Herzl Ozer, the outgoing general manager of Off-Tov and founder of the AllJobs Internet site, is allowed to continue to copy job opportunity notices from the classified ads of Maariv newspaper - and apparently from other newspapers, too. This was the ruling of Tel Aviv District Court Judge Yehuda Zaft, who rejected a petition by Maariv for an injunction against Ozer and his Web site. Zaft advised Maariv to consent to the dismissal of the NIS 1 million damages suit filed by the newspaper.
Zaft's ruling effectively paves the way for one commercial body to use the notices of job opportunities of another, without such use constituting information theft or copyright infringement.
In this particular case, there is no information theft because the information does not belong to Maariv, but rather to the advertisers, who are simply using the daily newspaper as a platform. The judge stated that the advertisers have an interest in their notices being published in other places apart from Maariv, and said the job-seeking public is similarly interested in "an accessible site that enables them to easily survey job offers."
As for Maariv's argument that people are liable to refrain from purchasing the newspaper and will instead surf Ozer's site, Zaft responded" "The Internet poses new challenges to businesses that relay information to the general public via old platforms. The public has an interest in promoting initiative ... The paper must find a way to exist alongside it."
AllJobs and Ozer were represented by attorneys Shmulik Cassouto and Ofer Larish of the Cassouto-Nof law firm.
AllJobs was created by Ozer together with Gadi Schwadron, Revital Hendler and Niv Ariel. The site provides surfers with "all the job offers in Israel from all the sources and from all company sites," for a monthly subscriber fee of NIS 29.90.
Following the launching of AllJobs, Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth filed petitions for injunctions forbidding the site to copy notices from their classified ads sections. The newspapers claimed that AllJobs was a "parasitic enterprise feeding off the efforts of others."
Yedioth Ahronoth's petition was rejected as soon as it was filed, as it was not appended with a monetary suit.
Maariv claimed that in the past decade, it had invested NIS 174 million in publishing job opportunity supplements and marketing campaigns and another $1 million in launching its own Internet site.
"The petitioner," wrote Zaft, "is to be viewed as nothing more than an enterprise that offers an advertising platform in exchange for payment. The resources invested by the petition were aimed mainly at promoting the reputation of the platform and not at collecting the data included in the notices that were published."
Zaft noted that the chances of Maariv winning its suit were "doubtful" and advised the paper to withdraw the damages suit so that it could be rejected without the paper being ordered to pay filing fees, subject to the newspaper's right to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.