In its decision mid-December 2014, Charleroi Court of First Instance noted that the book “I, René Magritte,” by author Michel Carly, released in 2013, was a plagiarism of Jacques Roisin’s book “Ceci n’est pas une biographie de Magritte” (“This is not a Magritte biography”), the Belga press agency learned on Wednesday. The court ordered Mr. Carly to cease all marketing and reruns of the book in question or be fined 125 euros per infringement. The plagiarised book’s author will receive 5,000 euros in damages. Mr. Roisin’s work, published in 1998, was written in the form of a police investigation, peppered with dialogues. The author researched his subject for six years, meeting with the Surrealist painter’s contemporaries, some of which are now deceased. In his book, he mentions “everything that happened that the painter would try to forget,” including “his mother committing suicide, the path his father chose and the cruel pranks he and his brothers played.”
“The originality of Mr. Roisin’s work and it being protected by copyright are perfectly clear and definite,” the court ruled. “It is not the facts in Mr. Roisin’s work which show his creativity, but rather the way they were amassed and his reporting style,” reads the decision.
The court points out that it does not dispute the fact that Michel Carly had access to the work of Jacques Roisin, whom he quotes among his sources and work references. Using examples from the book, judge Ariane Deleu emphasises that the plagiarist “has not only ‘borrowed’ the subject matter and take of the original work” but has also “simply taken from it many facts and anecdotes which hadn’t previously been made public, and simply copied them into his own work almost word-for-word.”
“On the basis of these considerations, Mr. Carly’s book constitutes a counterfeit of the book ‘Ceci n’est pas une biographie de Magritte- La première vie de l’homme au chapeau melon’”, concludes the court.