The Bibliotheca Alexandrina adheres to Egyptian copyright law (Law 82 of 2002) for intellectual property and to the international copyright conventions which have been ratified by the Arab Republic of Egypt. The purpose of this policy statement is to help the BA staff and patrons better understand and apply the principles of copyright law.

This policy aims to ensure that all library services and activities are in full compliance with the Egyptian law of intellectual property and the signed conventions. To meet these goals, this document highlights all of the services and activities which are affected by copyright principles and how those services and activities are affected.

What is meant by Copyright?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property, granting an exclusive legal right to its holder. It provides protection to the copyright holders against unauthorized copying of their work. It should be noted that neither publication of a work nor the symbol of the encircled "c" (©) is necessary for protecting someone's copyright.

Copyright encompasses two types of rights: economic rights (i.e. reproduction, distribution, public performance, broadcasting and translation of a work) and moral rights (i.e. the right to have authorship recognized, the right to preserve the integrity of a work).

According to the Egyptian Intellectual Property Law 82 of 2002 (Article 147), the copyright holder has the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  1. Reproduce copies of his/her work.
  2. Distribute copies of his/her work by rent, sale, lending, lease, or any other means of distribution.
  3. Publicly perform or display his/her work.
  4. Prepare derivative works or translate the original copyrighted work.

Under Egyptian law, copyright is transferable, and these rights are retained by the copyright holder regardless of whether he or she was the actual author of the copyrighted work or not. These rights by themselves, however, are too restrictive and would tend to suppress the free exchange of ideas by making it burdensome for authors, scholars and others to make use of or to expand upon the ideas of others. This is recognized in the doctrine of "fair use".

Fair Use

Fair Use (Article 171 of the Egyptian Law of Intellectual Property 82 of 2002) is a complex doctrine meant to facilitate certain valuable social and educational purposes. Fair use allows parts of a copyrighted work to be used without requesting permission and without violating, or infringing, the copyright. However, only a limited portion of a work is allowed to be copied. According to an article of the Fair Use Doctrine, the copyright holder cannot forbid anyone from doing any of the following:

  1. Displaying the copyrighted work within a family or among students in an educational institution as long as there is no direct or indirect monetary benefit.
  2. Making a single copy of a computer program by the legitimate owner for the purpose of preservation.
  3. Making an analytical study of a work or using excerpts of it for the purposes of criticism, discussion, or for media purposes.
  4. Copying from a copyrighted work to use in juridical or administrative procedures, taking into consideration that it is mandatory to mention the source and the author.
  5. Copying limited portions of a copyrighted work for the purposes of education or illustration, taking into consideration that it is mandatory to mention the author and the title on the copies whenever possible.
  6. Making a single copy of a copyrighted work by libraries that are not receiving any benefit, either directly or indirectly, in any of the following cases:
    • Copying a published article, a short work, or a derivative work, in response to a patron request, taking into consideration that this can be done only once or can be done on disparate time intervals.
    • Copying for the purpose of preservation or replacement.
  7. Making a single copy for personal use, taking into consideration that it must not affect the copyright holder's legitimate rights by any means. It must be noted that the author or his/her successor, after publishing a work, has the right to forbid others from doing the following:
    • Copying the essential part of a work.
    • Copying or photocopying architectural drawings, or works of fine or applied arts if they were not put on display in a public place.
Permission for Copying in Excess of Fair Use

In general, it is up to the individual to obtain permission from the legitimate copyright holder to copy more than a limited portion of a copyrighted work. Bibliotheca Alexandrina, however, will not copy more of a copyrighted work than what is allowed under fair use.

Public Domain

Public domain works are works which are creative, but are not copyrighted and therefore can be used freely by anyone without need of any permission. There are four reasons for a work to be deemed public domain:

  1. Expiry of the copyright term for a work.
  2. Failure of the author to satisfy statutory formalities to perfect the copyright.
  3. The work is a governmental official document, or a newspaper article.
  4. Specific written notice by the author refusing copyright or granting permission to copy the work.
Terms of Copyright

The table below lists the terms of copyright under the current law:

Published before 1923
Published 1923-1963
28 years + could be renewed for 47 years, now extended by 20 years for a total renewal of 67 years. If not so renewed, now in public domain
Published 1964-1977
28 years for first term; now automatic extension of 67 years for second term
Created before Jan. 1, 1978, but not published
70 years after the death of the creator of the work, or 12-31-2002, whichever is greater
Created before 1-1-78 but published between then and 12-31-2002
70 years after the death of the creator of the work, or 12-31-2047 whichever is greater
Created on or after Jan 1, 1978
70 years after the death of the creator of the work (or if work of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation
Photocopying Machines and Printers
  • Photocopying machines are supervised by the library's Copy Centers, and it is the library's responsibility to ensure that photocopying activity complies with Egyptian Law 82 of 2002
  • very printer in the library must include the following note:

Notice: The Egyptian Law 82 of 2002 governs the printing of copyrighted materials. Library patrons using this printer agree to adhere to the law and are liable for any infringement.

Unpublished Works

Unpublished materials (i.e. manuscripts) are copyrighted regardless of age, even if they lack a notice of copyright. Manuscripts and rare books are not copied under library policy.

Audiovisual Materials

Audiovisual recordings are subject to the following rules:

  • Video recordings are accessible in devoted viewing rooms in the Arts & Multimedia Library, a specialized library located on Level B3.
  • All copies are legitimate and original.
  • Audio and video recordings are provided for educational and instructional purposes. Library patrons are asked to sign a statement insuring this educational purpose, with no responsibility to the library.
  • Replication of copyrighted audio or video material is prohibited by the BA.
Computer Software

Copying of computer software is prohibited under library policy.

How much can I copy?

Permitted Portions

The following numbers and quantities are intended as a guide to library staff and patrons as to what is traditionally considered to be fair use. These guidelines are not based on actual legal documents, judgments, or government proclamations, but on standard practices and legal custom. Because they have no actual basis in law, they are subject to change and should be followed with care. If the application of the doctrine of fair use would result in more restrictive copying allowances, then the more restrictive policy must be followed.

Text Works :

  1. Books No more than one chapter or 10%, whichever is less, of a book is permitted to be copied for educational purposes.
  2. Journals and other periodicals : No more than one complete article from any one issue of a journal or magazine may be copied for the same patron.
  3. Other textual materials : No more than one section or 10%, whichever is less, of any text material is permitted to be copied for educational purposes.


No more than five pictures are permitted to be copied from the same artist by the same patron.

Audiovisual Materials

  1. Video Recordings 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, of a video recording is permitted to be copied for educational purposes.
  2. Audio Recordings 10% or 30 seconds, whichever is less, of an audio recording is permitted to be copied for educational purposes.
  3. Computer Software Copying computer software is prohibited under library policy.
  4. Rare Books and Manuscripts : Copying rare books and manuscripts is prohibited under library policy.

Electronic Resources

One complete article or report, or 10% of the total resource, whichever is less, is permitted to be copied or printed by a library patron.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina Logo :

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina Logo is copyrighted and may not be copied without first obtaining written permission from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Disabled Patrons Materials:

  1. Braille Books One complete chapter or 12% of a Braille book, whichever is less, is permitted to be copied by library patrons.
  2. Audio Books 10% or 35 seconds, whichever is less, of a cassette book is permitted to be copied by library patrons.
  3. Video Books 10% or 5 minutes, whichever is less, of a video book is permitted to be copied by library patrons.