Legal background

Scope and duration of copyright

Does copyright end immediately after the minimum period mandated by the Berne Convention? No
Works are generally protected for 70 years after the author's death. Works published by the government and recordings, are protected for 50 years.
CA s.38-44
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of IP rights under competition law, for example by imposing compulsory licensing or regulating royalties charged by dominant rights holders? Yes
The Antitrust Tribunal has affirmed the Antitrust General Director's decision, casting restrictions on Akum (Israel's Copyright Collective) in seeking remedies against infringements, including limitations on Akum's right to seek temporary injunctions against infringers and limitation on its ability to claim statutory damages. Also, the Tribunal affirmed a resembling decision regarding the IFRC (Producers' Rights Collective).
IFRC, Akum
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of IP rights pursuant to a bill of rights or similar human rights instrument, for example by preventing copyright from being used to stifle protected speech? In part
Lower courts indicate such interpretation.
Can databases of non-original material be reproduced without infringing a copyright or sui generis database right? In part
Databases which originality was used in the picking and the ordering of its content are considered 'Literary Works' and carry the same protections against reproduction.
CA s.1, 4
Are rights holders prohibited from excluding user rights under copyright law? No
Contracts prevail over limitation and exceptions under national copyright law.
Is computer software excluded from the scope of patentable subject matter? In part
Software is not excluded explicitly but the patent registrar and the courts have deemed software patents invalid. However, on January 2012 the new Patents Registrar have published a draft for comments, which makes software eligible to patentability in Israel.

Freedoms to access and use

By Home UsersIs there any general user right that is based on a set of balancing criteria, such as a "fair use" right? Yes
Copyright Law has a Fair Use exception, based on four criteria (purpose, type, extent and value impact of use) and Incidental Use exception.
CA s.19, 22
Is time, space and format shifting allowed (such as ripping music from CD to an MP3 player)? No
CA s.12
Can consumers reproduce copyright material for their own use in the original format, for example for backup purposes? In part
Fair Use can be interpreted as permitting reproduction for personal use under the general conditions, though no precedent exist. Reproduction of licensed software for the purposes of system maintaining, backup or security risk assessment is allowed.
CA 18, 19, 24
Can works be communicated to a limited public (for example, family and friends) without infringing copyright? In part
Licensee is prohibited to communicate the licensed work to public ("private performance" is open to court interpretation).
For EducationMay students copy works for private research or study? Yes
Subject to fair use criteria: usage purpose, nature of the work, usage scope, affect on the commercial value of the copyrighted work and its potential market.
CA s. 19 CO s. 1-2
Does any such research and study provision cover distance and online education? In part
Said provisions do not cover explicitly but also do not exclude explicitly.
CA s. 19
May translations of works be made for educational purposes? Yes
If fair use criteria is satisfied.
CA s.19
May educators copy works for use in the classroom? Yes
If fair use criteria is satisfied.
CA s. 19
OnlineAre temporary or transient copies, incidental to a lawful use, excepted from copyright? Yes
CA s.26
Does the law exclude or limit the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs for copyright infringements carried out on their network? In part
ISPs are only liable for vicarious copyrights infringement if they have actual knowledge of an infringement and substantial contribution to that infringement. Ignoring a takedown notice establishes a presumption of knowledge and contribution.
Shoken, Alis
Is Internet access free of ISP filtering or monitoring for potential copyright-infringements? In part
Research shows that ISPs conduct traffic shaping an deep packet inspection to minimize heavy uses (such as bittorrent).
By content creatorsIs there any protection for consumers who non-commercially remix or mash up copyright works? In part
Remixed or mashed up works may be legal if done according to fair use criteria or incidental use.
CA s.22
May computer software be reproduced or transformed for the purpose of reverse-engineering interoperable software? Yes
The law protects the right to create a derivative work for the purpose of interoperability. However, reverse engineering specifically is not discussed.
CA s.24
Is the incidental inclusion of a work in other material permitted? In part
Incidental inclusion of copyrighted work maybe allowed in a limited manner, excluding musical works.
CA s.22
Is there are copyright exception for parody or satire? Yes
Satire is excluded but not parody.
By the pressIs there a copyright exception for the news of the day? Yes
The news of the day are not protected; however, the form of expression of news is protected.
CA s.5(5)
May copyright material be reproduced for the purposes of review and criticism? Yes
If fair use criteria is satisfied.
CA s.19
May quotations be used for any purpose? In part
There are no explicit exceptions for quotations, aside from the standard permitted uses.
CA mark D
By LibrariesMay libraries copy works if they cannot reasonably be obtained commercially? In part
Only types of works determined by the Minister of Justice, and for preservation only.
CA s.30-31
May librarians copy works for users for the purpose of research or study? Yes
CA s.30 (B)
Are libraries allowed to make preservation or archive copies of materials in their collections? In part
It can be done for the purpose of work preserving and replacement of a damaged copy.
CA s. 30 (A)(1)
Can lending libraries operate without incurring public lending rights fees to copyright owners? Yes
Public libraries and educational facilities' libraries can lend, and such an action does constitute copyright violation or require royalty payment.
CA s. 17
By disabled usersIs it permissible to copy or adapt work for the use of those with disabilities? In part
According to provisions in "Equal opportunity to disable people" act.
In public affairsAre laws excluded from copyright? Yes
CA s.6
Are other governmental works either excluded from copyright, or routinely shared under permissive licences? Yes
Parliament protocols and courts decisions are excluded from copyright.
CA s.6
Are the results of publicly funded research required to be published under an open access licence? No

Freedoms to share and transfer

Do copyright owners have the right to release their works to the public domain, without any limitation on how those works may be used? Yes
As long as rights transfer is made in writing.
Can public domain works be used without the need for any payment or registration of the use? Yes
Attribution is still required as a default.
Does the law make special provision for the legal use of orphaned works? Yes
The duration of copyright is limited to 70 year after the creation or first publication of the work.
CA 40
Is parallel importation of copyright works permitted? Yes
Court may injunction parallel importation in a case of bad faith.
Are there national programmes or policies to promote the use, production or dissemination of openly-licensed material such as free and open source software or open educational resources? In part
Government provides limited incentives for open source by funding open source software localization projects and adopting open source in governmental offices and institutes.
Are there national programmes or policies that specify or promote the use of open document formats? No

Administration and enforcement

What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for an individual? 2,260,000NIS (~600,000USD) fine + 100,000NIS (~26,000USD) Statutory Damages CA s.56, 62
What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for a corporation? Double fine, same damages as individual. CA s.56, 62
Is innocent infringement of IP treated differently by the law? In part
Innocent infringement is is exempt from liability, however, an innocent infringer is only an infringer who did not know and should not have known that the work is protected by copyright.
CA s. 58
Is the creation or distribution of devices that can circumvent technological protection measures (TPM) permitted, where such devices can be used for legal purposes? Yes
Is the use of such devices by consumers or intermediaries permitted in the legal exercise of user rights? Yes
Does national copyright or consumer protection law require that the effect of TPMs distributed with copyright works be disclosed to consumers? In part
Subject to standard laws regarding adequate disclosure of essential matters to consumers.
Are there cases in which the availability of injunctive relief for IP infringement is limited by the law on public policy grounds? In part
The copyright law explicitly allows the court to dismiss a justified injunction relief due to adequate grounds against it (including inter alia, public policy), however the court has never used said authority.
CA s. 53
Does the law protect a user's Internet access from being suspended for alleged copyright infringement, except after a hearing in court? No
The Supreme Court have indicated that internet access is part of the freedom of speech, and thus has constitutional defense against intervention. However, no law or explicit precedent was set in the matter. In addition, John Doe proceedings are not allowed in Israel.
Are criminal sanctions limited to cases of large-scale commercial counterfeiting? Yes
commercial, but not only large scale
CA s. 62
Are damages for copyright infringement limited to the loss sustained, rather than a pre-established or statutory damages award? Yes
Statutory damages are subject to the damage the plaintiff incurred by the courts estimation (no requirements to prove damage).
CA s. 56
Is there provision to penalise the wrongful allegation of copyright infringement? No
Is there provision to penalise the obstruction of consumers' exercise of user rights? No
Does the patent system allow for pre-grant opposition? Yes
PA s. 30-31

Recent or upcoming changes

Recent changes in Israel are not the result of new legislation, which haven't changed for few years now. The changes result, mainly, from increasing public awareness – both by consumers, as part of the global trend (Israel is an internet-oriented society), and also by the major rights owners, who are increasing their enforcement.

In addition, and perhaps as a result of the above, Israeli courts give more and more ruling in the field of intellectual property, large part of which resolve legal issues which were unaddressed  so far. For example, the Supreme Court ruled, in the case of Rami Mor, that until the legislator resolves the issue of IP disclosure by ISPs with the proper legislation (which does not seem to be done with expedience at the moment) , a plaintiff cannot file a John Doe procedure in Israel. Another example is the setting of clear tests for vicarious liability, which are more lenient than that of the US, whereas they require actual (not constructive) knowledge of infringement. An Israeli court have even allowed the streaming and re-streaming of live sport events without the broadcasting rights owner's permission [PL].

One can say that all-in-all the status-quo between consumers and rights owners is being preserved, with the exclusion of patent law, which seem to be leaning more and more towards rights owners, as part of the global trends from Europe and the US (for example, the Patent Registrar is, for the first time in Israel, accepting software patents). 


Summary of position

Israel's recently-passed Copyright Act is notable as containing one of the few examples outside the United States of a broad general exception for fair use.  It also contains a balanced and modern provision for the reproduction of computer software, which includes some innovative exceptions such as reproduction for the purposes of service or maintenance of computer software, and for addressing bugs and security issues.

Whilst modern in this respect, the Copyright Act perhaps anachronistically - but more likely quite deliberately - omits to deal with the circumvention of Technological Protection Mechanisms (TPM), thus allowing Israeli consumers to utilize their fair uses rights unfettered by blanket technical limitations.  Combined with the fact that mere possession of infringing material without commercial intent is not criminalized, Israel's law demonstrates remarkable balance in the face of significant pressure from content owners for a law slated in their interests.

In addition, the increase of litigation regarding internet-based infringements has forced the Israeli courts to create common law norms regarding copyright infringement in the digital age. The Supreme Court has shown discretion and foresight in creating a balanced vicarious infringement tests and denying relief from right holders seeking remedies outside the scope of the available procedure, and lower courts usually protect users' right, where such right are not explicitly granted to the copyright owners. 

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