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Copyright

All Music is Legally Free in the Arab World

Online piracy remains a serious issue for many industries worldwide due to the difficulties of enforcement and the lack of reasonable online legal alternatives to piracy. Services such as Mawaly and Yala prove that the Arabic music industry is willing to do whatever it takes to survive: Let everyone download all the music they want free of charge.
Mawaly, a website affiliated with Rotana (the biggest record label in the Arab world) allows anyone to download music from all of Rotana’s signed artists, as well as artists from other labels, directly free of charge and with no strings attached. Yala is music a streaming service similar to Spotify that works on a freemium model, but unlike Spotify, it does not require users to register to listen to music on its website and also allows users to legally download complete mp3 files of the music free of charge.

The arguments against the damage that piracy causes to the music industry have been going on for years, but can the Arab music industry prove that it is possible for the industry to survive even when the all of the actual music is given away free of charge?

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Copyright

Syria: Copyright Country Profile

Current Copyright Law:

  • Legislative Decree No. 62 of 2013 on Law for the Protection of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights [المرسوم التشريعي رقم ٦٢ لعام ٢٠١٣م بشأن قانون حماية حقوق المؤلف والحقوق المجاورة ]: Arabic Text.

Previous Copyright Laws:

  • Law No. 12 of 2001 Relating to the Protection of Copyright [القانون رقم ١٢ للعام ٢٠٠١ المتعلق بحماية حق المؤلف]: Arabic Text.

Photo credits: “Aleppo/Syria” by seyr-ü zafer – CC BY 2.0

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Copyright

UAE: Copyright Country Profile

Current Copyright Law

  • Federal Law No. 38 of 2021 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights [قانون اتحادي رقم ٣٨ لسنة ٢٠٢١ بشأن حقوق المؤلف والحقوق المجاورة]: Arabic Text.

Previous Copyright Laws

  • Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights [قانون اتحادي رقم  ٧ لسنة ٢٠٠٢ في شأن حقوق المؤلف والحقوق المجاورة]: Arabic Text + Amendment (2006).
  • Federal Law No. 40 of 1992 on the Protection of Intellectual Works and Copyright [قانون اتحادي رقم ٤٠ لسنة ١٩٩٢م في شأن حماية المصنفات الفكرية وحقوق المؤلف]: Arabic Text.
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Copyright

Libya: Copyright Country Profile

Current Copyright Law:

  • Law No. 9 of 1968 Issuing the Copyright Protection Law [قانون رقم ٩ لسنة ١٩٦٨ بإصدار قانون حماية حق المؤلف]: Arabic Text.

Photo credits: “Sand Dunes” by David Stanley – CC BY 2.0

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Copyright

Kuwait: Copyright Country Profile

Kuwait is a member of the Arab Copyright Treaty (ratified in 1986) and the Berne Convention (acceded in 2014).
Current Copyright Law:

  • Law No. 75 of 2019 Promulgating the Law of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights [قانون رقم ٧٥ لسنة ٢٠١٩ بإصدار قانون حقوق المؤلف والحقوق المجاورة]: Arabic Text.

Previous Copyright Law:

  • Law No. 22 of 2016 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights [قانون رقم ٢٢ لسنة ٢٠١٦ في شأن حقوق المؤلف والحقوق المجاورة]: Arabic Text.
  • Law No. 5 of 1999 on Intellectual Property [مرسوم بقانون رقم ٥ لسنة ١٩٩٩ فس شأن حقوق الملكية الفكرية]: Arabic Text.

Photo credits: “Kuwait City” by Meshal Alawadhi – CC BY-NC 2.0

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Copyright

Algeria: Copyright Country Profile

Current Copyright Law:

  • Ordinance No. 03-05 of 2003 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights: Arabic Text.

Previous Copyright Laws:

  • Ordinance No. 97-10 of 1997 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights: Arabic Text.
  • Ordinance No. 73-14 of 1973 on Copyright: Arabic Text.

Other Related Laws:

  • Ordinance No. 73-46 of 1973 on Creating the National Copyright Office: Arabic Text.

Photo credits: “Maqam E’chahid” by Henry Marion – CC BY-NC 2.0

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Copyright

Copyright History in Egypt

The origin of copyright law in Egypt is not tied to a privilege system or any pressures from the authors or industry, but instead copyright law was enacted in Egypt as a response to pressures by the international community. In 1925, as a result of its invitation to a Berne Convention revision meeting, the Egyptian government established a committee that concluded that Egypt needed a copyright law for international reasons. The first Egyptian Copyright Law was finally enacted through Law No. 354 of 1954. The legal system of Egypt is generally influenced by the French legal system, so it naturally the Egyptian law adopted the “authors’ right” approach of the French copyright law as opposed to the utilitarian approach of the English copyright law. This approach consequently trickled down through the Egyptian law to the majority of other Arab states.
The Copyright Law of Egypt of 1954 covered all original works in literature, arts, and science regardless of the way it is expressed and included written works, drawings, oral works, plays, musical works, maps, photographic and cinematic works. The law provided authors with a number of rights including the right to directly or indirectly communicate the work to the public. It also included a number of exceptions such as using the work in the family sphere, private usage, and criticism and review. The protection under this law lasted for the life the author plus 50 years after his death.

This law remained in force for about half a century with a number of amendments to accommodate for technological developments. However, it got repealed by the comprehensive intellectual property law No 82 of 2002 which covered numerous topics of intellectual property including copyright. This was was issued in order for Egypt to comply with a number of its international obligations including those relating to its membership to the WTO.

The copyright section of the Egyptian Law No 82 of 2002 included specific provisions relating to computer software, performers, producers of sound recordings, and broadcasting agencies. The protection for general works of authorship remained the same, i.e. the life of the author plus 50 years after his death.

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Copyright

Copyright History in Lebanon

Not too long after the enactment of the Ottoman Copyright Law, Lebanon was made a French protectorate. While being under the French mandate, High Commissioner General Weygand issued Resolution No 2385 on January 17, 1924 to protect a various forms of intellectual property including literary and artistic property. This was the first formal form of copyright legislation passed specifically for Lebanon, and even though the current Lebanese copyright law repealed the copyright chapter of the 1924 resolution, the majority of the industrial property sections of this 1924 legislation are still enforce to this day.
Copyright protection under the 1924 resolution had a wide scope and covered all forms of intellectual creations whether written, graphic, sculptured, or orally delivered. It also protected derivative and translated works as well as collections of works. The exclusive rights covered included copying, publishing, performing and communicating to the public. The protection under this resolution lasted for the life of the author plus 50 years after his death.

The resolution was amended a number of times in light of Lebanon’s membership to international intellectual property treaties. In 1943, the Lebanese Criminal Law was enacted and it included criminal offenses against infringing copyright. The copyright section of the 1924 resolution was later completely repealed along with the copyright provisions of the Criminal Law by a comprehensive copyright law enacted in 1999. The 1999 law was passed in connection with Lebanon’s plans to join the World Trade Organization.

The Law of 1999 is the current copyright law of Lebanon and is a modern copyright legislation that covers all forms of written, pictorial, sculptural, manuscript and oral works including computer programs. The law also covers the rights of performers, producers of phonograms, television ,and radio broadcasting. The term of protection under this law remained the same as the previous one which grants the author protection for his life plus 50 years after his death. It is worth noting that even though the law was enacted in 1999, it still does not include provisions against the circumvention of technological protection measures.

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Copyright

Sudan: Copyright Country Profile

Current Copyright Law

  • The Copyright and Neighboring Rights Protection Act 2013 [قانون حمایة حق المؤلف والحقوق المجاورة والمصنفات الأدبیة والفنیة لسنة ٢٠١٣]: Arabic Text | English Text.

Previous Copyright Laws

  • The Copyright and Neighboring Rights Protection Act 1996 [قانون حماية حق المؤلف والحقوق المجاورة لسنة ١٩٩٦]: Arabic Text.
  • The Copyright and Neighboring Rights Protection Act 1974 [قانون حماية حق المؤلف لسنة ١٩٧٤]: Arabic Text.

Photo credits: “Tomb Pyramids” by by David Stanley – CC BY 2.0

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Copyright

Saudi Arabia: Copyright Country Profile

Current Copyright Law:

  • Royal Decree No M/41 of 2003 Issuing the Copyright Protection Law [نظام حماية حقوق المؤلف]: Arabic Text.

Previous Copyright Laws:

  • Royal Decree No M/11 of 1989 Issuing the Copyright Protection Law [نظام حماية حقوق المؤلف]: Arabic Text.