African-Arab Seminar on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions: Addressing the Needs of Affected Constituencies

Cairo, Egypt - November 2, 2009

Jointly organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt


In order to maintain an appropriate balance between the interests of rightholders and the public, including users of protected works, copyright laws allow certain limitations on economic rights, that is, cases in which protected works may be used without the authorization of the rightholder and with or without payment of compensation.

Limitations and exceptions to copyright and related rights vary from country to country due to particular social, economic and historical conditions. International treaties acknowledge this diversity by providing general conditions for the application of exceptions and limitations and leaving to national legislators to decide if a particular exception or limitation is to be applied and, if it is the case, to determine its exact scope. More recently, the adoption of the WIPO Development Agenda acknowledged the need to further facilitate access to knowledge and to foster creativity and innovation. As such, the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights has been recently engaged in a discussion on limitations and exceptions to copyright and related rights.

This seminar provided a forum for a dialogue and exchange of information, views and insights among different participants, in both the African and the Arab regions, in the field of copyright limitations and exceptions, bearing in mind the ongoing discussions at the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. In addition to general themes related to the topic, discussions also focused on limitations and exceptions for libraries, archives, museums, dissemination and use of copyrighted works for education and research, and IP and the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Seminar was also a preparatory exercise for the ongoing discussions at the SCCR, and supported the African and Arab regions in developing their positions for those discussions.