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World Chess Championship organisers issue lawsuit over piracy

Organisers of the World Chess Championship have filed lawsuits against three websites over potential piracy of the sport’s showpiece event, which gets underway later this week.

The World Chess Championship takes place in the US city of New York from November 11-30, pitting defending champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway against Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin (pictured).

In a bid to protect the event’s rights, organisers World Chess US and World Chess Events have filed a lawsuit that aims to limit websites from showing moves.

Organisers are seeking to protect their exclusive rights to news of the moves and will broadcast the event with the backing of the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

“These entities expend no time, effort, or money of their own in organising, producing, or hosting the chess events for the World Championship and instead reap economic benefit from free-riding on the work and effort of World Chess,” the lawsuit read, according to the Reuters news agency.

Daniel Freeman, owner of Chessgames Services, claimed that news of moves should be public knowledge once they have been made. “It’s my position that I’m not pirating and never have been,” Freeman told Reuters. “Of course, I would respect an injunction. … But unless I receive that, I plan on broadcasting the moves as they become known to me.”

The move represents the latest attempt by organisers to protect the sport’s rights. In March, Agon, the organiser and commercial rights-holder of the World Chess Championship cycle, launched legal action against four websites for “blatantly flouting” restrictions on the live coverage of the games and moves at the World Chess Candidates tournament in Moscow, Russia.

The action came after Agon introduced a new rights model for this year’s events whereby all video footage, as well as moves from each game, are shown exclusively at WorldChess.com and approved broadcast partners in certain countries.

It had previously been common practice that all websites were able to receive moves without broadcast limitations.