In response to a lawsuit filed by ZIRA Copyrights On the Internet, Israel's Central District Court ruled that Telegram must be responsible for and prevent groups of users from distributing content such as serials, movies, Hebrew translations and music. Among the groups infringing the copyrights are "Nati Media," "Dov Movies and Serials," "Gozlan," and "Sdarot," and some of the groups have as many as 100,000 members.
ZIRA is an Israel based consortium of content owners and licensees, which first filed the lawsuit in February 2020, petitioning against the distribution of copyright protected content in Telegram’s groups. The lawsuit was joined by plaintiffs United King Films, YES, HOT and Reshet.
In the lawsuit, which was filed by Advs. Eran Presenti and Liraz Zalmanson of M. Firon & Co. law firm, it was charged that, "Telegram serves its users for distribution, making available to the public, broadcasting and copying of copyright protected content, such as: television serials, movies, translations in Hebrew, and music, and this is through sharing files that infringe, or sharing links to files for viewing directly or downloading. Some of the activities are carried out while charging sums of money by the users, for providing the services."
ZIRA has in the past contacted Telegram's management and brought to their attention a list of dozens of pirating groups, in which activities infringe copyrights in Israel and abroad.
Telegram responded, "We agree to block the channels or force the systems administrators to remove the reported content immediately."
However, ZIRA claimed in last week's court hearing, "They take down the movies, partly or entirely, but not immediately, and not in a way that satisfies us."
Even though Telegram did not submit a statement of defense, Judge Rami Amir issued an injunction prohibiting Telegram from allowing such copyrighted material from being available. The Judge ruled that the defendant must pay compensation of NIS 100,000 and a further NIS 60,000 legal costs. M. Firon & Co. law firm partner and Intellectual Property Department head Adv. Eran Presenti said: "We welcome the injunction, which will assist in combating pirate viewing and the wholesale copyright infringement that exists undisturbed on Telegram's network. We are currently working with Telegram in order to bring about the implementation of the injunction and we will not hesitate to once again take action against any platform, in any court and with all the means in order to eliminate similar phenomena. The rights and the livelihoods of producers, performers, and artists in Israel are not to be rendered worthless."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 8, 2021
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