Author Naomi Ragen has appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court against a judgment finding her guilty of plagiarism.
In December, the Jerusalem District Court found that Ragen had knowingly copied sections of her book “Sotah” from a book by Sarah Shapiro. In her appeal, Ragen’s attorney wrote that this verdict destroyed her life. “The ruling branded her as a thief and shattered her honor, both as a person and as a well-known and respected author both in Israel and worldwide,” it said.
The appeal also accused the court of “sensationalist” rhetoric that magnified Ragen’s offense. Even if the court’s findings were correct, it said, an ordinary person reading the verdict’s heated language would never guess that her offense consisted of, at most, “transformative use of 29 sentences, which constitute less than 0.18 percent of the work.”
Aside from the personal harm to Ragen, the appeal argued, the verdict’s stringent approach to intellectual property rights “deals a death blow to artistic freedom and to authors’ ability to create and enrich literary culture,” while also violating Israeli court precedents and, in some cases, even the language of the law. “These legal mistakes are devastating not only to the appellant, but to authors, creators and artists in general,” it charged.
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