The right to receive credit – boundaries of reasonable and acceptable

The right to receive credit – boundaries of reasonable and acceptable

Yair Aloni, Adv.
December 21, 2016

Israeli law grants the creator of a creation 'moral right' to receive credit for the work to the extent and scope appropriate under the circumstances. The question is what will be considered as the proper extent and scope under the circumstances?  When broadcasting a song, for example, is there an obligation to list all those involved in the writing, singing and playing such song?

The Tel Aviv Court recently discussed a precedent question regarding the scope of the right to receive credit for a song performer in a live broadcast on the radio.  The Court accepted the argument that it is unreasonable each time when broadcasing any song to list all the performers and artists in the case of live broadcasting and it seems that the law has not intended such an absurd result. When broadcasting a playlist, without any narration, one need follow what is customary under such circumstance and there is no reason or need to list the names of the performers or any of them. The same will apply when broadcast a program where songs are played and for editorial reasons only the name of the performing singer or band is stated and not the names of musicians, composers, editors, etc.   In such case too, it would be enough and will meet the requirement of "the extent and scope appropriate under the circumstances". However, when the broadcast has the tendency to name the performers the duty to give proper credit will apply.

The test for determining the scope and extent of the creator’s credit is determined in accordance with objective criteria and values. Although the Court may attribute a certain contributory negligence to a photograph / artist who did not note his or her  name on to the work, it does not completely exempts from the requirement to provide proper credit.

Thus, for example, in a recent holding of the Jerusalem Court it was decisde that large media companies have an increased obligation to protect copyright and moral rights of artists by giving proper credit and to trace the identity of the creator when the creator’s name is not listed. The Court examined what actions were performed in order to trace the craetor’s idantity and because the media company did not try to trace the idantity even when it was possible rather easily, the Court found the media company responsible for the moral rights infringement.

In another case, in a TV broadcast showed twice a photograph appea on the screen - In the first instance most of the photographer's name was hidden by a different subtitle and in the second instance the photographer's name was presented in full. The Court did not find this to be an infringement becuase the error has been corrected immediately afterwards by presenting the photographer's name in full three minutes later when the photograph was shown again. However, under a certain circumstances failure to present the full name of the photographer may be considered an infirngement of the photographer's moral rights and may result in damages.

Where there is a concern of a copyright infrigment (whether from the side of the tortfeasor or the offended party) it is advised to consult an attorney knowlegable in this field, as soon as possible, to reduce the damage caused. In any case, it is advised that creators attach their names to the works so that one can easily notice them and broadcasters of works are advised to review what is the appropriate legal scope required for  credit to creators under each circumstances.