Legal background

Scope and duration of copyright

Does copyright end immediately after the minimum period mandated by the Berne Convention? Yes
This depends on the type of work. For example, under the law, the copyright in a book or software will last for the life of the author plus fifty years after his death (art 30).
Arts 23E, 30, 32
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of IP rights under competition law, for example by imposing compulsory licensing or regulating royalties charged by dominant rights holders? No
The court has not taken such action. The Unfair Competition and Trade Secret Law could possibly be used in this situation. The Copyright Law allows compulsory licensing in Art 11 A/B.
Art 11 A/B
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of IP rights pursuant to a bill of rights or similar human rights instrument, for example by preventing copyright from being used to stifle protected speech? No
See also the Jordanian Constitution of 1952
Can databases of non-original material be reproduced without infringing a copyright or sui generis database right? In part
The rule under the Copyright Law is that non orginal databses are not protected unless they are were distinguished by a personal effort involving innovation or arrangement.
Arts 3(D) and 7 of the Copyright Law.
Are rights holders prohibited from excluding user rights under copyright law? In part
The civil legal system differentiates between two kinds of rules default and mandatory rules. Whereas the default rules can be modified by agreement of the parties, mandatory rules cannot be modified by the parties and in case of the parties agreeing to do so, the contract shall be considered null and void. Article 163 of the Jordanian Civil Code gives a non- conclusive list of matters that are considered as public order that parties cannot agree in contrary. Unfortunately, the copyright law in Jordan, does not clearly delineate between mandatory and default rules. Courts should look to the language of the relevant provisions in determining what rules are mandatory. It can be argued that exclusion of user rights is not permitted as they constitute mandatory rules under the law in Jordan.
Art 163 of the Jordanian Civil Code
Is computer software excluded from the scope of patentable subject matter? No
Art 4 of the Patent Law

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? No
The Copyright Law has its influences in the French legal system that do not use the terms “fair use” or “fair dealing”, but instead “limitations to an author’s exclusive rights”. Unlike the US legal system’s concept of open-ended fair use, the limitations provided under the Copyright Law are subject to rigid application and are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Art 17
Is time, space and format shifting allowed (such as ripping music from CD to an MP3 player)? No
Unfortunately, the Copyright Law does not allow format shifting although many laws have included it as a limitation to copyright infringement.
Can consumers reproduce copyright material for their own use in the original format, for example for backup purposes? No
The Copyright Law does not contain any limitations and exceptions that relate to the use of computer software, even if it was legally obtained.
Art 3(8)
Can works be communicated to a limited public (for example, family and friends) without infringing copyright? Yes
The Copyright Law allows reproduction of a work exclusively for private purposes without the need to obtain an authorization from the author or payment of any remuneration provided that certain conditions are satisfied.
Arts 17/A/B
For EducationMay students copy works for private research or study? Yes
Under the Copyright Law, Copying is allowed in accordance with the normal practice of research and should not exceed the main purpose of critiquing, discussion, explanation, educational, cultural, religious and vocational training.
Art 17/D
Does any such research and study provision cover distance and online education? No
Unfortunately, the law does not contain such provision. The Copyright Law should be designed in such a way as to enable educational institutions to reproduce or to digitise copyright material where necessary for the benefit of remote students. This would be of immense value to students enrolled in distance education programmes from remote and underdeveloped areas in Jordan, as it would allow those students to pursue their studies from their hometowns and rural areas.
Art 17A/C
May translations of works be made for educational purposes? Yes
Article 11(A) of the Copyright Law gives any Jordanian who is working in a pre-college or a college, and for research purposes, the right to obtain a non-exclusive and non-assignable licence from the Minister of Culture (or whomever the Minster deputizes) to translate any foreign work to Arabic and to publish that work in any form, provided that there has been the passage of three years since the first publication of the work and there is no available Arabic translation of the work, or, if there was a translation, it is out of stock. In the event of the granting of a non-exclusive licence for translation from the Minister of Culture, the author shall deserve fair compensation determined in accordance with the law.
Art 11/A
May educators copy works for use in the classroom? Yes
Under the Copyright Law, libraries, non-commercial documentation centers, educational institutions, scientific and cultural institutions are allowed to reproduce entire works through photocopying or otherwise if their activities are not profit- making.
Art 20
OnlineAre temporary or transient copies, incidental to a lawful use, excepted from copyright? No
The Copyright Law does not allow making temporary copies in the RAM as the author is given the right to control all reproduction of his work whether temporary or permanent.
Art 9/A
Does the law exclude or limit the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs for copyright infringements carried out on their network? No
The Copyright Law has no specific provisions dealing with the liability of Online Service Providers (OSPs). In the absence of a provision in the Copyright Law, the Jordanian Civil Code is applicable.
Arts 256 and 288 of the Jordanian Civil Code
Is Internet access free of ISP filtering or monitoring for potential copyright-infringements? Yes
There is not law that requires ISP to filter or monitor the internet.
By content creatorsIs there any protection for consumers who non-commercially remix or mash up copyright works? No
The Copyright Law does not allow remix and mash up.
May computer software be reproduced or transformed for the purpose of reverse-engineering interoperable software? No
The Copyright Law does not contain any provisions that allow programmers to look at and examine other programs, in order to enable compatible and competing software products to be produced. This is known as “interoperability of software”. IT developers in Jordan should be given a narrow limitation and exception to copyright infringement of software that allows reverse engineering.
Is the incidental inclusion of a work in other material permitted? No
The Copyright Law does not allow that.
Is there are copyright exception for parody or satire? No
The Copyright Law does not allow parody and satire.
By the pressIs there a copyright exception for the news of the day? Yes
The Copyright Law in art 18 allows reproduction of an important public domain article on politics, economics and religion published in a non- Jordanian newspaper without authorisation by the author or payment of any remuneration, but subject to the obligation to mention the source where the article has been reproduced. Art 19 also gives newspapers and media organisations the right to produce works for publication purposes such as speeches, lectures, interviews and other similar works which are presented openly or are directed to the public, without obtaining the consent of the right holder
Arts 18, 19
May copyright material be reproduced for the purposes of review and criticism? Yes
See above explanation of Art 17/D.
Art 17/D
May quotations be used for any purpose? No
The quotation as prescribed in art 17(D) of the Copyright Law has to be in accordance with the normal custom and practice of research and must not exceed what is necessary to achieve its purpose.
By LibrariesMay libraries copy works if they cannot reasonably be obtained commercially? Yes
There is a generic limitation for libraries, non-commercial documentation centres, educational institutions, scientific and cultural institutions in art 20 of the Copyright Law that allows reproduction of part or entire works through photocopying or otherwise, if the activities of those institutions are not directly or indirectly profit-making.
Art 20
May librarians copy works for users for the purpose of research or study? In part
Under the Copyright Law, libraries, non-commercial documentation centers, educational institutions, scientific and cultural institutions are allowed to reproduce part or entire works through photocopying or otherwise if their activities are not profit- making and other conditions are satisfied.
Art 20
Are libraries allowed to make preservation or archive copies of materials in their collections? In part
Not clear under the Copyright Law since it does not mention the preservation and archiving for library purposes.
Art 20
Can lending libraries operate without incurring public lending rights fees to copyright owners? No
This is not specified under the law.
By disabled usersIs it permissible to copy or adapt work for the use of those with disabilities? No
There are currently no limitations for people with sensory disabilities or visually impaired people (whether blind, visually impaired, or deaf) in the Copyright Law. It is important for the Copyright Law to permit copies of the work to be made in an accessible format for the benefit of people with disabilities including blind, visually impaired and other reading-disabled people
In public affairsAre laws excluded from copyright? Yes
There is no copyright in the official texts of legal, administrative or judicial nature, according to the exclusion made by art 7(A).Those documents fall immediately into the public domain.
Art 7/A
Are other governmental works either excluded from copyright, or routinely shared under permissive licences? No
Not clear under the Copyright Law the status of government work. The position in Jordan is similar to other countries that adopt the civil legal system.
Art 7/A
Are the results of publicly funded research required to be published under an open access licence? No
Unfortunately, there is no policy in relation to that matter.

Freedoms to share and transfer

Do copyright owners have the right to release their works to the public domain, without any limitation on how those works may be used? In part
The manner to release the work to the public is not clear under the Copyright Law. The Civil Code should determine when there is no provision in the Copyright Law in that regard.
34/B of the Copyright Law
Can public domain works be used without the need for any payment or registration of the use? No
According to art 34(B) of the Copyright Law, any person who is interested in printing, publishing or translating a work that was not printed, published and translated in Jordan needs first to apply to the Minister of Culture to obtain a licence to do so. Such a requirement is a barrier to A2K and proves to be obstructive as it imposes an unnecessary administrative delay and cost on the ability of people to freely and easily use public domain works.
Does the law make special provision for the legal use of orphaned works? No
No different treatment for orphan works. See above Art 34 of the Copyright Law.
34 (A)
Is parallel importation of copyright works permitted? No
The Copyright Law gives author the right to control importation of commercial quantities of his work.
Art 9/E
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
The Jordanian government is more interested in proprietary software rather than open source software. It have singed several agreements with Microsoft to provide software for government and not with any other open source software corporation. It is imperative for Jordan to understand and use open code and content licensing systems (voluntary mechanisms) such as Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and Creative Commons (CC).
Are there national programmes or policies that specify or promote the use of open document formats? No
This is not discussed or considered by any Jordanian government agency.

Administration and enforcement

What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for an individual? 6000 JD (8,450 USD) Art 51
What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for a corporation? 6000 JD (USD 8,450 ) Art 51
Is innocent infringement of IP treated differently by the law? No
No difference, although the minimum period could be applied for innocent infringers.
Arts 51/52
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 Copyright Law does not permit the creation and distribution of circumvention devices.
Arts 54, 55
Is the use of such devices by consumers or intermediaries permitted in the legal exercise of user rights? No
Unfortunately, the Copyright law does not contain any limitation and exception for TPMs for any lawful purpose.
Art 54, 55
Does national copyright or consumer protection law require that the effect of TPMs distributed with copyright works be disclosed to consumers? No
This not required under consumers laws.
Are there cases in which the availability of injunctive relief for IP infringement is limited by the law on public policy grounds? No
Not determined under the Copyright Law.
Art 46
Does the law protect a user's Internet access from being suspended for alleged copyright infringement, except after a hearing in court? No
Unfotunately, there is no law that protects interent users.
Are criminal sanctions limited to cases of large-scale commercial counterfeiting? No
Criminal sanctions could be applied not only on large- scale commercial counterfeiting.
Art 51
Are damages for copyright infringement limited to the loss sustained, rather than a pre-established or statutory damages award? No
It is based on a statutory award deremined in accordance with the Copyright Law.
Arts 51/52
Is there provision to penalise the wrongful allegation of copyright infringement? In part
Under the Copyright Law, in case of taking a preliminary measure (injunction) that proved to be unjustified under the Copyright Law, the party requesting the measure may lose his warranty that he has paid.
Is there provision to penalise the obstruction of consumers' exercise of user rights? No
Does the patent system allow for pre-grant opposition? Yes
Arts 14 and 15 of the Patent Law

Recent or upcoming changes

There is a new draft of the copyright law (2010) in the process of being reviewed by the Jordanian Parliament and it is not clear whether and when it will approved.

Summary of position

The Copyright Law in Jordan is restrictive and does not take into account the local conditions and development needs of the country. Jordan was very quick to enter into a Free Trade Agreement with the USA, which has constrained its ability to develop copyright law according to its own requirements.  IP is not to be regarded as a magic formula that will solve the problems of Jordan, but rather as “a means to an end”. It is important for Jordan to move beyond the traditional view of IP towards a more development-oriented approach, which integrates IP into its wider development policies. The use of voluntarily mechanisms (Fee and Open Source Software and Creative Commons) must be widely encouraged in Jordan to promote the development of local content production and expertise.


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