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Jul 23, 2014

HFN Represents Walla! Communications in a Successful Appeal to the Supreme Court

The Israeli Supreme Court accepted the appeals filed by Walla Communications Ltd (the "Company"), ACUM and the Central Company for the Production of Soft Drinks ("Coca Cola") of the Tel Aviv District Court's decision (the "Decision").

The Company operated an online radio in which it streamed songs from the ACUM repertoire. The respondents to the appeals, international and local music publishers (the "Publishers") argued that the performance of the songs in the Company's internet website was unauthorized use of the compositions and constituted an infringement of their copyright since the compositions were used in the context of Coca Cola's advertising website. The District Court accepted this argument and determined that the copyright of the plaintiffs were infringed since the compositions were used for advertisement purposes.

The Supreme Court reversed the District Court's Decision and determined that although the performance of the compositions on the website served Coca Cola as means to promote commercial purposes (the "Commercial Use"), that performance cannot be considered as advertisement. The Supreme Court further determined that the rights for Commercial Use as part of a public performance were transferred from the Publishers to ACUM and, therefore, ACUM was entitled to grant a license to the Company and Coca Cola to exercise the Commercial Use in the compositions that are included in its repertoire. In view of its conclusions, the Supreme Court accepted the appeals and ordered the dismissal (with prejudice) of the pending complaint filed by the Publishers to the District Court.

The Company was represented by Joseph Ashkenazi and Moshe Yaacov, partners in the Litigation Department

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