Singing cactus wins courtroom victory in copyright clash

Children’s TV star Kishkashta the singing cactus issued injunctions preventing Olympic Committee from using prickly pear mascot.

KISHKASHTA_390 (photo credit: Oren Golan)
(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.
The 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 said.
In reaching his conclusion, Ginat employed extensive citations from US and UK case law concerning similar copyright claims, although none of those involved cacti.
Spokeswoman Bruria Bigman told The Jerusalem Post on Monday the IOC had “received the verdict and is studying it.”
Israel Educational Television did not respond by press time to a request for comment.