Your ideas are a valuable asset. In this digital era which allows us to copy content easily
and expediently, it is important that you protect your intellectual property.
What Are Copyrights?
Copyrights protect the manner in which intangible assets are expressed. The expression
of these intangible assets is usually the product of a cognitive, intellectual, or creative
talent. Copyrights protect four primary types of work:
literary work, artistic work,
dramatic work and musical work. In addition, there are also copyrights in records. The
purpose of copyrights is to encourage the diversity in expressions and in the existing
knowledge and to enrich the world of expressions.
Not every work is entitled to be protected by copyrights. In order to qualify the protection
of copyrights, a work must fulfill a number of rules. First the work needs to be classified
as a literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. Part of these terms are defined in the law,
and part of them are defined in various cases. In addition, the work needs to be an “original” work, which means that the work needs to embody in it some degree of
It is important to mention that there is a distinction between the idea that is embodied in
the work and between the manner in which this idea is expressed,
The protection of the copyrights shall be on the manner the idea is expressed and not on the idea itself. The reason for this is because the public has an interest in being able to use the ideas freely so they can promote the culture and develop it.
The Financial Rights of the Creator
The Copyright Law, (2008) which replaced the mandatory legislation of 1911 defines
copyrights as “the exclusive right to perform in regards to the work, or part of it, one
action or more as specified below, according to the type of work”. The law defines a
group of financial rights that allow the creator to enforce his right to take certain actions
in relating to his work, and to prevent others from taking such actions. These rights
include: the right to copy the work, the right to publish the unpublished work, the right to
perform live, the right to broadcast the work, the right to publicize the work, the right to
create a derivative work, and the right to rent the work. Copyrights have a limited
duration: they exist throughout the life of the creator plus another seventy years.
Copyrights are a negotiable asset, which allows the owner of the right to commercialize
the copyright, sell it, grant licenses to use it, etc. The ownership in copyrights is usually
given to the creator.
The owner of the copyright does not receive absolute exclusivity in the copyright, and
there are circumstances where a third party shall be entitled to use the work. In addition,
in order to balance between different interests, such as granting the work a proper
financial incentive on the one side and allowing the public to use the works in order to
promote the culture and knowledge of the other side, the law allows the fair use of the
work. “Fair use” is an exception to the protection of copyrights, and it is used for
purposes such as: self study, research, criticism, review, journalistic report, teaching and
examination in an educational institute. The law states that in order to examine ‘the
fairness of the use”, one has to consider amongst other things, “the purpose of the use and
it character”, the character of the work used”, “the qualitative and quantitative magnitude
of the use in comparison to the whole work”, and “the effect of the use on the value of the
work and its potential market”.
The Moral Rights of the Creator
In addition to the financial rights that have an economic meaning, the creator has another
right that is known as “the moral right”. The moral right is the creator’s personal right,
and it deals in the connection between the creator and his work. This right includes in it
two subsidiary rights: the parenting right (“the right to receive credit”) which is meant to
guarantee that the work of the creator will be attributed to him, and the “right to
perfection”, which is aimed at preventing any harm to the creator’s work and/or its
distortion by others.
The Infringement of Copyrights
The infringement of copyrights may bring with it a variety of remedies. The new Copyright Act grants the courts the authority to rule in cases of copyright infringements compensations of up to the amount of NIS 100,000 for every infringement without the need to prove damages. In order to rule in the matter of the compensation, the courts examine the circumstances of the case, including: the magnitude of the infringement, the duration of the infringement, the severity of the actual damage to the plaintiff, the profit the defendant gained, the good faith of the defendant and etc.
In addition to the copyrights, the performing artists enjoy additional rights: performers’ rights. A performer is a person who performs via acting, singing, playing, dancing or any other way a literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. These rights are basically “negative” rights that determine that the performer has the right to prevent that the following actions shall be done without his consent: the impression, reproduction, broadcasting, selling, borrowing, renting, distribution, import, or the possession for commercial purposes of the performer’s performance. The performer is entitled to proper royalties due to the playing or displaying of his performances. The performers also have moral rights regarding their performances.
The Importance of Copyrights
Our digital era is characterized by the fact that different works, including works that are protected by copyrights, are easily copied and published. Today the creators can monitor and protect their works in an easier and cheaper way. the users of these protected works need to meticulously examine in advance the rights of the works they use in order to avoid infringement of copyrights.
Our law firm shall be delighted to assist you in consulting in the following legal matters: representing and supporting artists/talents, registration and protection of copyrights, handling and representing in lawsuits concerning the infringement of copyrights.