After four years of adjudication, the Jerusalem District Court yesterday upheld the writer Sarah Shapiro’s plagiarism claim against best-selling writer Naomi Ragen. The court ruled that Ragen knowingly copied from Shapiro’s work in her novel “Sotah.”
Shapiro submitted her claim against Ragen in 2007. Both writers come from America’s Orthodox Jewish community; Shapiro lives in Jerusalem and writes in English. In 1990, Shapiro sought Ragen’s opinion about her debut novel. The two met; subsequently, Shapiro claims she was surprised to find selections from her book Growing with My Children in Ragen’s Sotah.
In a 92-page opinion, Judge Joseph Shapira fully upheld Shapiro’s claim against Ragen. The court opined that the plagiarism was “tantamount to a premeditated act,” saying that Ragen acted knowingly and copied work created by the plaintiff.
The court relied on testimony furnished by Ragen herself.
Ragen, the court noted, “testified that work written by the plaintiff served as ‘raw materials’ for her, and that her method of writing is based on drawing from a ‘well’ and ‘imagination’ in ways that include the works of others, including those rendered by the plaintiff.”