• Analysis of Egypt's Copyright Section Under the New IP Law and the Music Industry
  • May 21, 2010
  • Law Firm: Al-Ahl Law Firm - Cairo Office
  • I. Introduction:

    Egypt is a member of the Geneva Convention since 1977. Also, Egypt became a member of the WTO in 1995 and to the Uruguay Rounds signed in Marrakech in 1994. Accordingly, Egypt enacted in June 2002, the new IP law to comply with TRIP’s. This paper shall address the copyright protection conferred by the Third Book of the new IP law No. 82/2002 (“copyright law”) for the music industry in Egypt as recited under Article 140 of the copyright law “Protection under this Law is conferred to authors of literary and artistic works and particularly the following works: Musical works with or without words” 

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    II. Producers of sound recordings

     

    a. Definitions. The copyright law acknowledges the Producers of an audio- or an audiovisual work under Article 138 (11) and define them as “A natural person who, or a legal entity which, takes the initiative to produce and to assume the responsibility for making the audio- or audiovisual work” The copyright law further acknowledge the Producers of sound recordings under Article 138 (13)  as “A natural person who, or a legal entity which, first fixes sounds for any work or performance for a performer, other than fixing of the sounds on images in preparing an audiovisual work”.

     

    b. Exclusive rights. The copy right law recognize the exclusive economic rights of the Producers of sound recordings under Article 157 of the law, and grant them a broad protection and the right to exclude other from any exploitation of their recordings in any manner, without their prior written authorization. Prohibited exploitation, in this sense, includes, in particular, reproduction, renting, broadcasting of such recordings or making them available through computers or any other means... furthermore, Producer of Phonograms have the right to make their sound recording available to the public by wire or wireless means or through computers or any other means”.

     

    c. Protection of foreign work.  The new copyright law extended the scope of protection to foreign repertoire under Article 139 “The prescribed protection of copyright and related rights covers Egyptians and foreigners, whether natural persons or legal entities, who belong to a member country in the World Trade Organization or having such status” furthermore, it extended said protection to foreign sound recordings “if the first fixation of the sound has taken place in a member country of the Organization”. Yet, it is worth noting that the last Para of said article, limit said protection if the rights is derived “agreements in connection with the protection of intellectual property rights, which came into, force prior to 1st January 1995

     

    d. Term of protection. The term of protection as stipulated by Article 167 is “for a period of 50 years calculated from the date on which the recording was made or made public, whichever comes first”

     

    e. Limitations and exceptions. The copyright recite number of exceptions to the exclusive rights of the producers of sound recordings under the compulsory licensing provisions of Article 170 contingent that is not in contradiction with the normal exploitation of the work or does not unduly prejudice the legitimate interests of the author or the copyright holders Furthermore, there are other exceptions under Article 171 allowing the making of a single copy of a phonogram or work for personal use contingent that it shall not cause harm to the right holder, family gathering, and educational use contingent that no remuneration is generated from such use. Also, temporary copies made 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”.

     

    III. Enforcement provisions.

     

    a. Injunctions. The copyright law permits the producer of sound recording to seek a permanent injunction before the competent court of justice, or an temporary injunction before an immediate judge. However, it is to the discretion of the court or the judge to grant an injunction to enjoin the reproduction of the infringing work, order the seizure of the infringing work and confiscation of the materials used in reproducing the infringing work. Furthermore, the court may in all cases order the seizure of, the income made as a result of the exploitation of the work.   

     

    b. Damages. Damages are based on Article 170 of the Egyptian Civil code, while, the calculation of said damages are stipulated by Article 221 and 222 of the Civil code. In all events, damages are to the discretion of the Judge, and they are calculated on the moral and material losses suffered by the right holder due to violation/infringement of the infringer.

     

    c. Criminal sanctions. Article 181 of the copyright law imposes criminal sanctions in the form of imprisonment and criminal fines “Without prejudice to any more severe sanction under any other law, shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period of not less than one month and by a fine of not less than 5,000 pounds and not more than 10,000 pounds” furthermore,“ Sanctions shall be multiplied according to the number of  sound recordings...”. in the event of reoccurrence “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

     

    d. Customs impoundment. This issue was not explicitly recited by the copyright law, however, Article 181 (5) explicitly prohibited the importation of infringing work  and subject it to the criminal sanctions referred to above.

     

     IV. Conclusion

    The new copyright law is intended to bridge the gap between Egypt and the innovative world, and to provide an incentive for the music industry and direct investment. However, this is contingent on the adequate implementation and the effective enforcement of the law by the competent authorities.  After all Intellectual property protection provides fuel for the engine of innovation.