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Colonial Cases

Musical Copyright, 1930


Musical Copyright

Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 16 January 1930



   The first action in Palestine under the Copyright Ordinance for infringement of musical copyright terminated last week when the  Jerusalem magistrate Dr. Korngrin imposed a fine of LP 1 with costs on the proprietors of the Zion Cinema.  The orchestra at that cinema used to play music in which copyright subsists without the owners of the copyright getting anything in the form of a fee.  This went on for years till the composers getting tired of that state of affairs at last took action.  They appointed Messrs. M. Kovalsky and Son as their agents and instructed them to proceed in the Courts of Palestine under the Copyright Ordinance, which was promulgated in the year 1924.  The trial took some months, being adjourned from time to time.  The lawyer for the defence, Mr. Auster, raised various preliminary objections.  Witnesses were heard proving that certain music was played at the Cinema and, in the end, Mr. Guth admitted that the orchestra employed by him played the music as charged.  The Magistrate, passing judgment as aforesaid, called attention to the existence of an Ordinance protecting the rights of composers and pointed out that he passed a nominal fine in this case as this was the first prosecution under the Ordinance.  The prosecution was conducted by advocate Freidenberg authorised for that purpose by the Attorney General.

   The composers adaptations of whose works were used, were: Fetras, Strauss, Mendelssohn Bartholdi Massant, Schubert, Rubinstein, Godard, Eberle, Gounod, Dvorak, Schumann.

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