Decree No. 2385 dated 17th of January, 1924 was issued at the time of the French Mandate over Syria and Lebanon.
Article 145 of the above Decree stipulates that: “Each work of Art or work of Literature is meant to be an intellectual production, disregarding its kind or value, whether it is scientific, literary, lyrical composes or just verbal such as rhetoric, lectures, or even sound production such as musical works, motion, dance, pantomime, or industrial such as drawing, sculpture, cinema, and photography.
Article 708 of the Syrian Penal Code stipulates that: “every intellectual production, disregarding its value, is considered a literary or artistic work whether it is:
- Written like books, booklets, or newspapers
- Verbal like rhetoric and lectures
- Sound like music.
- Motion like dance, and pantomime
- Industrial like construction, sculpture, drawing, engraving, cinema, or photography.”
Article 709 stipulates that: “According to the provision mentioned in the article, the following are considered literary or artistic works:
- Translation, adaptation, proofreading, and copying on condition that this would not harm the intellectual property right of the original work of art.
- Selected pieces and works which are entitled to enjoy a distinctive nature through collecting them in one work.
- Transcribing rhetoric, seminars, lectures of professors, and every verbal expression be it by writing or by sound machines.
- Transcribing texts of old manuscripts and publishing them on condition that every individual has the right of firsthand publishing or transcribing.
On 5 November 1981 the Arab Agreement on protection of intellectual Property was signed in Baghdad by a number of Arab states; Syria did not join. Nevertheless, the listed protected works as a specific category, but did not inclue them in the agreement.
The directorate of composer rights in the Ministry of Culture, which made decision No. 929 on 6/8/2002, undertakes international laws set by WEBO which is a UN organization that Syria joined in 2004. The directorate was established by the Ministry of Culture in 2001. It has a judicial enforcement team whose task is to verify complaints sent to the ministry. If they were proved right, the complaints would be sent to court through cooperation between the directorate and the Secretary General office. Legislative decree No.74 was issued in 2005 to agree on Syria joining the Rome International Treatment for protecting performance artists, audio recording producers, and broadcasting commissions.
Law on the Intellectual Property in Syria. In 2001 Law No.12 for 2001 was made concerning the protection of Syrian copyrights. On 17 September 2013, legislative decree No. 62 for 2013 was published and stipulated applying the rulings of the “protection copyright and related rights”. The detailed law had 104 articles, the last article stipulated that law 12 for 2001 was abrogated.
Domain of Protection:
- Literary, scientific and artistic works are liable for protection by sole means of its creating. Protection includes all forms of intellectual production
- Books, booklets, publications, manuscripts, archives, and blogs; and any similar literary, artistic and scientific work.
- Works that are transmitted orally such as lectures, speeches, sermons and their equivalent; drama, performance and musical works.
- Dance choreography, pantomime and mime performance and similar invented theatrical performance works.
- Musical works whether with lyrics or without, audio-visual works such as cinema, television and similar related works.
- Works of photography and related visual arts.
- Computer programs whether in source code or machine code.
- Databases whether in readable form or digital or any other type if the database was invented.
- Working title if it was invented.
- Derivative works such as translations, adaptations, musical distributions or alterations, popular works and traditions such as encyclopaedias, anthologies, software and related computer programming data, and literary, artistic works in encyclopaedias and anthologies that are considered as intellectual inventions because of its chosen material and its arrangements.
- Intellectual Property Rights
Right of the author to publish their work for the first time and to assign the type of publishing and release date. The author’s royalties are guaranteed.
The author shall not conceal their identity or use a pen name. It is forbidden to distort, vandalize or modify the author’s works. It is forbidden to infringe upon the author’s work with aims to cause damage to their honour or reputation.
It is prohibited to put up the author’s work for trade or withdrawing it from circulation even if they have previously had the right to financial investment, if that is for serious reasons the work can be banned or withdrawn.
Moral rights of the author are perpetual and are not subject to limitation or disposal. The author’s direct heir inherits these rights according to stipulated rights in this article of the law and the Ministry inherits these rights in case the author has no heir.
The author or their heir who has inherited the financial royalties rights has exclusive financial rights.
Copyright holders of manuscripts of literary, musical notation works, and works of art such as paintings and sculptures who own the single original work enjoy inalienable rights that allow them royalties of no more than 10% of the work’s sale value subsequent to the sale of the original ownership of the artwork.
The author’s financial rights concerning audio-visual works and joint works are protected for a period of fifty years starting from the first calendar year after the work was first produced.
Financial rights regarding works that are published without mention of their author’s name or their pen name are protected for a period of 50 years starting from the first calendar year after the work was first published.|
Financial rights regarding applied art works are protected for a period of 25 years starting from the first calendar year after the work was completed.
Financial rights regarding database works are protected for a period of 15 years starting from the first calendar year after the work was completed.
A joint work is a work that was produced by more than one author whether each author’s contribution can be separately distinguished or cannot so long as the work is not categorized as a collective work; each author who has contributed to producing a joint work or authoring a part of a work that can be distinguished from its other parts, has the right to take measures to prevent the infringement of any intellectual property right with regard to the work.
Collective Work: is a work that more than one author has contributed to its production with the initiative and guidance of a natural or legal person who publishes the work under their name. The person who led the initiative, guided it or provided funding to produce the collective work is the owner of copyright and financial rights unless an agreement was made otherwise. |
Financial rights of collective works authors are under lifelong protection and for a period of 50 years after the last living author’s death unless otherwise stipulated by law.
Related rights are defined in article 1 of the legislative decree as: (rights enjoyed by performance artists, audio-visual recordings producers, and broadcasting institutions, companies and stations and publishing houses).
Performers enjoy moral rights such as the right to a percentage of the revenues of the performed work whether live or broadcasted, the right to reserve admission and prohibit any distortion or disruption of their live or broadcast performance. As well as financial rights concerning transmission of unrecorded performance, recording and registering the performance, copying registered performances and renting, distributing or disseminating original performances.
Producers of audio or visual recordings, works and information in their role as representatives of performers enjoy the right to copy, distribute, lend, rent and the right to disseminate audio-visual or informational recordings to the public.
Performers enjoy financial rights that are protected for a period of 50 years starting from the first calendar year after the public performance took place
Producers of audio-visual recordings enjoy financial rights that are protected for a period of 50 years starting from the first calendar year after the audio-visual recordings were disseminated.
Broadcasting stations’ rights grant the protection of their resources and programming for a period of 20 years starting from the first calendar year after the material was first broadcast.
Exceptions and Necessary Licenses
- Chapter 1 of Section 4 states the exceptions of intellectual property laws and related laws in detail so long that the exceptions in this chapter do not waiver copyrights of authors and performance artists.
- Chapter 2 states the government rights represented by the Ministry of Culture in publishing, or providing publishing licenses or translation with regulations that do not overlook copyrights.
The Directorate for the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights
With the implementation of the previously mentioned law the Directorate for Protection of Copyright and Related Rights replaced the Copyright Office at the Ministry of Culture that is assigned to educate authors, performance artists, producers of audio-visual recordings and broadcasting stations on the best ways to exercise their rights, study and follow up issues, stay up to date with collective management organizations and monitor their activities as well as helping in the implementation of their tasks, preserve archiving works and audio-visual recordings and others and suggesting what is needed to implement provisions of the law, saving informatics and coordinating with the Ministry of Communications and Technology in areas of verification, copyrights of data producers. Article 67 of the chapter mentioned contains the regulations of entrusting works, manuscripts and data that need to accompany the archived workbook.
Oral forms of expression such as stories, riddles, proverbs and folk poems. Musical forms of expression such as folk songs and music.
Folk dances and plays, artistic forms and rituals, in addition to material forms of expression such as calligraphy, painting, engraving, products made out of clay, wood, mosaics and handicrafts and similar forms. Musical instruments. Architecture styles.
The mentioned forms of folklore are considered a national property by the Directorate for the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights at the Ministry of Culture and as a perpetual right with no limitation period.
- Chapter 1 of Section 2 of the law concerning preventative measures lists them in detail and in
- Chapter 2 of the same Section are detailed penalties including prison terms and fines for each violation, and the parties or authorities assigned to determine criminal violations.
Frameworks of Law Enforcement
Provisions of the law concerning intellectual property are applicable to:
- Intellectual property of Syrian citizens or under Syrian law.
- Works that have been first published in the Syrian Arab Republic or published in Syria within thirty days after being published in another country.
- Audio-visual works by producers headquartered are in Syria.
- Architecture that was built in the Syrian Arab Republic, and other works of art or other installations incorporated in the building located in Syria.
- Informatics produced in the Syrian Arab Republic.
The law is applicable to performers whose performance took place in the Syrian Arab Republic or was included in audio or video recordings protected by this law, or of the performance was included in broadcasting medium protected by the law.
The law is applicable – to producers of audio or video recordings if they are citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic or if the recording was first broadcast or disseminated for the first time in the Syrian Arab Republic.
The provisions of the law concerning the protection of broadcasting stations’ material and programming if the station was based in the Syrian Arab Republic or was broadcast from stations that are inside Syria.
Section 10 of Law number 62 of 2013 contains general provisions and the decision to abolish law number 12 of 2001.
Data protection laws:
In April 2012, the Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology discussed with concerned parties, in the framework of being assigned to put forth a new law for the protection of personal data that is capable of being used on internet, the suggested ideas about the form of the responsible party, which would be responsible of the assurance of law enforcement in order to put it along with its executive bureau in service.
The Minister of Telecommunication and Technology stated that:
“The law project is considered part of the laws that the ministry is working on setting to organize E-services in Syria. There is personal digital data that is capable of being utilized on the worldwide web or available in databases, which requires the availability of legislations to control its usage by parties that are not permitted to look through it, and to restrain its transfer from the outside of the party that has collected it; which requires the availability of specific restraints and mechanisms to protect this data.”
He indicated that the topic has two branches; the first is related to those restraints as there are available international legislations that organize which way data collecting, modifying, transferring and looking through are permitted. While the other branch is about the executive method of the surveillance authority which is defined as the responsible party for the protection of persons rights and freedoms regarding modifying data on personal instinct. At the date of publication of this research the data protection law has not been passed.
Laws on protecting the data are not applicable in Syria.