Legal Updates

Use of a work of art may be deemed a copyright infringement even if the result of the use if distributed for free

September 19, 2021

The Migdal Insurance Company used the works of artist Yaakov Wechsler, which were included in the calendar that was distributed by the company for free to its customers.

The Court held that the use of Wechsler's works in the calendar amounts to copyright infringement. The artist (and after demise of the artist – the successors) owns the copyrights in the works. Therefore, anyone who wishes to use such works must first obtain permission, unless it is a “fair use”. Fair use includes self-study, research, criticism, review, journalistic reporting, etc. In order to examine the fairness of use, a number of factors are to be taken into consideration: Main purpose and nature of the use; Nature of the work used; Scope of use and the effect of use on the value of work. Here, although the calendars were distributed free of charge and were intended to promote support for Israeli art, the main puporse of the calendars is a commercial purpose of promoting Migdal Insurance's reputation, and therefore it is not deemed fair use. Hence, Midgal infringed Wechsler’s copyrights.