Rami Olwan

All About CyberLaw, Copyright and Developing Countries

Legislation

Copyright laws in the Arabic countries differ to a large extent, but they can be categorized under three distinct groups. The first category is the countries with a low level of implementation and these include Sudan, Yemen, Palestine and Iraq. The other group is the middle level implementation and this includes those that made amendmentsto their copyright laws in nineties and have a medium level of copyright protection, and they are: Lebanon, Tunisia Qatar, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E). The last group is the countries with a high level implementation and it includes countries that entered into Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the U.S. and as a result they updated or are soon to update their copyright laws significantly to be in conformity with their treaty obligations and they are: Morocco, Oman, Jordan, and Bahrain.

There are 15 countries out of 20 of the Arab countries that have joined the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 1886 as amended (Berne Convention) and only 5 countries out of them have joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty of 1996 (WCT) and WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty of 1996 (WPPT), and these include: Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Qatar and the U.A.E. Economic and political reasons heavily influenced their decision to update their IPRs and enter into these types of treaties.

On 11 April 2000 Jordan became the 136th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after negotiations that lasted for two years. The Jordanian parliament ratified the treaty on 24 February 2000. Many important amendments and draft laws were introduced particularly in the field of IPRs. These laws include:  Patent Law No 32 for 1999, Trademark Law No. 34 for 1999, Industrial Design and Model Law No 14 for 2000, Plant Varieties Law No 24 for 2000, Geographical Indication Law No 8 for 2000, Unfair Competition and Trade Secret Law No. 15 for 2000, and the Protection of Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuit Law No 10 for 2000. Also other amendments were made to many other laws as well.

On 11 April 2000 Jordan became the 136th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after negotiations that lasted for two years. The Jordanian parliament ratified the treaty on 24 February 2000. Many important amendments and draft laws were introduced particularly in the field of IPRs.

These laws include:  Patent Law No 32 for 1999, Trademark Law No. 34 for 1999, Industrial Design and Model Law No 14 for 2000, Plant Varieties Law No 24 for 2000, Geographical Indication Law No 8 for 2000, Unfair Competition and Trade Secret Law No. 15 for 2000, and the Protection of Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuit Law No 10 for 2000. Also other amendments were made to many other laws as well.

The U.S. has markedly increased aid to Jordan since the mid- 1990s to help it strengthen its economy, maintain domestic stability and pursue normalization of its relation with Israel. Jordan was the first Arab country to sign an FTA with the U.S. Article 4 of the United States-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (USJFTA) that deals with IPRs is the largest among all the articles of the USJFTA. The USJFTA contains certain provisions that protect trademarks and geographical indications, copyright and related rights and patents.

The USJFTA concentrates on enforcement of IPRs, including the availability of injunctions, damages and other remedial measures. Jordan joined the Berne Convention on 28 July 1999, WCT on 27 April 2004 and the WPPT on 24 May 2004. As a result of all of that Jordan introduced new amendments to its Copyright Law No 22 of 1999. In particular Jordan

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