9
Mar/05

Israeli Decision Asks: Who Owns Classified Ads?


Our Israeli trademark and copyright lawyer friend Ellen, writes to report:

“In a surprising and controversial ruling likely to be appealed, Israel Tel Aviv District Court held that a commercial website that copies job opportunity listings from the classified ads of major Israel newspapers, does not violate any copyright held by the newspapers.  Judge Zaft told the newspapers that they have to learn to “cope” with existing alongside the Internet.  The Court’s decision allows AllJobs to continue to charge monthly subscriber fee for collating and distributing job ads culled from other major newspapers.  The Court, focusing on the good of the advertisers, stated that the notices belong to the advertisers — who desire greater exposure — and not to the newspaper, and that there is “no copyright in information”.

As to the maxim that advertisers desire greater exposure, it’s true some of the time, and not true if the advertiser doesn’t want to field voluminous ‘unqualified’ responses. 

Here is a discussion from the Newspaper Association of America discussing various theories of protection of classifed ads under U.S. law.

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