An agreement has ended a decade-long legal dispute over copyright ownership of the "Geva Diaries". These historical "Diaries" consist of about 500 news videos from the 1960s that were screened then, mainly in movie theaters, prior to the screening of feature films.

After being engaged in litigation for more than a decade, that threatened the general public's accessibility to the Diaries, an agreement was signed on November 20, 2014, with the Court's approval and blessing. The parties, Barki Feta Humphries (Israel) Ltd., United Studios Ltd., Herzliya Studios Ltd. and Herzliya-Studios Color Laboratories Ltd., finally agreed to a settlement, whereby Barki is the rightful copyright owner of the historical Diaries, and the other entities were granted exclusive license in exchange for monetary payment to Barki.

The parties also agreed to a mechanism for the future use and preservation of the Diaries in exchange for a monetary payment to Barki and terms for their accessibility and availability to the general public.

The dispute between the parties began in 2002 and concerned the questions of who owns the copyright on the Diaries, who has the usage rights, what is the scope of the usage rights, and what consideration is to be paid to the copyright owner for the usage. The dispute between the parties raised concerns on the availability of these historical Diaries to the general public.

The legal battle between the parties involved multiple proceedings before the Magistrate Court, the District Court and also the Supreme Court.

The District Court and the Supreme Court held that Barki is the rightful and exclusive owner of the Diaries' copyright and that Herzliya Studios and United Studios were obliged to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for their use.

At the end of October 2014, the parties reached an agreement whereby Herzliya Studios and United Studios undertook to pay Barki the sum of NIS 200,000, in addition to over NIS 800,000 they had already paid. The agreement stipulated that Barki is the sole and exclusive copyright owner of the Geva Diaries, and established that the usage rights were granted exclusively to Herzliya Studios and United Studios.

In welcoming the settlement, the Court noted: "Congratulations for the detailed agreement that will regulate the honorable and fair usage of the Diaries and their safe keeping."

Rakefet Peled