moves as the players compete. Until recently, chess broadcasting was not policed, and many websites would transmit the players' moves without permission. However, Agon has recently decided to take action against this and has sued four websites that broadcast the live matches claiming that their broadcasts are in breach of Agon's exclusive broadcasting rights.

Agon allows the broadcast to be viewed for free, and according to Agon, the decision to enforce their exclusive broadcasting rights is intended to encourage sponsorship.  Agon has been criticised for its approach by fans.  They think that Agon is impinging on their enjoyment of the game in order to profit.

However, Agon's view is in line with WIPO's explanation of broadcaster's rights which are meant to safeguard investment and recognise and reward entrepreneurial efforts and the "contribution to diffusion of information and culture."

It is not clear at this time which jurisdictions Agon had brought infringement proceedings so further analysis of the protections available is not possible at this stage however, it is worth reading our recent article entitled "Copyright Infringement – 'Stumped' By 8 Second Clip of Cricket Match." which deals with the current position under the law of England.

in: Copyright, Digital/Tech, News

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