Intellectual Property is alive on the Internet

Most Internet users are fully aware of the existence of IP rights in this realm. Some choose not to respect their existence – but most know they exist- just as most people know that you are forbidden to take ones book- copy its content and sell it as your own. The following decision regarding the use of RSS Protocol allowed for a discussion on the interaction between Internet and copyrights, and for the search for the best legal ways for them to co-exist.

What is The RSS Protocol?

Frequently used in websites, it is recognized by this Trademark :

” The XML code for RSS describes a new type of Web information called a “news feed.” Essentially, the feeds can contain a summary and links of the new content on a Web site or anything else a creator desires to share. A company may publish an RSS feed that contains news of its latest products, for example.

Anyone — an online surfer or another Web site — can pick up the RSS codes and with the appropriate Web software display the information automatically.”

(Source: ABC NEWS web site https://abcnews.go.com/Site/page/rss–3520115).

Although in first glance, it seems as if the RSS Protocol is nothing but a technical tool used in running internet sites, a closer examination of it shows, that it is an excellent example of how the Internet and its new rules, tools, and platforms engage with the existing legal system and its fundamentals.

The Apeldorf v. Itschak case:

This case is about a blogger’s copyrights, allegedly infringed by a news site which copied the blog almost in its entirety from the blogger’s site into the news site.

This court decision is food for thought on extremely important and central issues in society such as ownership rights, public domain, fair use, the character of the Internet, the effect of the internet on individuals as well as other legal entities lives and many more. We chose to concentrate on the issue of Internet and IP rights.

In civil case 45536-07-11 , Apeldorf v. Itschak and others, in the Israeli Magistrate’s Court of the city of Petach Tikva,

The honorable  Judge Oshrit Rotkopf, wrote (in January 2013), an in-depth decision, that includes an opinion on the complex issues deriving from RSS Protocol used on websites regarding the copyright protected works posted on them.

The case: The Plaintiff, Adv.Tomer Apeldorf, published about 100 different professional posts on intellectual property on his blog (https://apfeldorf.co.il/) for a period of 3 years. He discovered that some of his posts were published on a news website owned and managed by defendants (www.news1.co.il.).

Plaintiff claimed that the use of his original content was made not by simply using a link to his blog but by copying the content and posting it on the defendant’s site. According to plaintiff, not only were his copyrights infringed but the use of his posts by the defendant infringed the plaintiff’s moral rights in them- by making different unauthorized changes that damaged his work, and as a result- damaged his name and reputation.

Defendants claimed that the plaintiff used the RSS Protocol on his Website, and by doing so he invited anyone (them included), to make use of the content on it. This invitation means that they did not infringe any rights.

The Honrable Judge Rotkopf concluded:

* The very fact that the RSS Protocol is installed in a website, does not constitute in itself a waiver by the plaintiff of his protection by law of his copyrighted works.

*That said, and as noted in a learned publication by the authors Karniel and Nessimian, the boundaries in the Internet space have become blurred and the parties’ conduct must be examined through the lenses of common internet behavior.

* The Plaintiff did not choose a default function in the RSS Protocol by which it will send subscribers only headings. He chose to allow the Protocol to send Plaintiff’s complete texts.

* Plaintiff’s conduct – indicates that he indeed agreed to the blurring of boundaries –between his ownership of the works and the right of other parties to make use of them and that he agreed that his works in their entirety will be sent via the RSS Protocol.

*As a result, by plaintiff’s behavior, Defendants could have understood, in the context of the internet space, that Plaintiff waived his rights in the content or works posted on his website (copyrights protecting his works).

*The court denied Plaintiff’s claims of Moral right infringement and accepted Defendants claim that they made Fair use of the works, amongst others, by publishing the Plaintiff’s name as their author.

***This article is a report of a court decision and it should not in any way be considered legal advice of any kind, and should not be used as such by any way or means.

Penned by Rachel Pasher EIjkenaar, adv. , Isaac Mazliach Attorneys

 

 

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