Copyright Law in the Arab World- Engaging
with Policy and Law Makers
Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Rami Olwan
and Abdullah Johar
CCI Symposium, 12 November
• Copyright law - engage in research and dialogue with China and
the Arab world - growth/developing areas - about what they
need and see as the future
• The British Prime Minister, David Cameron:
“In making the announcement the PM pointed to the fair use copyright provisions
in the United States as a possible model for reform: Over there, they have what are
called fair use provisions, which some people believe gives companies more
breathing space to create new products and services. So I can announce today
that t we are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit for the Internet
age. I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.”
• Binnie J in Theberge v. Galerie d'Art du Petit Champlain Inc:
“Excessive control by holders of copyrights and other forms of intellectual property
may unduly limit the ability of the public domain to incorporate and embellish
creative innovation in the long-term interests of society as a whole, or create
practical obstacles to proper utilization”.
• Considered as a new phenomenon in the Arab world.
• Egypt introduced the first copyright law in the Arab world in
• Before this courts applied principles of Justice to protect IPRs
• Role of Sharia law
• The main factors that influenced the development of Arab
copyright laws are as follows:
- Joining the WTO
- WCT and WPPT (1996).
- signing FTAs with the US
• Digital content is subject to copyright and is owned by a
particular author or company.
• The arrival of the digital technologies provides great
opportunities for Arab countries to access information and to
• In the digital environment every information flow is potentially a
copyright infringement – a reproduction or a communication to
• The law was amended on several occasions in response to the
IP and Development
• Development constitutes one of the most important challenges
facing the international community.
• Copyright protects a wide range of tools, which are vital to
education, health, and literacy.
• Intellectual property and its relationship to development remain
poorly understood to most policy makers in developing
• Arab countries have to rethink their intellectual property laws
with a ‘development lens’ to meet their needs and accelerate
their economic and social development.
By Wildinframes, http://www.flickr.com/photos/subpra/4513436359/sizes/z/in/photostream/
By Andrew, http://www.flickr.com/photos/salmiakki/2114351085
By Berger/ Paroalps , http://www.flickr.com/photos/romberger/737684456/
• Teaching assistant at UAE University.
• Master in IP Law from Indiana University.
• PhD candidate at QUT.
UAE Copyright Law
• The Law protects the owners of copyright over users.
• There are few exceptions to copyright protection on digital
• No exception to TPMs provision.
• No Safe harbour to the ISP liability.
• Limited scope of the personal use exception (in relation to
• Provide adequate limitations and exceptions that suit the digital
• Adopt an innovation policy within the copyright Law.
• Enhance public awareness of the importance of copyright to
information flow and cultural exchange.
• More engagement with the policy and law makers in the UAE.
• Many IP scholars have stressed the importance of promoting
and using voluntarily mechanisms such as CC and FOSS for
• Arab countries should understand and use flexible licensing
regimes such as CC to make their work available for sharing and
• CC could be used as one solution for copyright problems
• FOSS should be seriously considered in Arab countries as it could
bring many opportunities to the region.
By Theboybg, http://www.flickr.com/photos/theboybg/3755377406
CC Policy Makers and Industry Leaders Arab
• The aim of the forum is to invite senior policy makers (judges, government
officials, ministers and academics) and industry leaders (eg Al Jazeera) for a
two day meeting in Amman, Jordan to discuss the use of CC in the Arab world
in government, academia, culture and business.
• The forum will also invite legal scholars and copyright experts from the region
and abroad to assess to what extent CC legal framework can fit with the civil
legal system and copyright law of Jordan and other Arab countries.
• It will bring together people from different disciplines to examine the
importance of open content licensing (including CC) and will contribute to the
discussion around increasing the amount of Arabic content online.
CC Policy Makers and Industry Leaders Arab
• The outcomes of this forum will be: A) A book. B) A guide. C)
Better informed public policy and decision making and the
uptake of CC licensing by business, government and education
sectors in the Arab region.
• We are targeting the senior leaders and decision makers in both
the public and private sectors who can influence decision making
regarding CC for the long term benefit of the general public.
- Peter Yu, “A Tale of Two Development Agendas” (2009) 35 Ohio N.U.
L. Rev. 465
- Margret Chon, Intellectual Property and the Development Divide
(2006) 27 Cordozo Law Review, 2821- 2912