Copyright in Palestine; Important News Protection Law Promulgated

A new law has been promulgated here by the Palestine Government prohibiting newspapers and periodicals from re-publishing telegraphic news in Palestine unless by permission under contract with the news agencies concerned.

The law provides that for 72 hours no news may be reprinted in Palestine without the permission of the news agencies responsible for the circulation of the news in question.

The new law has been issued after consultation with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here, and the Palestine Hebrew and Arab press.

The unauthorized reproduction of telegraphic news in part is also prohibited under this protective law. The penalty for evasion of the law ranges between £ 25 and £ 50.

About a year ago, in October, 1931, Mr. Cressal, the British Magistrate in Jerusalem, handed down judgment in an action brought by the Palestine Office of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency against an Arab paper, “Al Hayat,” for infringement of copyright in printing J.T.A. cable messages from Basle during the time of the last Zionist Congress.

The magistrate held that the “Palestine Bulletin,” published by the J.T.A., was entitled to compensation from “Al Hayat” for the publication of the messages contained in the telegrams.

The case of “Al Hayat,” put by Mr. Abcarius, was that the British Copyright Act of 1911, on which the case was brought had not been promulgated in Palestine. Although an Order-in-Council was published extending the Act to Palestine, he contended, the Act itself was not published in accordance with the provisions of the Palestine Order-in-Council, and for this reason it was not law in the country.

The case submitted on behalf of the J.T.A. by its Counsel, Mr. Freidenberg, which was upheld by the magistrate, was that promulgation of legislation enacted by Orders-in-Council is unnecessary in Palestine, what is sufficient to make an Order-in-Council effective in Great Britain being also sufficient in any of the territories over which the Crown exercises jurisdiction, so that the Copyright Act became operative in Palestine from the date fixed for its announcement, March 21st, 1924.

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