The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by Mick Norris » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:55 pm

Richard Bates wrote:Nice spot via S&B blog comments. Apparently one of Agon's much vaunted sponsors is contrary to the regulations as they are banned under IOC rules on approved products!
Anyone got a link to IOC rules?

FIDE getting thrown out of the IOC because of Agon would be interesting
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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:02 pm

Richard Bates wrote:Nice spot via S&B blog comments. Apparently one of Agon's much vaunted sponsors is contrary to the regulations as they are banned under IOC rules on approved products!
That comment in full
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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:26 pm

Where is 4.7.6.3.2? I can't find it.

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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:34 pm

NickFaulks wrote:Where is 4.7.6.3.2? I can't find it.
https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/regs ... es2016.pdf

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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:35 pm

I suspect 4.7.3.6.2 is meant
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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by Michael Mkpadi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:37 am

Agon have every right to decide to lock in a group of top chess players in a room who are there by consent and make them play a number of games. Then due to a prior agreement with the governing body who signed away rights to dictate anything other than the rules of the game, Agon can forbid anyone publish the moves from a chess journalistic view point if they sign an agreement. Which you do when you visit the venue or their website. It is also reasonable for them to assume that anyone sharing those moves has flouted their agreement or passed on information to a 3rd party again with the intent to flout the agreement.

Where things get murky is when you say that a non-journalist cannot post the moves and discuss them on their social media timeline. The question becomes does that person, in the age of social media news journalism with blogs, 24 hour rolling news feeds and news social media timelines, constitute a De facto journalist?

Does some who happens to be in the same room as the chess fan who signed the Agon contract or has viewed that chess fan's personal social media timeline as a social friend and sees a series of moves being played between two Candidates and copies or memorizes it and posts it on their timeline or website, is that illegal or just the consequence normal, innocent and non-destructive dissemination of information in a social age?

Agon have every right to control chess journalism to the event they bought and intend to sell. They equate the reporting of news of perfunctory moves in a standard format such as PGN as akin to a work of art from two painters furiously trying to paint the other into oblivion. That is their interpretation which they are welcome to.

Agon had a choice, they could have set up news syndication agreements with the chess news media and insisted on logos and links to their content being distributed with any feed of PGN, photos or video. It could have been a boon for them but they chose to close down free chess journalism.

The fact that their new interpretation of chess journalism and chess event coverage copyright and actions against chess media organisations means newspapers like the Guardian are discussing not the Chess but the broadcasting rights and threats of legal action is unfortunate and surely not what even Agon would have wanted.
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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:43 am

Michael Mkpadi wrote:The fact that their new interpretation of chess journalism and chess event coverage copyright and actions against chess media organisations means newspapers like the Guardian are discussing not the Chess but the broadcasting rights and threats of legal action is unfortunate and surely not what even Agon would have wanted.
It was not very difficult to predict this kind of outcome. It would have been naive to expect every traditional chess broadcaster to comply with the demand, especially given the very short notice. Agon probably intentionally wanted to have this issue to blow up for the candidates: after all, apart from Norway and possibly Russia, this is an event of no importance for the general audience. Clarifying the issue now would then mitigate the media impact on the world championship, the only chess event with some sponsorship value for the general public. In six months everyone will have forgotten the article on the Guardian and the similar noise on the mainstream press. The complete absence of sponsors on the worldchess website seem to confirm this.

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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:56 am

Paolo Casaschi wrote:It would have been naive to expect every traditional chess broadcaster to comply with the demand
You're right. Traditional chess broadcasters don't want to comply with Agon because they have a business model which lets someone else pay to put on a top class event which they then monetize. Agon want to keep the income generated by the product they have paid to create. In most non-chess scenarios, that wish would not be considered to be unreasonable.

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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:07 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Paolo Casaschi wrote:It would have been naive to expect every traditional chess broadcaster to comply with the demand
You're right. Traditional chess broadcasters don't want to comply with Agon because they have a business model which lets someone else pay to put on a top class event which they then monetize. Agon want to keep the income generated by the product they have paid to create. In most non-chess scenarios, that wish would not be considered to be unreasonable.
In fact in most non-chess scenarios it is considered to be unreasonable, which is why, for instance, you cannot make other broadcasters pay for the right to give the latest scores and scorers from football matches, or the scorecard from cricket matches.
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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:08 pm

(It would also of course be considered unreasonable if the consequence of monopolising coverage was that the coverage supplied was of sufficiently poor quality as to be practically unusable - as, for instance, will continue to be the case if game scores are not provided.)
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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:09 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote: In most non-chess scenarios, that wish would not be considered to be unreasonable.
Personally I see Agon/FIDE as the pirates in this. A on-line and sometimes loyal audience has been built up by the various chess sites, goodwill being gained by hosting the coverage of relatively obscure events. Agon would like to abduct this audience and are not doing anything between the end of the Candidates and the start of the World Championship to retain any audience they may attract.

The Candidates and World Championship would and did exist before the involvement of Agon and would continue to exist without Agon. I thought their mission was supposed to be to raise the profile of chess by increasing the visibility of such events to an otherwise disinterested public. Putting onerous conditions on anyone just dropping by to see what's happening is doing the opposite.

It would be reasonable for the voters at ECF Council meetings to instruct the ECF that its FIDE Delegate should support any moves within FIDE to remove Agon from the contract, or at the very least to make it clear to them that their rights to broadcast the matches didn't extend to preventing discussion of games in progress and third party relays of the moves played.

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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:12 pm

The legal opinion, which (as I think Adam says) is not always entirely easy to follow, is clear on this at least:
Perhaps thankfully, there is no dispute in this matter that chess moves are not copyrightable under applicable law. Further, though much
muddled Internet comments confuse the situation with the video broadcasts (copyrightable), only the moves themselves are at point.
The moves themselves cannot be owned, nor their dissemination prevented. And trying to do so merely wrecks the coverage of anybody who tries to do that.
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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by NickFaulks » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:40 pm

JustinHorton wrote:(It would also of course be considered unreasonable if the consequence of monopolising coverage was that the coverage supplied was of sufficiently poor quality as to be practically unusable - as, for instance, will continue to be the case if game scores are not provided.)
We may need to drop that line of argument - we don't need it anyway. So far as I can tell, steps are being taken to make the official coverage less useless and I am willing to believe that the early problems resulted primarily from ignorance and incompetence, rather than anything more sinister.

Of course, that doesn't reflect entirely well on Agon either.

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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:05 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Paolo Casaschi wrote:It would have been naive to expect every traditional chess broadcaster to comply with the demand
You're right. Traditional chess broadcasters don't want to comply with Agon because they have a business model which lets someone else pay to put on a top class event which they then monetize. Agon want to keep the income generated by the product they have paid to create. In most non-chess scenarios, that wish would not be considered to be unreasonable.
Each scenarios has their own rules and traditions: in football sky and bt pay zillions of pounds for the broadcasting rights but anyone can watch the games on pay-tv and publish a live blog by the minute commenting on the game. The BCC and many newspaper do that without paying a penny for organizing the event.

In chess, traditionally, live games are free for anyone to comment about: you and Agon might not like it, but that's the current practice; everything can be changed, but you might expect someone to prefer to keep the long standing tradition; even more so if you announce the change few days before a major event.

Since you seem to raise the issue from the ethical point of view, let me add an additional remark: I would find odd but somehow acceptable if a private organizer decides to run his own private tournament behind closed doors, allowing only paying people onsite behind closed doors to enjoy the event. In this case however we are talking about an event that Agon runs on behalf of FIDE; FIDE is ultimately "owned" by the national chess federation that in most part of the world should respond to their members. I agree that arguing with Agon in any other place than a court of law is a waste of time; we should argue with FIDE that this should not be allowed to happen: what ultimately do the chess federations (and their members) want? Do we want Agon to make money? Do we want better sponsors for a chess world championship to the detriment of the chess fan enjoyment?

We have seen already in the past where this slippery slope might lead: everyone here remembers how in the name of the "sponsors" (or lack thereof) at some point Shirov was denied the well deserved right to challenge Kasparov in a world championship; Kramnik eventually replaced him, despite having lost the last qualification match against Shirov, ultimately just because Kramnik was more appealing to "sponsors".

Should we then skip the candidates altogether then and appoint Nakamura or Caruana to the world championship final just because "sponsors" would like them much better than anyone else for a match in New York? Agon would love that (especially looking how Nakamura is performing in Moscow).

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Re: The Agon ban of live broadcasting of Candidates games except on its own website

Post by Michael Mkpadi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:29 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote: We have seen already in the past where this slippery slope might lead: everyone here remembers how in the name of the "sponsors" (or lack thereof) at some point Shirov was denied the well deserved right to challenge Kasparov in a world championship; Kramnik eventually replaced him, despite having lost the last qualification match against Shirov, ultimately just because Kramnik was more appealing to "sponsors".

Should we then skip the candidates altogether then and appoint Nakamura or Caruana to the world championship final just because "sponsors" would like them much better than anyone else for a match in New York? Agon would love that (especially looking how Nakamura is performing in Moscow).
Well Agon's lawyers might argue that was how chess championships final matches were decided before FIDE muscled their way into our collective consciousness in the 1920's with that "Champion of FIDE" nonsense and it took them almost 15 years to convince a skeptical chess world at the time to let them get their paws on the "real" world chess championships....a decision some of us still regret to this day.

So pre-1900 you got the collective consensus on who the big 2 in the chess world were and you got them to play a match sponsored by a wealthy fan and everyone else had to lump it.

Change occurred and FIDE got its way, now change is again happening this time instigated by Agon. They probably got tired of leafing through the Annual accounts of chess24 and ICC showing how event by event they'd made profit and decided to be the ones making the profit. Problem was they had nothing worth paying for. Now that is a big problem if you are inviting the world to come and see your show.

It's almost as if a management consultant got the Agon management team onto an away day in a country club somewhere and walked them through business model canvas and capturing value from the value chain. Then someone thought they'd literally capture the value from the output of the Candidates, keep captive the global audience, put the chess media in chains and hold us all to ransom. An interesting business model.
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