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Copyright and Permissions: What is Copyright?

Welcome! This guide provides information and resources on copyright law in Lebanon and internationally. The guide emphasizes on how copyright law relates to academic activities such as research, teaching, and publishing.

What is copyright?

 Copyright is a form of legal protection that provides authors of original creative works with a set of exclusive rights to:

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  • Reproduce the work, in whole or in part,
  • Distribute copies of the work,
  • Prepare derivative works based on the original, such as translations or adaptations.
  • Change the work, translate or update
  • Publicly perform the work, Publicly display the work, 

The common ground for copyright protection of works and the rights of its authors is provided by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, signed for the first time in 1886 and administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Types of works protected by copyright include: What is not protected by copyright?
  • literary works
  • musical works
  • dramatic works
  • choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • sound recordings
  • architectural works
  • facts or ideas
  • titles, names, short phrases, or slogans
  • procedures, methods, systems or processes
  • Government documents if not confidential
  • works that have passed into the public domain

Copyright holder

The copyright owner controls the use of his work in a number of ways and he receives remuneration (material rights) and, attribution and integrity (moral rights).  In order to use a copyrighted work, outside of the exceptions stated in the law, you need to get the permission of the copyright holder.

In most cases, the author or creator of the work is the copyright holder unless they have transferred the rights to someone else through a written agreement, such as a publishing agreement.

* If the work is created as part of a person's employment, it may be a "work for hire," meaning that the employer is the copyright holder. 

* If two or more people together create a work, they are joint holders of the copyright. Joint owners each have an equal right to exercise and enforce the copyright.

*Works are protected by copyright law automatically at the time of their creation. Although it is not mandatory but it is recommended to register the work with a Copyright Office. Copyright Notice and the Use of the Copyright Symbol.

*Copyright is valid for a defined period of time after which the work becomes in public domain

 National Treatment

The principle of National Treatment basically requires that parties to a Convention provide protection of works to non-nationals on the same terms as they do to their own nationals. Article 5 (1) for the Berne Convention and article 3 from the TRIPS Agreement provide for the principle of National Treatment.