How Jewish Law Came to Recognize Copyright

In From Maimonides to Microsoft: The Jewish Law of Copyright since the Birth of Print, Neil Netanel explains how the invention of the printing press led rabbinic scholars to devise a concept of intellectual property, and how this concept has developed in halakhic thinking since then. Roberta Rosenthal Kwall writes:

Netanel’s book . . . demonstrates how the halakhah of copyright has been influenced by historical and cultural factors operating both within and outside the Jewish community. As Netanel tells it, rabbis in Rome issued their first known ban on reprinting books in 1518. In some ways, the earliest bans mirrored the papal bans and secular book privileges then in vogue. (The book privileges allowed recipients a monopoly over the printing and publishing of a book for a designated period of time.) . . .

In fashioning their bans, however, the rabbis . . . drew heavily from traditional Jewish sources. . . . This influence is evident in the first ban’s emphasis on talmudic injunctions against encroaching on another’s livelihood. (The secular book privileges, by way of contrast, emphasized the sovereign’s discretion to reward deserving subjects.) . . .

[Nevertheless], the rabbinic ban represented, according to Netanel, a “bold halakhic innovation.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: Halakhah, Jewish history, Law, Religion & Holidays


Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security