Injunction Issued Against Performance of Karius and Bactus

Karius and Bactus is a children’s book written by Norweigan Author Thorbjørn Egner.

The book is about two tooth trolls Karius and Bactus (puns on “caries” [cavities] and bacteria) that live in the mouth of a little boy named Uzzi who likes sweet food and doesn’t brush his teeth. Consequently they can build their homes in his teeth as long as Uzzi doesn’t learn personal hygiene. 

The book has been translated into Hebrew and many other languages and is a favorite of kindergarten teachers and parents trying to encourage proper dental hygiene.

In 1982, Avirama Golan wrote the lyrics for a number of songs that were set to music by Misha Balcrovich and became the basis for a popular musical starring Duby Gal, a well known Israeli entertainer. Despite requests for recognition, the lyricist and composer never received royalties. 

Gal’s defense included:

  • He starred in the show and ad-libbed with the adults in the audience and thus was a co-author.
  • He had a financial stake in the show and thus had entrepreneurial rights.
  • The success of the show was mostly due to him.
  • The songwriters gave him their rights.
  • The Norwegian author authorized him to put on the stage play.
  • The musical had been performed since 1982 and therefore the Statute of Limitations prevented the complainants from being awarded damages.
  • The new version of the musical reworked the songs and so they were new creations

District Judge Dr. Dafna Avnieli ruled that the Statute of Limitations only prevented claiming damages for performances prior to 2001, seven years before filing suit. She went on to rule that without documentary evidence to the effect that the rights were transferred, the complainants were entitled to royalties. The new versions of the songs did not detract from the original lyricist and composer’s moral rights to be credited and to receive royalties as the variations were minor. 

The entrepreneurial activity, permission of the author and the fact that Duby Gal was the main star did not detract from Avirama Golan and Misha Balcrovich’s moral rights and entitlement to royalty. 

Judge Avnieli issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Gal from performing the musical, awarded legal costs of NIS 40,000 against him and his co-defendants, and requested financial details regarding the show from Gal and for Golan and Balcrovich to decide what form they want compensation in.

The case T.A. 1551-08 Golan Avirama and others vs. Gal Duby and others.



Categories: Copyright, Israel Court Ruling, trolls

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