Naomi Ragen to appeal plagiarism conviction

Naomi Ragen to appeal plagiarism conviction

American-born Israeli author was ordered to pay NIS 233,000 for copyright infringement in her book ‘Sotah’

Naomi Ragen (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Naomi Ragen (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Author Naomi Ragen, who was convicted in December 2011 of copyright infringement, theft, negligence and unjust enrichment, for using parts of another writer’s book, announced on Thursday that she is appealing the verdict.

In March, Ragen was ordered by the Jerusalem District Court to pay NIS 233,000 to author Sarah Shapiro, who claimed that Ragen’s 1992 book “Sotah” used parts of her own book “Growing with My Children: A Jewish Mother’s Diary,” which was published in 1990.

While Ragen denied having copied Shapiro’s work, she did acknowledge during the trial that she read and enjoyed  “Growing with My Children” during the same period that she was writing “Sotah” and she told the court that parts of Shapiro’s book “got stuck in [her] head.” The judge rejected this narrative, calling it “unreasonable and unreliable”.

On Thursday Ragen told the Associated Press that the plagiarism charges were “absolutely ridiculous.” She expressed concern that the ruling could set a dangerous precedent and “prevent creativity” in Israel.

The final decision regarding the conviction and Ragen’s appeal is now in the hands of Israel’s Supreme Court.

In January, Ragen was acquitted of stealing parts of “The Lion and the Cross” by the late Michal Tal for her book “The Ghost of Hannah Mendes.”

A third author, Cynthia Rosengarten, has accused Ragen of basing “The Sacrifice of Tamar” on her short autobiographical story “A Marriage Made in Heaven.”

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