Egypt 2011

Legal background

Scope and duration of copyright

Does copyright end immediately after the minimum period mandated by the Berne Convention? Yes
Egyptian law has adopted the standard 50 year term of protection set out in international treaties.
IPR Articles 160, 161,162, 163, 164, 166, 167 and 168
Are works that are not fixed in some material form excluded from copyright? Yes
Fixation of the work is not required explicitly in the law but it is implied from the definition of "works" in article 138 in the law which states that it is "any created literary, artistic or scientific product, whatever its type, mode of expression, significance or purpose of its creation". However, the law requires recording some works such as lectures, speeches, sermons and any other oral works in order to be protected. Moreover, some works by their nature requires fixation such as computer programs and databases.
IPR Articles 138, 140 and 149
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of copyright under competition law, for example by imposing compulsory licensing or regulating royalties charged by dominant rights holders? No
There are no special provisions related to copyright that deal with competition and misuse of power. However, the patent provisions in the same law include provision for compulsory licensing in cases of abuse, non-exploitation and anti-competitive practices
IPR - Article 23 (5)
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of copyright pursuant to a bill of rights or similar human rights instrument, for example by preventing copyright from being used to stifle protected speech? No
There are a number of human rights and freedoms mentioned in Egypt's constitution such as the right to education and freedom of speech and expression however the interface between them and copyrights is missing.
Constitution - Articles 16, 20 and 47
Are databases of non-original material excluded from copyright? No
Databases are protected in general even if the compilation is for non-original material provided that the selection of such material is creative by virtue of its arrangement or any other personal effort deserving protection.
IPR Article 140, ER Article 1
Are rights holders prohibited from excluding user rights under copyright law? No
Egypt is a civil law country where contracts are governed by the pacta sunt servanda rule. Copyright holders are not allowed to prevent the application of exceptions and limitations that are carried out by third parties only and not contracting parties. It is important to note that there are no provisions that criminalize such exclusions whether if adopted in contracts concluded with right holders or uses carried out by third parties.
IPR Article 171
Is computer software excluded from the scope of patentable subject matter? Yes
The IPR law states that patents shall not be granted for discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, programs and schemes.
IPR - Article 2 (2)

Freedoms to access and use

By Home UsersIs there any general user right that is based on a set of balancing criteria, such as a "fair use" right? Yes
The IPR law allows users to make a single copy of the work for their exclusive personal use, provided that such copy does not hamper the normal exploitation of the work nor cause undue prejudice to the legitimate interests of the author or copyright holders.
IPR Article 171(2)
Is time, space and format shifting allowed (such as ripping music from CD to an MP3 player)? In part
A single copy from the original software is allowed as a backup to the legitimate owner in case of damage. However, reproducing or copying of all or a substantial part of the notes of a musical work is not allowed even for personal use.
IPR Articles 171 (2) and 171 (3)
Can consumers reproduce copyright material for their own use in the original format, for example for backup purposes? In part
The law allows making a single copy of the work for exclusive personal use, provided that such a copy shall not hamper the normal exploitation of the work nor cause undue prejudice to the legitimate interests of the author or copyright holders. The following acts are not allowed without authorization: reproducing or copying of all or a substantial part of the notes of a musical works; or a database. Making a single copy or an adaptation of a computer program to replace a lost, destroyed or invalid original copy is permissible.
IPR Article 171 sections (2) and (3)
Can works be communicated to a limited public (for example, family and friends) without infringing copyright? Yes
Performance of the work is allowed within family context or student gathering within an educational institution provided that no direct or indirect financial remuneration is obtained.
IPR Article 171(1)
For EducationMay students copy works for private research or study? Yes
There is a general personal use exception that enables users to make a single copy of the work for personal uses. This exception includes students who copy protected works whether for private research or study.
IPR - Article 171(2), (6), (7), (8 - a)
Does any such research and study provision cover distance and online education? No
The law does not mention distance and online education however some Egyptian scholars suggest that exceptions and limitations are generally drafted and accordingly they can be applicable to this type of learning.
May translations of works be made for educational purposes? Yes
The Egyptian IP law contains two kinds of exceptions related to translations. The first exception is a compulsory licence for translating protected works for educational purposes (Article 170). Interested persons need to apply to the competent ministry and have to respect some conditions which have been discussed earlier. The second exception related to translations (Article 148) concerns translations of foreign works that have not been translated into Arabic within three years after the first publication of the work. No permission from the competent ministry is required for such translation
IPR - Article 170
May educators copy works for use in the classroom? In part
The law allows the reproduction of an article or a short work for teaching purposes within educational institutes provided that it is made once or at different separate occasions and the name of the author and the title of the work are mentioned on each copy.
IPR - Article 171 (7)
OnlineAre temporary or transient copies, incidental to a lawful use, excepted from copyright? Yes
Ephemeral reproduction of a work is permitted where such reproduction is made in relay, during a digital transmission of the work or in the course of a process of reception of a digitally stored work within the normal operation of the device used by an authorized person.
IPR - Article 171 (9).
Does the law exclude or limit the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs for copyright infringements carried out on their network? No
The law does not provide any provisions regarding the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs for copyright infringements carried out on their networks.
Is Internet access free of ISP filtering or monitoring for potential copyright-infringements? Yes
There is no obligation on the ISPs in the law.
By content creatorsIs there any protection for consumers who non-commercially remix or mash up copyright works? No
May computer software be copied for the purpose of reverse-engineering interoperable software? No
The law does not provide explicit provision for the purpose of reverse-engineering interoperable software. A single copy of a software is allowed only for archiving purposes or to replace a lost, destroyed or invalid original copy.
IPR - Article 171 (3)
Is the incidental inclusion of a work in other material permitted? No
Is there are copyright exception for parody or satire? Yes
The IPRs law does not include explicitly parodies or satires as an exception however they are generally considered by Egyptian copyrights scholars as a form or exceptions, i.e. works that do not require obtaining the prior authorization of the original work.
By the pressIs there a copyright exception for the news of the day? Yes
IPR - Article 141 (2)
May copyright material be reproduced for the purposes of review and criticism? Yes
IPR - Article 171 (4)
May quotations be used for any purpose? No
The law restricts quotations for the purpose of criticism, discussion or information.
IPR - Article 171 (4)
By LibrariesMay libraries copy works if they cannot reasonably be obtained commercially? No
May librarians copy works for users for the purpose of research or study? Yes
In this case copying is limited to articles, short works or extract of works for study or research purposes only, and that a single copy is made or at different occasions.
IPR - Article 171 (8)
Are libraries allowed to make preservation or archive copies of materials in their collections? Yes
IPR - Article 171 (8)
By disabled usersIs it permissible to copy or adapt work for the use of those with disabilities? No
The law does not provide any specific rule addressing people with disabilities. Some Egyptian scholars suggest that exceptions and limitations can be applied to disabled people provided that they are for the disabled exclusive personal use or for educational and teaching purposes.
In public affairsAre laws excluded from copyright? Yes
IPR - Article 141 (1)
Are other governmental works excluded from copyright? Yes
Generally official documents, whatever their source or target language, such as laws, regulations, resolutions and decisions, international conventions, court decisions, award of arbitrators and decisions of administrative committees having judicial competence are all excluded from copyright protection.
IPR Article 141 (1)
Are the results of publicly funded research required to be published under an open access license? No

Freedoms to share and transfer

Does the law permit a work to be released to the public domain before the copyright term expires, without any formality other than an overt act of relinquishment? No
The law does not make any reference to dedicating works to public domain, however, it is most likely that a copyright holder who wishes to dedicate his/her work to the public domain will have to announce that and seize following any copyright infringement activities. In all cases the dedicated work will be attributed to the author since moral rights are perpetual imprescriptible and inalienable.
Can public domain works be used without the need for any payment or registration of the use? In part
- Personal use of public domain works is allowed without the need for any payment or registration. - Commercial or professional exploitation of public domain works require obtaining a license from the competent ministry against payment of fees.
IPR - Article 183, ER Article 9
Does the law make special provision for the legal use of orphaned works? No
They are not protected by the IPR law.
Is parallel importation of copyright works permitted? Yes
The copyright holder has the right to prevent third parties from importing, using, selling or distributing his/her protected work, shall lapse where he/she undertakes to exploit or market the work in any state or authorize a third party to do so
IPR - Article 147
Are there national programmes or policies to promote the use, production or dissemination of openly-licensed material such as free and open source software or open educational resources? No
Are there national programmes or policies that specify or promote the use of open document formats? No

Administration and enforcement

What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for an individual? Copyrights infringements are sanctioned by imprisonment for a period not less than one month and a fine of not less than 5,000 pounds and not more than 10,000 pounds, or any of those sanctions. Sanctions can be multiplied according to the number of infringed works, sound recordings, broadcast programs or performances. In case of repetition, the punishment shall consist of imprisonment for a period of not less than three months and a fine of not less than 10,000 pounds and not more than 50,000 pounds. IPR - Article 181
What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for a corporation? The same previous penalties are applied to corporations. In case of conviction, the court may order the closure of the "establishment" used by the convicted person to commit his/her infringement, for a period of not more than six months. In case of repetition, the closure shall be mandatory. However, if it is proved that the legal representative the corporation committed any copyright infringement then imprisonment penalties can be applied. IPR - Article 181
Is innocent infringement of copyright treated differently by the law? No
The penalty is the same for commercial or personal infringement. The difference could be noted in the practice of courts as commercial scale infringement is penalized more heavily by judges.
IPR - Article 181
Is the creation or distribution of devices that can circumvent technological protection measures (TPM) permitted, where such devices can be used for legal purposes? No
The law forbids manufacturing, assembling or importing any device or tool or any technology that aims to circumvent any technological protection measures used by the copyright holder. Such devices can not be used for legal purposes or even for works already in public domain.
IPR - Article 181 (5)
Is the use of such devices by consumers or intermediaries permitted in the legal exercise of user rights? In part
The law prohibit the use of the device in removing, neutralizing or disabling, in bad faith, any TPMs used by the copyright holder.
IPR - Article 181 (6)
Does national copyright or consumer protection law require that the use of TPMs on copyright works be disclosed to consumers? No
The law does not include any provisions related to disclosure of existing TPMs.
Are there cases in which the availability of injunctive relief for copyright infringement is limited by the law on public policy grounds? No
Have major ISPs resisted requests from copyright owners to pass on allegations that their users have engaged in copyright infringement? No
Are criminal sanctions limited to cases of large-scale commercial counterfeiting? No
The penalty is the same for commercial or personal infringement. The difference could be noted in the practice of courts as commercial scale infringement is penalized more heavily by judges.
IPR - Article 181
Are damages for copyright infringement limited to the loss sustained, rather than a pre-established or statutory damages award? No
Egypt's intellectual property rights law sets the minimum and maximum amounts of fines for copyrights infringements. However, applying general rules of the Egyptian legal system allows a copyrights claimant, apart from being entitled to fines, to file a compensation claim before civil courts or criminal courts to claim compensation on the basis of loss sustained from the copyrights infringement.
Is there provision to penalise the wrongful allegation of copyright infringement? No
There is nothing regarding this matter within intellectual property rights law. However, general rules within Egypt's legal system allows the defendant in a wrongful allegation of copyright infringement to seek compensation for any financial or moral losses.
Is there provision to penalise the obstruction of consumers' exercise of user rights? No


Copyright in Egypt is regulated by book three of the intellectual property rights law number 82 for the year 2002 which contains different limitations and exceptions both to the benefit and the harm of access to knowledge.

Translation into Arabic language exception and the use of protected works for educational purposes are among the few provisions that are guided by the need to increase access to knowledge.

On the other hand, there are some restrictive provisions that negatively affect the balance between the interests of copyrights owners and the consumer’s rights. The prohibition of the circumvention of technical protection measures is one of the most troubling provisions. Although Egypt is not a member in WIPO Copyrights Treaty yet it has adopted the highest standards of anti-circumvention provisions as the IPRs law does not include any exceptions for their application. Moreover, the law contains restrictive provisions that are not required by international copyrights agreements such as requiring obtaining licenses from the ministry of culture and paying fees in order to be able to commercially exploit materials that are already in the public domain.Those restrictive provisions do not indicate the legislatures' full awareness of the importance of facilitating access to knowledge in Egypt as a developing country.

In practice, most of access to knowledge stakeholders such as students, libraries and archives and researchers are not fully aware of the existence of those exceptions and limitations as copyright infringement and unpunished violations remain the main channel for A2K. (African Copyrights and Access to Knowledge Report: Egypt.)

They are not also aware of other alternatives such as open source and open access licensing.

The Egyptian copyright law need for legislative reform to allow better access to knowledge and take into consideration consumer rights by extending copyright exceptions and limitations to the digital environment and by adopting specific provisions for people with disabilities.In addition, more efforts is needed to increase the public's awareness of access to knowledge goals, objectives and tools.

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