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Introduction - What is Copyrights?

Copyright and related rights represent a group of rights and powers that protect the author of his work, which most often includes a work in the field of literature, art or science.

Unlike other intellectual property rights, the creation of the author’s work itself is not only not conditioned by the initiation of any procedure before the competent authorities, but the introduction of any formalities concerning the creation of the author’s work is prohibited by international law.

The volume, quality or purpose of the work is not important for copyright, but it is necessary that the work be:

  • Human creation-Shaped into a certain form (this condition implies the degree of shaping to the extent that it makes the work eligible to be communicated to other persons).
  • Original- (to bear the individual stamp of the author).
  • The main division in relation to copyright refers to the division of works into original works, adapted works and collections, noting that all groups of works must meet the above general conditions.
  • Authors are guaranteed a series of personal and property rights, with certain restrictions, with the fact that the very memory of the author as the creator of the work must be respected permanently.
  • When it comes to rights related to copyright, the subjects of these rights are persons engaged in a certain economic activity, not spiritual creativity, and these persons (with the exception of interpreters) are guaranteed exclusively the powers related to the economic exploitation of the work.
  • This group includes the rights of performers, producers of phonograms, videograms, shows, databases, as well as the rights of the first publisher of a free work and publishers of printed editions for a special fee.

Definition of Copyrights

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued the new law to remove Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 (Old Copyright act), thus introducing vital changes to take account of the fast-moving digital world. The Law came into force on 2nd January 2022.

According to Federal Law No. 38 of 2021 on Copyrights and Neighboring Rights, an intellectual work is any original work in the areas of literature, arts or science, whatever its description, form of expression, significance or purpose. The following intellectual works are protected under copyrights law:

  • Books, booklets, articles and other literature
  • Computer software and applications, databases and similar works defined in a decision to be issued by the Minister of Economy
  • Lectures, speeches, sermons and other works of similar nature
  • Plays, musicals and pantomimes
  • Musicals accompanied by dialogues and musicals which are not accompanied by dialogue
  • Audio and video works or audio-visual works
  • Architectural work and architectural plans and drawings
  • Drawings, paintings, sculptures, etchings, lithography, screen printing, reliefs and intaglio prints and other similar works of fine art
  • Photographic work and the likes
  • Works of applied art and plastic art
  • Charts, maps, plans, 3-D modelling for geographical and topographical applications and architectural designs etc.
  • Derivative works, subject to the protection afforded to the work(s) upon which they are based. The protection shall extend to the title of the work, if created, as well as the creative concept devised for broadcast material.

Intellectual Work Registration

Ministry of Economy is the competent authority to register intellectual works in the UAE. To register intellectual works, you can contact experienced UAE IP Agent to submit an online application via the ministry’s website.

Duration of Protection

According to Article 20 of Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 on Copyrights and related rights, the economic rights of the author under this Law shall be protected for the duration of his life plus 50 years starting from the first day of the calendar year following his death. Economic rights of applied art works expires after 25 years, which start from the first day of the calendar year following their first publication.

Holder of Copyright - Author

  • An author is a natural person who created an author’s work.
  • An author is considered a person whose name, pseudonym or sign indicated on the copies of the work or specified on the occasion publication of the publication of the work, until proven otherwise. Exceptionally legal or natural person whose name is on usual way indicatedon film part is considered the manufacturer of that part, until proven otherwise.
  • The author of the work is the copyright holder.
  • In addition to the author, the copyright holder can also be a person who is not the author, and which he acquired in accordance with the Law of copyright.

Authorship’s Work

By author’s work we mean original, intellectual work creation of the human spirit.

Literary, scientific, professional and artistic authors’ rights works, the right of the interpreter, the right of the first publisher of free works, rights of producers of phonograms, videograms, show and database, the way to achieve the realization of author’s author’s rights are regulated by the Copyright and Related Law rights.

In particular, the following are considered works of authorship:

  • Written works (books, brochures, articles, translations, computer programs with accompanying technical and user documentation in any form of their expression, including preparatory material for their production, etc.)
  • Spoken works (lectures, speeches, sermons, etc.)
  • Dramatic, dramatic-musical, choreographic and pantomime works, as well as works originating from folklore.
  • Musical works, with or without words.
  • Film works (cinematic and television works).
  • Works of fine art (paintings, drawings, sketches, graphics, sculptures, etc.)
  • Works of architecture, applied art and industry shaping up.
  • Cartographic works (geographical and topographical maps).
  • Plans, sketches, models and photos.
  • Theater direction.

UAE Copyrights Law Improvements

The Copyright Law replaces Federal Law No. 7/2002 on Copyrights and Neighboring Rights as amended (“Repealed Copyright Law”). The Copyright Law largely replicates the Repealed Copyright Law and there are certain significant amendments which indicate a strengthening of rights for businesses and employers commissioning the creation of copyrighted works. These amendments are:

Work for Hire” Doctrine

If the work is created by an employee, and commissioned by the employer, then the employer compensates such employee for the same.

The employer is thought of as the legal author of such work (unless otherwise agreed) underneath the New Copyright Law, unlike the old Copyright law. This idea applies to the following 2 scenarios:

  • If the author creates the work for the advantage of another person, the copyright belongs to the latter; and
  • If the author creates the work using resources of employment, the copyright belongs to the employer.

If worker will stay the copyright holder, are the following:

  • If the author creates the work outside the scope of employment and not regarding the business or activities of the leader.
  • If the author creates the work while not using the employer’s resources, tools, data etc.

Future Assignment

New Copyright Law prohibits a blanket assignment of future works however the new Article 15(2) states that an author may “conclude a contract” in respect of future works pursuant to the Copyright Law’s implementing regulations which are yet to be published.

Increased Penalties

Article 39 increases the potential fines for copyright infringement from a maximum of AED 50,000 to AED 100,000 (previous penalty was AED 10,000 – AED 50,000 under the Repealed Copyright Law). Article 40 also introduces new more severe penalties for (a) manufacturing or importing counterfeit works; (b) disrupting or impairing electronic data aiming at managing copyrights; and (c) downloading or storing computer programmes, applications or databases without a license from the author or rightsholder. Such offences now carry a minimum imprisonment of 6 months and/or a fine of between AED 100,000 – AED 700,000 (previous penalty was minimum 3 months imprisonment and fine of AED 50,000 – AED 500,000 under the Repealed Copyright Law).

Protection of individual rights as priority

The New Copyright Law further implements the concept of “fair use” with regard to the reproduction of a copy of the proprietary and restricted works.

Inseparability with Marakesh Treaty

One of the most vital changes brought by the New Copyright Law is that people with visual or physical impairments will be permissible to use accessible format or copy of a work for private use.

International Copyrights Protection-Wipo

In the majority of countries, and according to the Berne Convention, copyright protection is obtained automatically without the need for registration or other formalities.

Most countries nonetheless have a system in place to allow for the voluntary registration of works. Such voluntary registration systems can help solve disputes over ownership or creation, as well as facilitate financial transactions, sales, and the assignment and/or transfer of rights.

WIPO does not offer a copyright registration system or a searchable copyright database.

What We Offer

Intellectual property is an abstract and certainly less tangible concept in relation to other forms of property, but economically it goes “hand in hand” with all other known forms of property. While it is completely clear to all of us that the house needs to be secured with a key and other security system, as well as that we will evict anyone who tries to enter it without authorization, the importance of protecting intangible assets can often be understood too late.

From all that has been stated, it is completely clear that intellectual property should be protected like any other form of property, both preventively and with timely responses to its infringement by third parties or possibly by employees. In modern times, it represents a mechanism for the financial development of business, and its unauthorized use by competitors can create its advantage on the market and cause, instead of benefit, irreparable damage to its bearer.

Bearing in mind all of the above, our office tries to adapt its approach to the needs of clients, both legal and commercial.

The services we provide include the development of a unique strategy for the protection of the specified intellectual property rights for each client, and primarily concern:

  • Initiation of procedures for the protection of these rights (initiation of registration procedures before competent administrative bodies, both domestic and international).
  • Providing legal advice regarding the protection of intellectual property rights.
  • Drafting of contracts aimed at adequate and comprehensive protection of these rights.
  • Initiation and management of disputes related to infringement of intellectual property rights.

Request a call back to get expert advice on IP rights registration.

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