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Copyright Law in UAE

Copyright refers to the legal right of an individual over the creativity of his/her mind. It gives the owner an exclusive right to adapt, disseminate, and create copies of the original work. It is mainly intended to protect the creativity of an artist from the exploitation of others and give due credit to his work. The copyright encompasses a wide range of expressions including, literary work, software, art, paintings, music, audio-visual, etc.

In the UAE, copyrights are mainly protected through the Federal Law No. 7 of 2002. This federal law is spread between 2 brackets namely copyright and related or neighboring rights. The related rights are provided to protect the interest of the individuals who are indulged in the area of broadcasting, performing artists, and phonogram producers.

In the UAE Copyright law, two kinds of rights are protected: moral rights and economic rights.

  1. Moral Rights

It refers to the inherent rights of an owner over his masterwork. The copyright law enables the originator to withhold his creation from dissemination, to take up a pseudonym, or to maintain anonymity. This law also provides the right to restrict alteration, modification or distortion of the original work. The moral rights guarantee the owner to control the time and the location of the work from getting publicised. Since these moral rights are perpetual in nature, they can’t be transferred to another individual during the lifetime.

  1. Economic Rights

The economic rights allows an individual to retain the ownership of his creation, but disseminate the work or authorise reproduction in lieu of some remuneration. Along with the right to reproduce and distribute, the economic rights also permits adaptations, public communication of the work, and propagation on digital media. It is imperative to note that the ownership shall always remain vested with the original copyright holder.

In the UAE, The ministry of economy deals with all matters relating to copyright. As per Article 20 of Copyright Law, the copyright work is not only protected for the lifetime of the  applicant but also will be considered his authorship for 50 years after his death. However, in the case of broadcasting organisations, this protection term is limited to 20 years from the first date of transmission.

Infringement of Copyright Law

In the present times, a large number of cases pertaining to copyright violations are witnessed.  This infringement is generally described as piracy and theft. The unauthorized buying, selling or distribution of someone’s original content is referred to as piracy.

The infringement occurs through many ways and the most common method is through P2P or torrent. Under this method, the original work of a person is disseminated on the public domain without his consent. Though it is hard to track the offender due to proxy networks, it is a serious case of copyright infringement.

The violations can also be seen through photocopying wherein the original knowledge of an individual is copied and disseminated on a mass scale. Further, during projects or research papers, one generally takes someone’s original idea and uses it. This is also a copyright infringement. It is mandatory to provide due credit to the original author through citation or footnote. The unauthorized downloading or viewing of copyright protected work is also considered as a violation of the copyright law.

As per Article 38 of the Copyright law, any person who indulges in violation of copyright law shall be punished with imprisonment of at least 3 months and a minimum fine of AED 50,000.

So, as we saw above, the UAE has a well structured copyright law. If you want to protect your literary creation or other original work, contact a legal attorney in Dubai and get it registered.