Copyright History in Lebanon

Not too long after the enactment of the Ottoman Copyright Law, Lebanon was made a French protectorate. While being under the French mandate, High Commissioner General Weygand issued Resolution No 2385 on January 17, 1924 to protect a various forms of intellectual property including literary and artistic property. This was the first formal form of copyright legislation passed specifically for Lebanon, and even though the current Lebanese copyright law repealed the copyright chapter of the 1924 resolution, the majority of the industrial property sections of this 1924 legislation are still enforce to this day.

Copyright protection under the 1924 resolution had a wide scope and covered all forms of intellectual creations whether written, graphic, sculptured, or orally delivered. It also protected derivative and translated works as well as collections of works. The exclusive rights covered included copying, publishing, performing and communicating to the public. The protection under this resolution lasted for the life of the author plus 50 years after his death.

The resolution was amended a number of times in light of Lebanon’s membership to international intellectual property treaties. In 1943, the Lebanese Criminal Law was enacted and it included criminal offenses against infringing copyright. The copyright section of the 1924 resolution was later completely repealed along with the copyright provisions of the Criminal Law by a comprehensive copyright law enacted in 1999. The 1999 law was passed in connection with Lebanon’s plans to join the World Trade Organization.

The Law of 1999 is the current copyright law of Lebanon and is a modern copyright legislation that covers all forms of written, pictorial, sculptural, manuscript and oral works including computer programs. The law also covers the rights of performers, producers of phonograms, television ,and radio broadcasting. The term of protection under this law remained the same as the previous one which grants the author protection for his life plus 50 years after his death. It is worth noting that even though the law was enacted in 1999, it still does not include provisions against the circumvention of technological protection measures.

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