Lebanon 2011

Legal background

Scope and duration of copyright

Does copyright end immediately after the minimum period mandated by the Berne Convention? Yes
Are works that are not fixed in some material form excluded from copyright? Yes
The lebanese Law does not prtotect mere ideas. They need to take a certain form in order to be protected.
Article 4 of CA 75/99
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
Until now, a Competition Law hasn't been issued in Lebanon, although many organizations, among them Consumers Lebanon, are pushing for such a law. The Lebanese Law includes provisions preventing domination of the market.
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
Freedom of speech and the press are maintained by the Lebanese Constitution.
Are databases of non-original material excluded from copyright? No
Copyright law protects "collections of literary or artistic works and compilations of data, whether in machine-readable or other form, provided that they are authorized by the copyright holder or his public or private successors and that by reason of the selection and arrangement of their contents they constitute intellectual creations."
Pargraph 2 of article 3 of CA 75/99
Are rights holders prohibited from excluding user rights under copyright law? In part
The CA 75/99 states that contracts should be in writing and for a certain period of time, if a period is not mentioned than it will be considered ten years. It also states that the author should have a percentage of the profit, and that contracting on future works is considered void. There are some obligatory rights to the author, such as having his name on his works, or setting the way his work is published, also giving him the right to withdraw from contracts if it is necessary to maintain his reputation. Moral rights can't be licensed.
Articles 17 to 21 of CA 75/99
Is computer software excluded from the scope of patentable subject matter? No

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? In part
The CA 75/99 has made exceptions regarding computer programs, copying small parts of books, right to quote, right to use parts of copyrighted material for criticism, and most of all article 23 has authorized individuals to make copies for personal use of any copyrighted material without permission or payment to the author.
Article 23 of CA 75/99
Is time, space and format shifting allowed (such as ripping music from CD to an MP3 player)? In part
This issue has not been addressed by the law, although the law allowed making ONE copy for personal use of any work, but didn't specify shifting.
Can consumers reproduce copyright material for their own use in the original format, for example for backup purposes? Yes
Can works be communicated to a limited public (for example, family and friends) without infringing copyright? In part
The law has addressed issues of making a copy of a copyrighted material for personal use, these copies can not be communicated, while original copyrighted materials can be communicated to a limited public such as family.
For EducationMay students copy works for private research or study? In part
Reproduction of computer softwares is allowed to be put under the disposal of students for educational purposes. For other works, a limited part of any legally published work can be reproduced for educational purposes. Non profit Public libraries can make a copy just for backup reasons.
Article 25
Does any such research and study provision cover distance and online education? In part
This issue hasn't been clearley addressed but in the chapter of definitions, the phrase "Communication to the public" is defined as making the work available to the public by wire or wireless transmission of sounds and/or images, in such a way as to allow the public to hear or view the work at a distance from the broadcasting center. This includes making the work available to the public by wire or wireless means (like the internet) in such a way that every person may access it from a place and at a time chosen by them.
May translations of works be made for educational purposes? In part
The law allows just a limited section of a work to be reproduced for educational purposes, and doesn't specify the form of reproduction.
May educators copy works for use in the classroom? In part
Just a limited part can be reproduced for educational purposes.
OnlineAre temporary or transient copies, incidental to a lawful use, excepted from copyright? In part
Issue not addressed by the law.
Does the law exclude or limit the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs for copyright infringements carried out on their network? Yes
The law doesnt impose any liability on intermediaries, and usually ISP's contracts include a no liability clause.
Is Internet access free of ISP filtering or monitoring for potential copyright-infringements? Yes
Websites arent really moitored. Till now we never had a case regarding copyright infringements over the internet.
By content creatorsIs there any protection for consumers who non-commercially remix or mash up copyright works? Yes
It should be done only for private use.
May computer software be copied for the purpose of reverse-engineering interoperable software? No
Is the incidental inclusion of a work in other material permitted? Yes
For example artistic works can be included in catalogues without the permission of the copyright holder.
Article 34 of CA 75/99
Is there are copyright exception for parody or satire? Yes
A part of a copyrighted material can be used for parody or criticism.
By the pressIs there a copyright exception for the news of the day? Yes
News of the day is not copyrighted.
May copyright material be reproduced for the purposes of review and criticism? Yes
Article 25 addressed this issue generally without specifying the press.
Article 25 of CA 75/99
May quotations be used for any purpose? Yes
By LibrariesMay libraries copy works if they cannot reasonably be obtained commercially? In part
This matter is not addressed by the law.
May librarians copy works for users for the purpose of research or study? In part
Computer software can be copied and lent to students for educational purposes. On the other hand, only a small part of other kinds of copyrighted materials, can be copied, ie copying large sections of books is not permitted.
Are libraries allowed to make preservation or archive copies of materials in their collections? Yes
By disabled usersIs it permissible to copy or adapt work for the use of those with disabilities? In part
Issue of disabled users is not addressed by the law.
In public affairsAre laws excluded from copyright? Yes
Are other governmental works excluded from copyright? Yes
All decrees, governmental decisions are excluded from copyright.
Are the results of publicly funded research required to be published under an open access license? Yes

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? In part
This issue hasn't been addressed clearly but the law states that "The economic rights of the author shall be considered as movable rights and may be transferred in whole or in part."
Article 16 of CA 75/99
Can public domain works be used without the need for any payment or registration of the use? Yes
Does the law make special provision for the legal use of orphaned works? In part
The CA 75/99 hasn't clearly addressed orphaned works, but in general, regarding anonymous and pseudonymous works, the natural person who, or legal entity which published the work shall be considered the author. However should the identity of the author be revealed, he himself shall exercise these rights.
Is parallel importation of copyright works permitted? No
The copyright holder shall have the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the importation of copies of the work manufactured abroad.
Article 15 of CA 75/99
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? Limited to compensation (unless it is for commercial purposes than it is $33000) Article 84
What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for a corporation? $33000 Article 86 of CA 75/99
Is innocent infringement of copyright treated differently by the law? Yes
Article 86 states "Any person who, knowingly and with intent to make a profit, infringes or attempts to infringe copyright...", while article 84 states that " Any person who infringes copyright or a related right shall be required to pay fair compensation to the right holder..."; thus the CA code differentiates between personal versus commercial use.
Articles 84 and 86 of CA 75/99
Is the creation or distribution of devices that can circumvent technological protection measures (TPM) permitted, where such devices can be used for legal purposes? In part
Is the use of such devices by consumers or intermediaries permitted in the legal exercise of user rights? Yes
Does national copyright or consumer protection law require that the use of TPMs on copyright works be disclosed to consumers? No
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? Yes
Are criminal sanctions limited to cases of large-scale commercial counterfeiting? In part
The law addresses anyone who counterfeits, without limiting it to large scale commercial counterfeiting. On the other hand, article 86 states that "Any person who, knowingly and with intent to make a profit, infringes or attempts to infringe copyright...", thus it is limiting it to infringements of large scale.
Article 85 of CA 75/99
Are damages for copyright infringement limited to the loss sustained, rather than a pre-established or statutory damages award? Yes
Article 84 of CA 75/99
Is there provision to penalise the wrongful allegation of copyright infringement? In part
In the Lebanese Penal code, anyone who has been wrongfully accused can file a lawsuit of defamation and ask for indemnity.
Is there provision to penalise the obstruction of consumers' exercise of user rights? No


The CA 75/99 hasn't addressed many of the issues of copyrights, and should be updated and modified to be more consumer friendly. The stringency of the law has been the result of pressure of some of the strongest companies in the world that were losing money due to the piracy in Lebanon, for example Microsoft.

Balancing this, however, Lebanon does have a broad private use exception (albeit limited to one copy), that unlike the similar exceptions in Europe, is not recompensed by a levy.

A Law that addresses Patents has been issued in 1924 upon the French Occupation of Lebanon, and is considered very old and needs updating.

The CA 75/99 should be mandated to be more consumer friendly and to address new issues that arise as a result of modern technology.

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