Musicians' Guild Suing Arabic Station for Copyright Violations

Association charges that Kul al-Arab hasn't paid royalties for hundreds of songs its online radio station played and allowed users to download songs without permission.

An Israeli music guild is suing one of the country's leading Arabic-language media outlets for NIS 1 million over claims that it violated the copyrights of its members.

The Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers of Music in Israel (better known as Acum ) says the Nazareth-based Kul al-Arab has not paid royalties for hundreds of songs its online radio station has played and allows website users to illegally download songs for their unlimited use. The French guild Sacem, which protects the copyrights of many Arab musicians around the world, filed the suit along with its Israeli counterpart.

The Haifa District Court has imposed a temporary injunction prohibiting Kul al-Arab, a weekly newspaper and website, from making any use of the musical repertoire created by Acum members. The two music guilds are seeking a permanent court order.

The temporary injunction specifically targets the Kul al-Arab website, which the suit says "serves as a platform for callous copyright violation."

"Acum represents all artists from every sector of the population, so any media outlet that violates the copyright law will be targeted," said Acum CEO Yorik Ben David. "The owners of Kul al-Arab do this consistently and callously, and the time has come for them to give an account for this to the artists who have been harmed by their actions."

Mussa Hassadiya, one of the owners of Kul al-Arab, refused to comment.

The lawsuit says the Kul al-Arab website has hundreds of songs, music videos, movies and television shows on its online radio station and the other parts of its website.

"The website features more than 800 music videos, more than 10,000 musical compositions, hundreds of movies and hundreds of TV shows," the suit says. It says anyone who goes to the site can download pirated copies of copyrighted compositions and use them with no restrictions, licenses or payment to those who own the copyright.

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