Practice Areas

Copyright Law

Copyright law in Egypt safeguards the rights of creators of original works. Understanding copyright law is crucial for both creators and users of creative content. This guide will delve into the key aspects of copyright law in Egypt, including protected works, copyright ownership, protection duration, and enforcement mechanisms.

Governing Law:

Book Three of the Law on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights No. 82 of 2002 (IP Law 82/2002) is the primary legislation governing copyright in Egypt. This law came into effect in 2002 and aligns with international copyright treaties like the Berne Convention.

What Does Copyright Protect?

Copyright law in Egypt protects original works of:

  • Literary nature: Books, articles, poems, scripts, software code, etc.
  • Artistic nature: Paintings, sculptures, photographs, films, architectural designs, etc.
  • Scientific nature: Research papers, inventions with original expression, etc.

Copyright Ownership:

Copyright protection arises automatically upon creation of the original work. No registration is required to claim copyright. The creator is the initial copyright owner. Ownership can be transferred through contracts like assignments or licenses.

Exclusive Rights of Copyright Holders:

Copyright grants the owner exclusive rights to:

  • Reproduce the work in any form (printed copies, digital copies, etc.)
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public
  • Adapt, modify, or translate the work
  • Publicly perform or display the work
  • Authorize others to exercise any of these exclusive rights

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Term of Copyright Protection:

The duration of copyright protection varies depending on the type of work:

  • Literary and artistic works: The author’s lifetime plus 70 years after their death.
  • Sound recordings: 50 years from the date the recording was first made.
  • Cinematographic works (films): 70 years from the date the film was first released to the public.

Fair Use:

Egyptian copyright law recognizes the concept of fair use. This allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes such as:

  • Criticism or commentary
  • News reporting
  • Teaching, scholarship, or research
  • Personal, non-commercial use

Copyright Enforcement:

Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright holder. Copyright infringement can be prosecuted under Egyptian law. Penalties may include:

  • Fines ranging from EGP 5,000 to EGP 10,000 per infringement (subject to change)
  • Imprisonment for a period not less than one month

International Copyright Agreements:

Egypt is a signatory to several international copyright treaties, including:

  • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works: This treaty establishes minimum standards for copyright protection across member countries.
  • World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS): This agreement ensures that intellectual property rights, including copyright, are adequately protected by member states.


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Additional Considerations:

  • Registration: While registration is not mandatory, it can provide certain benefits as evidence of copyright ownership in court proceedings. The Egyptian Copyright and Neighboring Rights Society (ECNR) offers copyright registration services.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM): Copyright holders can utilize DRM technology to control access to and use of their digital works.
  • Public Domain: Works whose copyright term has expired enter the public domain and can be freely used by anyone.