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Digital Revolution and Latest Amendments

to the Jordanian Copyright Law

Rami Olwan
PhD Candidate at QUT

- Where is Jordan located?

- What Jordan has done to cope with the digital revolution?

- What kind of legal system does Jordan have?

- Does Jordan needs IPRs laws?

- Why Copyright is important for Jordan?

- Which Copyright Law is applicable?

- What influenced the developments of the Jordanian Copyright Law?

- How Jordan changed its Copyright Law to deal with the digital revolution?

- What is the status of CC in Jordan and the Arab world?

- What does the future look like? 2

Where is Jordan located?
Jordan, is a country in the Arab World in Southwest Asia, bordered by Syria to the
north, Iraq to the north-east, Israel and the West Bank to the west, and Saudi
Arabia to the east and south. It shares the coastlines of the Dead Sea, and the
Gulf of Aqaba with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

What Jordan has done to cope with the digital revolution?
-Jordan is currently pursuing a series of important initiatives to take advantage of the
digital revolution and ICT.

-A national development strategy has been designed and implemented in the country
to take full advantage of the digital revolution (Reach Initiative, 1999).

- The aim of the Reach Initiative is ‘to make Jordan a regional leader and
internationally recognized exporter of ICT products and services’.

- The Reach Initiative concentrates on the following areas:

- Building the necessary regulatory framework
- Advancing IT programs;
- Developing Human resources;
- Enabling telecommunication infrastructure; and
- Providing capital and finance
What kind of legal system does Jordan have?

- Jordan is a civil law country, and largely influenced by the French legal
system and not the common law.

- Islamic Laws still plays a major role in marital status matters only particularly:
marriage, divorce, and inheritance.

- Most Jordanian laws are secular and taken indirectly from France and Egypt, this is
because Jordanian scholars studied law mainly in Egypt.

Does Jordan need IPRs laws?
There are two arguments and these are:

1) Arguments for having IP laws

- Bring investments to the country.
- Increase creativity within Jordanians.

2) Arguments against having IP laws

- Reduce access of scientists, researcher, and students to educational materials.
- Increase the costs of access to many products and technologies (medicine and
seeds), and this makes poverty reduction unattainable.
- Lack of resources to enforce IPRs and lack of cost- benefits tradeoffs.
- A need for economic growth, and protection of domestic industry.
- Suspicion of western IP concepts.
Why copyright is important for Jordan?
-The arrival of the digital revolution provides great opportunities for Jordanians to
access Jordanians to access information and to acquire knowledge.

- Copyright protects a wide range of tools, which are vital to the education, health,
technical literacy and development of Jordanians.

Which copyright Law is applicable?
- The current applicable law is the Copyright Law No 22 of 1999 as amended.

- The law was amended on many occasions in response to the developments.

- The law consists of 62 articles and correspond to the international copyright treaties
that Jordan joined.

- The law is easy to follow and understand even by none- lawyers.

- The law is based on the European copyright model (French intellectual property law
developed in the 19th century) that gives proper attention to authors’ moral rights
contrary to the American copyright model that consecrate on economic rights of the

What influenced the development of the Jordanian
Copyright Law?
The main factors that influenced the development of the Jordanian Copyright Law
were as follows:

- Joining the Berne convention (28 July1999).

- Joining the WTO on 11 April 2000 (136th member of the WTO)

- Signing an FTA with the US on 17 December 2001 (Jordan was the second
country from the Middle East after Israel).

- Joining the World Copyright Treaty (WCT) of 1996 (27 April 2004).

- Joining the WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) of 1996 on 24

May 2004.

How Jordan changed its Copyright Law to deal with the
digital revolution?
Jordan’s Copyright Law was amended on several occasions in response to
challenges presented by digital technologies, and these amendments are as

- Protected computer software (Article (3) (b) (8)).

- Extended the right of copyright owner to include the right to control the
online distribution of digital material (Article (9) (f)).
- Included civil and criminal liability for the removal or alteration of digital
rights managements (article 54).
- Included provisions on anti- circumvention technological protection
measures (article 55).

What is the status of Creative Commons in Jordan?
-Jordan was the first country in the Middle East to introduce international Creative

-The translation of the Creative Commons License (version 1.0) into Arabic and
Jordanian Copyright Law was done on March 25, 2004.

- Not much developments afterward.

What are the Problems of CC in Jordan

-General public are not aware of the CC movement and its importance.

-Few creators are keen on publishing their work under CC licenses, they are
suspicious of using an American concept.

-Few Jordanian lawyers have significant knowledge in copyright laws.

-English language is still an obstacle for many Jordanians.

-Limited internet use in Jordan.

-Cultural differences.
What Are Arab Commons?
-Arab Commons ( is a an initiative that aims to educate
Arab artists, intellectuals and creative workers about the advantages of releasing
their works under CC.

- As of December 2007, the initiative contains:

11 full text books;
7 poetry books;
46 art works;
1 magazine;
1 podcast; and
11 articles.

What does the future look like?
- There are many problems with the current copyright regime.
- The Jordanian Copyright Law is highly restrictive and does not take into
consideration the current situation of the country, and its development
-Jordanian Copyright Law of 1999 does not benefits from the flexibilities
contained in the international copyright treaties mainly Berne, TRIPS and
-The law should be examined carefully and some exceptions and
limitations should be introduced (anti-circumvention, compulsory licensing
for translation, utilizing the whole work for teaching).
- There are many initiatives that need to be considered in Jordan (including
creative commons, open source software and access to knowledge).
- These initiatives can bring many opportunities to Jordan and many other
countries in the Arab world.

- Jordan’s CC page at

- The U.S Jordan FTA Agreement at

- Wikpedia’s page on Jordan at

- Map of Jordan available at

- Copyright and Access to Knowledge, available at

- Jordan’s Reach Initiative at

- Taylor Luck, ‘Artists advocate for establishment of creative commons’, the Jordan
Times, available at

- Arab Commons at

- Copyright and Access to Knowledge, available at

- Mary Kopczynski, Robin hood versus the bullies: software piracy and developing countries, 33 Rutgers Computer Tech.
L.J. 299.
Thank you

Any questions or comments ?