Thursday, August 28, 2003

Carlebach Lawsuit

Here's an article about the copyright infringement lawsuit Neshama and Nedara Carlebach filed several months ago seeking 2.6 million dollars in damages.

Troubling part:
"In a joint statement to the Forward, Neshama, who has launched her own successful music career, and Nedara said: "It truly breaks our hearts to see how badly and unjustly [our father] has been repaid for his unconditional giving. And it is especially sad because some of those who are the worst offenders are religious Jews who hide behind the claim they act in the name of G-D and holiness. We pray that somehow this is rectified. We pray that one day, after all these years, our father can truly rest in peace."

I fully support the families right to obtain royalties for the use of Shlomo's music, but the gratuitous Orthodox bashing is disturbing. (All of the named defendants are Orthodox.) To my knowledge, none of the performers, producers, distributors, or retailers have claimed that they are distributing Shlomo's music "in the name of G-D and holiness." More likely, given the poor quality of the bootlegs, they are distributed "in the name of making a quick buck!"

I do believe that religious Jews ought to be held to a higher standard, and if the Carlebach sisters would have said something along the lines of: "...and it is especially sad because religious Jews are obligated to abide by the laws of the land (dina d'malchusa dina)," then I wouldn't find their statement troubling.

However, the assertion that these people are "hiding behind the claim that they act in the name of G-D and holiness," frankly, sounds to me like an anti-Semitic slur rather than the type of criticism that I imagine Shlomo would have found appropriate.