Israel Stands Up to US Pressure

Israel has informed the US government that it won’t enforce Digital Rights Management (DRM), nor will she enforce Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to nanny content providers, to ensure that copyright material isn’t posted.

Israel submitted their position to the US Trade Representative, following criticism from the “International Intellectual Property Alliance” (IIPA) who claims that Israel does not reach their standards for enforcing copyright. 

The IIPA has influenced Israel being on the US Watch list of countries not doing enough to prevent copyright abuse.  Israel legislated a new Copyright Law last year and has significantly increased statutory damages for copyright infringement, albeit at the discretion of the judge.

The IIPA would like Israel to enforce the DRM, but Israel is not a signatory to the two WIPO treaties mentioning DRM. Israel has argued that  the US system which requires allegedly copyright material to be immediately taken down from websites in a kind of virtual Anton Pillar action, is an invitation to censorship and claims that it is not the role of the ISP or Host to police content.

Another criticism might be that the creative artists never saw any benefit from the Napster case, and the whole DRM approach just does not work. That as may be, Israel has been downgraded from the Priority Watch List to the regular Watch List, which is a positive development.

What is fascinating about this communication is that Olmert has a history of capitulation to overseas pressure on IP issues. Under his courageous leadership, Israel has backed down against the EU and agreed to mark the produce of westbank settlements as such, and Israel’s ambulance service, the Magen David Adom (Red star of David) has joined the International Red Cross by forfeiting their logo and agreeing to adopt a red rectangle when providing International Humanitarian Aid. It seems that the current Prime Minister may have some backbone after all.



Categories: Copyright, EPO, Intellectual Property, Israel IP

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