Israeli Legislature Advances Copyright Law Amendments for Combatting Online Infringements

The Knesset, the Israeli legislature, has voted to approve first reading of the Copyright Law Amendment Bill aimed at enhancing copyright holders’ rights in light of the difficulties they face in enforcing infringements committed on or through the Internet. The Bill emphasizes that it targets commercial-oriented online infringements and does not address enforcement against end users.

The Bill seeks to extend into the online world the prohibitions on vicarious (indirect) infringements. As an example, the Bill provides that commercially facilitating online access to or use of existing infringing content, shall be actionable civilly and criminally, if the person doing so knew or had reason to know that the content posted online (to which they have facilitated access) infringes copyrights. One such activity that is meant to be captured by this new prohibition is the distribution of software, such as Kodi/Popcorn Time, for streaming pre-existing pirated content.

The Bill also introduces a mechanism to obtain a court order to block access to infringing content, with which Internet access providers or hosting providers will be compelled to comply with. Additionally, the Bill introduces John Doe subpoenas which for the first time in Israeli statutory law enable copyright holders to seek a District court order compelling disclosure of the identity of anonymous infringers.

CLICK HERE to the read the bill (in Hebrew).