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Rabbi Banet’s Charming Snake

Ḥakirah, the Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought, pp. 69-108, 2009

UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 09-32

40 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2009 Last revised: 16 Dec 2009

David Nimmer

Irell & Manella LLP

Date Written: December 3, 2009

Abstract

One might not expect Moravia of the 1820s to be a hotbed of copyright litigation. But a major dispute unfolded there, pitting two distinguished rabbis against each other, expressing their disparate views of copyright protection under Jewish law. The two figures in question are Mordekhai Banet and Moses Sofer, each regarded as a Torah giant. Yet their views were absolutely opposed, although each purported to apply existing Jewish law precedent to the matter at hand. Historical investigation reveals a surprising "back-story" at work here. This article investigates the dispute, paying particular attention to the works at issue. It exposits some of the mysterious expression articulated by Rabbi Banet in his dispute with Hatam Sofer, and shows how it developed.

Keywords: Copyright, Law and Religion, Jewish Law

Suggested Citation

Nimmer, David, Rabbi Banet’s Charming Snake (December 3, 2009). Ḥakirah, the Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought, pp. 69-108, 2009; UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 09-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1517927

David Nimmer (Contact Author)

Irell & Manella LLP ( email )

1800 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90067
United States
310-277-1010 or (310) 203-7079 (Phone)

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