Lebanon/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

Legal protection of intellectual property dates backs to the Ottoman era.

Before the issuance of the law known as the 12 Jamada al-Oola Law in 1328 (1910), some legal provisions which provide authors with some form of protection were found in the country. This law acknowledged the copyrights of artists for all their products: books, drawings, manuscripts and musical works.

During the French mandate, a special office of literary and artistic property protection  was created on 19 Jul. 1923, followed by Decision 2358 issued on 17 January 1924 to determine, organize and protect intellectual property according to the latest international standards.

On 1 Aug. 1924, Lebanon became part of the well-known Bern Convention held on 9 September 1886 pertaining to the protection of literary and artistic works.

The Lebanese Copyright Law 75 was issued on 3 April 1999, which defines all related terms and determines the works covered by copyright protection, its conditions, scope of implementation and the rights enjoyed by copyright owners. This law also specifies the additional rights enjoyed by  the performing artists, audio records producers, TV and radio broadcasting institutions, stations and companies, publishing houses and the legal protection period.

This law permits the creation of copyright management associations and companies and determines and sets out the deposition procedures, precautionary measures, damages and penalties.

Article 2 of Lebanese Copyright Law 75/99 specifies the works covered by legal protection as follows: all products of human mind whether written, painted, sculptured or spoken and regardless of their value or purpose and regardless of method or form of expression.

This indicates that the copyrighted works are not only limited to books but also include any intellectual product or invention regardless of form of expression, such as writing, painting, photographing, movement, performing, playing, reciting, acting, dancing or any other form, whether directly or via a device or other instruments.

An author is by definition not only a writer but also a painter, photographer, lecturer, orator, musician, actor, sculptor, singer or any person who produced a work with a certain degree of creativity.

The works specified in articles 2 and 3 of the mentioned law that are legally protected include, but not limited to:

  • Books, archives, booklets, publications, prints and other written literary, artistic and scientific works.
  • Lectures, speeches and other oral works.
  • Audio and visual works and photographs.
  • Musical works, whether or not associated with speech.
  • Plays and musicals.
  • Choreography and pantomime.
  • Painting, sculpture, craving, decoration, weaving and lithography.
  • Paintings and images related to architecture.
  • Computer programs, including preparatory works.
  •  Plans, blueprints, designs and geographic, topographic, engineering and scientific 3Ds.
  • Works of plastic arts of all types, whether or not dedicated for industry.
  • All secondary works, without prejudice to the rights of the original work, such as translated and adapted  materials, cover versions and collections of works or information, whether electronic or otherwise, licensed by the copyright owner or their public or private successors, provided that the selection or arrangement of the content is creative. 

Chapter published: 07-04-2016