Authors and Users: Lessons From Outre-Mer

Although states have different cultural and legal traditions, copyright is a legal discipline that unites many aspects of these traditions.

The globalization of culture and creative collaboration, the effect of virtual worlds in dismantling physical borders, peoples’ constant search to share and consume diverse cultural commodities and information, and the success of copyright harmonization through treaties and conventions, legal transplantation and diffusion of norms and principles between states – all contribute to this unity and the nature of copyright as a global discipline. As such, comparative inquiries into the development of copyright norms in other countries, as opposed to less harmonized legal fields, can immensely benefit the process of international harmonization and local debates on the legitimate boundaries of copyright. This article takes the Israeli copyright system as its organizing principle and provides insights from recent Israeli copyright decisions delivered mainly by the Supreme Court. These decisions will remind foreign readers of many of the landmark decisions that they find in their local jurisdiction. The cases examined demonstrate how the Israeli Supreme Court, like the Canadian Supreme Court that shook the foundations of Canadian copyright law, constantly requires to update existing principles, reject obsolete principles and refine the spectrum of copyright ownership, while remaining attentive to the social needs of authors and users. The cases show that learning from other legal systems has a unique normative value. This value is grounded not only in showing that Israeli copyright law is comprehensible and adequate, but in the mechanisms that the Israeli system has developed to resolve complex legal problems with which other systems deal.

Featured here is the first part of an article by Dr. Lior Zemer. The full article will appear in an upcoming issue of the Intellectual Property Journal.

Dr. Lior Zemer is a Lecturer in Law at Radzyner School of Law and Visiting Associate Professor at Boston University School of Law. He has previously taught at the faculties of law in Leicester and Birmingham, UK and at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. The opinions expressed in this paper are his own.