About a year ago I asked whether I can commercially publish a chess book containing chess positions that were played by real people. I got pretty convincing replies, which solved the question for me (i.e., that chess games including names and places and piece positions cannot be copyrighted, but annotations and collections can).
So now I've finished my book, containing real life examples of chess games played by real people with my own annotations, and I was almost ready to publish it, when I learned that the Canadian Chess Federation had recently been sued for publishing (on their website) a chess game with their own annotations, but featuring real people. A link for the discussion is here, and here are some excerpts:
And yet someone is trying to do so. We (the Chess Federation of Canada) are being sued in small claims court in Burlington, Ontario by someone alleging that they own the copyright to a game that was published on our website newsfeed.
Perhaps more worrying is this:
The names of the players are given on our newsfeed. Our editor included his own annotations including a brief quote of something Botvinnik said about one of the intermediate positions. There are no annotations from either of the original players. The litigant is trying to make new law. If he is successful we will probably no longer be able to post chess games on our website and will have to close down our email news magazine.
So a major chess publisher/club is being sued for exactly the things I was told are not sue-able in my previous stack exchange post.
The person concludes that:
I believe a national Canadian and prominent NY paper are also being sued.
So now I'm having second thoughts about publishing my book. This is obviously a hobby for me and I have a family, a day job to take care of and I don't want to waste time and money defending myself in court.