Israel Amends Its Copyright Law with Additional Enforcement Measures

The Knesset (the Israeli legislature), in one of its last legislative moves before the upcoming general elections in Israel, has approved a major amendment to Israel's Copyright Law of 2007. The amendment is aimed at enhancing the rights of copyright holders due to the difficulties they face in enforcing infringements committed on or through the internet, especially with regard to online piracy.

Rights owners can now initiate court proceedings for the removal of copyright infringing content on the internet, if it is hosted in Israel. Israeli Courts can now also order Israeli internet access providers (IAPs) to block and restrict access to copyright-infringing websites. The amendment lays down the procedure and factors the Court must weigh when issuing such orders, including the necessity of the order, the severity of the alleged infringement, the privacy of internet users and whether an order will affect other online sources.
The Amendment also 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.     

The amendment extends the prohibitions on vicarious (indirect) infringements. It provides that commercially facilitating online access to or use of existing infringing content shall be actionable both 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. The amendment also regulates the use of "orphan works", where the copyright owner is unknown, and provides some reliefs for non-commercial infringements. 

CLICK HERE to read the legislated amendments (in Hebrew).