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Supreme Court: Naomi Ragen to Delete Disputed Sentences

Appeal over allegations of plagiarism dismissed; Ragen to delete sentences, pay damages.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 11/6/2013, 10:50 PM

Naomi Ragen, 2004 (File)
Naomi Ragen, 2004 (File)
Flash90

Well-known author Naomi Ragen's appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court over allegations of plagiarism reached its conclusion today (Wednesday), as the Court upheld the decision of the District Court and ordered Ragen to remove some 25 phrases of questionable originality from future editions of Sotah.

Plagiarism allegations first arose in 2007, when Sarah Shapiro, along with other American-Israeli writer Michal Tal, claimed that Ragen used material from Shapiro's first book Growing with My Children in her novel Sotah.

Ragen previously vehemently denied the charges by Shapiro. She told the court that she only used Shapiro’s material as “raw material,” but a 2012 ruling stated that the author in effect intentionally copied parts of the book.

On 27 March 2012, Naomi Ragen and Sarah Shapiro reached a settlement. Ragen was ordered to pay Shapiro 233,000 NIS (over $62,500) for copyright infringement, an unprecedented amount in a plagiarism case in Israel. Ragen later appealed the decision in June, claiming that it set a precedent that would deny Israeli writers freedom of expression.

The court also determined that some 97,000 NIS of the settlement money would go to Yad Sarah, a large Israeli charity which assists the elderly and disabled, and Yad Eliezer, Israeli's largest provider of food for the impoverished. 

Shapiro's lawyer, copyright expert and attorney Gilad Corinaldi stated that "in Israel in 2013 we have those who can defend the rights of the authors. I welcome the decision to settle; it seems that the message of the court [against plagiarism] is sinking in." 

Over the last decade, Corinaldi has overseen a number of successful campaigns for the rights of creators against corporations stealing their works. 

Shapiro stated, "I thank the Court for morally and legally defending my work, and for giving me the opportunity to contribute - both to the original creative scene in Israel, and to the wonderful charitable organizations receiving settlement money."