(photo credit: Oren Golan)
One of the country’s most barbed legal battles came to a sharp conclusion late
Sunday evening, when the Tel Aviv District Court ruled in favor of children’s TV
star Kishkashta the singing cactus, and issued injunctions preventing the Israel
Olympic Committee (IOC) from using Shpitzik, its prickly pear mascot.
ruling came after Israel Educational Television, which owns the rights to
Kishkashta, filed an urgent request with the Tel Aviv District Court asking that
the IOC be prevented from using Shpitzik, which it has chosen as Israel’s mascot
in the London Olympics this summer.
Israel Educational Television argued
that Kishkashta, who made his first TV appearances in the 1970s, as part of the
children’s show Ma Pit’om! (What on earth!), is an original artistic work and is
therefore protected by copyright.
In a detailed ruling spanning 27 pages
and including several photographs of both Kishkashta and his controversial
desert plant relative, Deputy Court President Judge Gideon Ginat concluded that
Shpitzik had violated Kishkashta’s copyright.
The judge ruled that the
IOC may not use any form of Shpitzik and also ordered it to pay Israel
Educational Television’s court costs of NIS 50,000.
“At the end of the
day, it seems to me that on the basis of the data presented to me, [the IOC]
took a well-known and well-recognized character and made use of it, by adding
elements and minor changes and another nickname, for his own purposes,” Ginat
In reaching his conclusion, Ginat employed extensive citations from
US and UK case law concerning similar copyright claims, although none of those
Spokeswoman Bruria Bigman told The Jerusalem Post on
Monday the IOC had “received the verdict and is studying it.”
Educational Television did not respond by press time to a request for comment.