Ragen to appeal to top court in plagiarism ruling

Ragen denies plagiarizing any part of Shapiro’s work in her best-selling novel Sotah, hopes Supreme Court will overturn ruling.

Naomi Regan 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Naomi Regan 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Lawyers for Naomi Ragen said on Wednesday that the best-selling novelist plans to appeal to the Supreme Court against a Jerusalem District Court ruling that found she plagiarized another writer’s work.
Following its ruling in December, the court ordered Ragen on Tuesday to pay NIS 233,000 in compensation to writer Sarah Shapiro.
In Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Joseph Shapira said the parties should come to an agreement over compensation for copyright infringement. Ragen’s attorneys agreed, without prejudice, to pay NIS 233,000, which includes NIS 100,000 in legal fees.
The court also determined that future editions of Ragen’s novel must be printed without the sentences Shapiro said violated her copyright.
Ragen denies plagiarizing any part of Shapiro’s work in her best-selling novel Sotah and on Wednesday told The Jerusalem Post that she hopes the Supreme Court will overturn the district court ruling.
The author slammed the ruling as “ridiculous.”
“I am happy to finally be finished with this ludicrous case and look forward to appealing the baseless decision of Judge Shapira (now a candidate for the State Comptroller) in the Supreme Court,” Ragen said.
“After five years in court, a case for NIS 1 million has ended with a judgement giving the plaintiff only [NIS] 40,000, all the rest going to lawyers fees and court expenses. We intend to appeal this as well and expect to be fully reimbursed.”
Ragen added that “the purpose of copyright protection laws in a civilized country is to not only protect the intellectual property of artists and writers, but also to ensure freedom of expression which is the basis of all artistic endeavor.
“It is for this reason copyright infringement cases are judged on substantial and meaningful use of another’s work,” she said.
Ragen said that in order to make such a judgement, the court must carefully compare both works.
“In deciding this case, Judge Shapira admitted he never read both books in their entirety,” Ragen said. “In the end, he convicted me on the basis of about a dozen sentences in a 490-page book. Of these, none is copied word for word, three are taken from the words of a Rav who took them from the Rambam, and the rest are commonplace English expressions including: ‘I forgive you’; ‘How dare she’, and ‘Nobody ever raised his voice.’
Ragen added: “It is my hope that the Supreme Court will overturn this ridiculous decision and restore not only my honor, but the honor of the justice system in Israel in regard to copyright infringement.”
In January, the Supreme Court cleared Ragen on appeal of a second plagiarism charge, brought by author Michal Tal. In that appeal, the court found that there was “no basis for any sort of claim of duplication or copyright infringement.”
Globes and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.