American University of Beirut


​​​​​Copyright Laws and Restrictions

The Encyclopedia Britannica (2003) defines copyright as the ‘..exclusive, legally secured right to publish, reproduce, and sell the matter and form of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work. Copyright is designed primarily to protect an artist, publisher, or other owner against any unauthorized copying of his works-as by reproducing the work in any material form, publishing it, performing it in public, filming it, broadcasting it, causing it to be distributed to subscribers, or making any adaptation of the work. A copyright supplies a copyright holder with a kind of monopoly over the created material, which assures him of both control over its use and the pecuniary benefits derived from it.’

In 1952 a convention called ‘The Universal Copyright Convention’ was adopted at Geneva under the auspices of UNESCO. Its core is the provision of automatic protection of works. There are “fair use” exceptions that were added to take into consideration the special circumstances of developing countries - particularly in teaching, scholarship and research.

 The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is NOT to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use”, that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

AUB reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order, if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve a violation of the Copyright Law.

The lack of respect for the Copyright Law is closely connected to the act of plagiarism. It is imperative that students understand fully the implications resulting from infringement of the code of conduct regarding academic integrity. This is clearly explained in the Student Handbook.​

Lebanese Law on Copyright

Translation of Article 25 of the Lebanese Law on Copyright: 
It is permissible, without the approval of the author, and freely, to copy or photocopy a limited number of copies, by non-profit institutions such as educational institutions and public libraries, as long as these institutions keep at least one original copy that students can use free of charge. This is to remain until the time when other mechanisms for photocopying are put in place by the Ministries of Education, Higher Learning and Vocational Training. Legally, a student may make one photocopy free of charge and for personal use without prior approval in order to criticize a work or for supporting an opinion or for citation or any other educational purpose, as long as the number and size do not exceed what is required – and in this case, the author’s name and title of work must always be cited.

An Arabic version is available in PDF format.

How to Cite 

Students are responsible for learning how to credit authorship and how to cite sources in their papers and theses. The University Libraries provide information sessions on how to cite, using a Citation Manager RefWorks, they subscribe to.

Anyone interested in learning more or scheduling these sessions, should contact the Information Services or Reference Departments in Jafet Library.

Ext.: 2629, 2620/1

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