The Facts

The district court of Tel-Aviv has ruled today, 1.5.2012, that actors Dubi Gal, Arieh Uri, and their production company must pay compensation to the tune of 220,000NIS to author and journalist Avirama Golan and composer Misha Blachrovitch, for copyright infringement of the children’s play ‘Karius and Bactus’. The original children’s story was written and illustrated by Norwegian author and illustrator Thorbjørn Egner in 1949.

Previous Cases

In 1982 Golan adapted the story into a children’s play and wrote nine songs for it, which were then composed by Blachrovitch. Gal starred in the play which was put on hundreds of times in the last few years.

In 2007 it was brought to the plaintiffs’ attention that Gal was putting on his own version of the production, with new adaptations of the songs and show tunes. The plaintiffs brought suit against Gal and his company by means of their attorney, Adv. Nahum Gavrieli of Zeligson-Gavrieli Law Offices. In the suit they claimed that in the advertisement for the defendants’ production they are not accredited, nor have they received any royalties as creators of the production.

In an initial ruling given previously in this case, Tel Aviv District Court Justice Dr. Dafna Avnieli ruled that four counts of infringing use of the production were made by the defendants. She accordingly granted a permanent injunction barring the infringing production from being produced. In addition she ruled that compensation will be awarded at a later date.

Ruling

This week Dr. Avnieli ruled that Gal and his production company, Misgav Uri, were making infringing use of the production over a number of years by plagiarizing the production without accrediting the rightful creators, Golan and Blachrovitch, making only minor changes in the production.

“Plagiarism, making only minor changes in the dialog and tunes, is still plagiarism” said Judge Avnieli in today’s ruling. As such, she awarded the plaintiff 110,000NIS apiece, plus 25,000NIS in legal fees. In addition she commented that the defendants failed to accredit the plaintiffs’ contribution to the production, and even when ordered to remedy this injustice, did so only partially.

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