Until lawmakers harmonize the relationship between copyright owners and users within the context of software copyright, it will remain a controversial topic within the legal field. The ongoing conflict of interests between copyright owners and users along with the increasing complexities of technology make the situation of software copyright more complicated. It is something that the doctrine of fair use/dealing aims to stabilize. In the past few decades, the doctrine of fair use/dealing has evolved towards more complex recording and sharing tools, such as the peer-to-peer networks. However, the court rulings that involve fair use/dealing in software copyright cases contain many inconsistencies. Many of these inconsistencies are caused by the continuous enforcement of software copying restrictions, which have made software copying acts that used to be fair as, instead, copyright infringements. In addition, the test that determines the fairness of copying acts contains some ambiguities. Nevertheless, fair use/dealing has achieved some balance in terms of the legal powers between copyright owners and users and to preserves, to some extent, copyright’s true purpose, which is to maintain the flow of knowledge and information through proper promotion and dissemination not only to protect the interests of copyright owners. Furthermore, cases related to software copyright prove that the law should not stand in the way of technological progress or to enact laws that impede its function. Instead, law should guide technology to a safe path that guarantees the best of interests for all parties. This paper argues that reconciling the fair use/dealing with interests of copyright owners and users should be based on examining the interaction between users and authors and its impact on the community at large instead of determining the legitimacy of the consumers’ use. This path will require a mechanism that properly weighs the needs and interests of both the copyright owners and users. A mechanism that includes contribution, alternate modes of dissemination, technological neutrality, and proportionality stricto sensu is a capable tool for such cases.


Law Department

Degree Name

LLM in International and Comparative Law

Graduation Date

Spring 5-20-2020

Submission Date

May 2020

First Advisor

Sayed, Hani

Second Advisor


Third Advisor


Committee Member 1

Skouteris, Thomas

Committee Member 2

Beckett, Jason

Committee Member 3



84 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

International and Comparative Law

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item

Streaming Media


A topic with such complexity requires constant cooperation and coordination. Therefore, I want to thank my brother, Ahmed, for sharing his insights regarding the intellectual property rights of digital content. He made an important contribution for this paper as he suggested certain aspects that influence the regulation of software copying. I also want to thank all my family for their continuous moral support. I would not have made it this far without them. Moreover, my studies at AUC transformed my intellectual skills significantly. Starting with the ELI program, Ms. Elisabeth Yoder and Mr. Alexander Lewko provided me with a unique learning experience that made me confident in using the English language in everything and everywhere. I could not imagine pursuing my studies at AUC without their experiences. In addition, Ms. Susanne Rizzo further developed my language skills, especially in critical reading, during the class of ENGL. Such learning experiences are truly once in a lifetime opportunity. Furthermore, my studies in the LL.M. program provided me with substantial legal research skills. The knowledge and skills I gained started with Ms. Diana Van Bogaert. The learning quality that she provided was unmatched compared to any other experience I had during my studies at AUC. Her teaching was a cornerstone in my LL.M. studies. Excluding Ms. Diana’s contribution to my degree is like removing the LL.M. altogether. In addition, Dr. Hedayat Heikal greatly contributed to my studies and in shaping an important part of my thesis which is related to proportionality. Without her teaching it would have been quite difficult to grasp the fundamentals of proportionality. Dr. Dalia Hussein also had an integral part in studying proportionality. Her teaching was like making me reach the full picture of proportionality. Dr. Dalia’s teaching also had a substantial contribution to my legal knowledge in fields that I never studied. The learning experience and academic support that Dr. Dalia provided me with were an indispensable part in the LL.M. program. To further maintain the proper cooperation and coordination required for my research project, it was quite important to find a supervisor that shares my enthusiasm. Dr. Hani Sayed showed that enthusiasm from the first meeting I had with him. This project developed a lot during his supervision. Dr. Hani’s comments and suggestions were essential to this paper. From encouraging me to make my own reflection on the caselaw and literature to pointing me towards particular academic references his contribution made the paper reach its current state. With the accumulation of the academic and moral support, cooperation and coordination was maintained. Dr. Amr Shalakany provided helpful remarks on this paper and encouraged me to make my personal motivation in pursuing such research project visible in the paper. I am also grateful to Dr. Thomas Skouteris for his academic support and the interesting discussion that he, Dr. Hani, and Dr. Jason Beckett conducted in my thesis defense. That accumulation of the required knowledge would not have also happened without the literature and relevant caselaw used in this paper. It is through this “dialogical network” that made me able to reach new horizons in intellectual property, especially from the contributions made by Dr. William Fisher in the field of intellectual property, in general, and copyright, in particular. I also had the opportunity to increase my understanding of copyright laws during the class of Legal English that was instructed by Ms. Ola Bakri at AUC. It was a great experience. Finally, I want to thank my colleagues Ahmed Mohi, Moataz Eidarous, Rami Moustafa, Abdallah el Mallah, Mohamed Samy, Abdel Rahman Nagy, Walid Medhat, Mohamed Hassan, Mohamed Essam, Aly Badrawi, and Hassan Bayoumi for their great collegial spirit that contributed to the shaping of my academic experience at AUC. I also want to extend my thanks to my co-workers Mohamed Ihab, Amr Abdel Halim, Amir Moukhtar, Omar barakat, Amir Abdel Meguid, Morad Salama, Yasser Amer, Tarek Azzazy, Ashraf Said, Baraa Asar, Salah Hegab, and Ahmed el Deeb for their professional and moral support during my studies at AUC.