U.S. judge rejects World Chess bid to block websites from airing moves

(Reuters) - Organizers of the World Chess Championship on Thursday failed to persuade a federal judge to block rival website operators from broadcasting chess moves at the upcoming Nov. 11-30 match in New York.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero ruled that the tournament organizers had not made a sufficient case to justify a preliminary injunction. He said the public interest would be served by “robust reporting,” and analysis of the event.

Tournament organizers World Chess U.S. Inc and World Chess Events Ltd filed a lawsuit on Monday in Manhattan federal court seeking to limit the operators from transmitting the moves from the 12-game contest between world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

In their lawsuit World Chess U.S. and World Chess Events had accused the defendants of “unauthorized free-riding” off of their investments to organize and televise the event. World Chess claimed they should have the exclusive right to disseminate the chess moves in real time.

The defendants E-Learning Ltd and Logical Thinking Ltd, which operate website, had argued in court papers that World Chess was seeking to stop websites from reporting on information already in the public domain and not protected by copyright law.

The defendants also said that they would not simply be copying audiovisual content generated by World Chess, but displaying the moves on their own computerized chess board while adding commentary and analysis.

Dmitry Peskov, a senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin is attending the World Chess Championship this week as Moscow’s representative, according to Interfax.

However, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) will miss the championship as he was not issued a visa to enter the country, according to the TASS news agency.

The FIDE boss was added to a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list in November 2015 for “materially assisting and acting for, or on behalf of, the government of Syria (and) Central Bank of Syria.”

Reporting by Nathan Layne in New York, editing by G Crosse