BREAKING: Agreement Reached – In Principle – Between JEM and RebbeDrive

by CrownHeights.info

An initial agreement has been allegedly reached between JEM and RebbeDrive, according to a motion to stay filed in court Monday, bringing forward the possibility of an amical agreement in this charged case.

In paperwork filed in court by JEM Monday, they wrote that “the parties have reached agreement on a settlement in principle, and in connection therewith have executed a binding term sheet.”

The motion to stay requested that the Honorable Taryn A. Merkl of the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York hold off any further requirements in the case until Wednesday, November 24. During that time the sides planned to “use this period to draft and finalize a long form settlement agreement, as well as a Consent Judgment that the parties shall jointly request be So Ordered and entered on the docket.”

The case, which caused waves in the Chabad-Lubavitch community, was over alleged copyright infringement by RebbeDrive over large amounts of Rebbe media claimed by JEM as copyright holder.

Copyright infringement, although far from a simple matter, can range in penalty between $200 to $150,000 per work infringed, making this case a rather expensive one.

The case is also looked at by many copyright holders of Rebbe photos and videos as a major step in addressing abuse of Rebbe related media, with many pirated Rebbe photos and videos being sold or given out without proper permission or oversight.

The Case

According to court documents in Jewish Educational Media, Inc. v. Mintz et al, JEM served court papers to Shmuly Butler and Mendel Mintz, alleging that they, as operators of RebbeDrive.com, pirated photos and audiovisual material from JEM’s archives and provided them to third-party websites.

The story behind some of these materials is reported to be a library of videos discovered from WLCC, which videoed and broadcasted the Rebbe’s Farbrengens. These videos had been secretly recorded by one of the people working with the original broadcasts, but had not been watermarked with the WLCC logo.

Once in the hands of RebbeDrive, they began releasing the unedited footage under their own logo.

In past conversations with CrownHeights.info, Mintz defended the use and dissemination of these materials by claiming that according to halacha, a person can not copywrite the Rebbe’s Torah, as well as any image or media of him.

JEM on the other hand, claims that they had purchased full rights to the entire WLCC archive, including copywrite infringement.

In the court documents, JEM alleges that the operators of RebbeDrive acquired their illicit materials through other means, including simply cropping the JEM logo from video’s and images before superimposing their own.

According to the complaint filed by JEM, they had initially attempted to find an amicable solution through dialogue as early as 2016, requesting that those running RebbeDrive remove the copywritten content. After months of correspondence, the sides met up in March of 2017, but could not come to an agreement.

The issue was then brought in front of the Beis Din of the Central Committee of Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbis in the United States and Canada, which the operators of RebbeDrive ultimately claimed had no jurisdiction over the case.

Given permission to go to civil court by the Beis Din, JEM had filed their suit looking to receive repayment for damages, as well as the taking down of the RebbeDrive website and social media accounts.

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