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Colonial Cases

Copyright case, 1929


Source: Palestine Bulletin, 2 December 1929


In Court.


   The first case of its kind in Palestine will be decided today.  Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil" was published in Hebrew in Poland.  The Polish translation was published without the permission or the knowledge of the author.

   At the same time, Tarbuth acquired the rights of Hebrew translation from the author.  Tarbuth announced the publication of this Hebrew translation.  Meanwhile, a Tel Aviv publishing firm secured the plates of the Polish translation and proceeded to publish the novel.

   A writ was issuer on the part of the Attorney General asking for a conviction against the Tel-Aviv publishing firm and for the confiscation of all the pirated copies.

   Mr. Seiger argued on the summons that the Attorney-General could not bring a criminal action until the civil claim had been lodged.  He said further, that the defendants had no knowledge of the copyright and also that there was no copyright in the Hebrew translation.  Dr. Philip Joseph, on behalf of the Attorney-General argued that the criminal charge was not dependent on the civil claim, the copyright was a proprietary right and that knowledge on the part of the defendant could be proved.

   The Magistrate will give his decision today.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School