COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AND REMEDIES IN UAE

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Today’s digital age, where everything is available online, whether e-books, e-journals, articles, research papers, films, or music, can be accessed with a single click. It is straightforward for anybody to duplicate another person’s work and claim its ownership to profit from it. People often believe that whatever is accessible to the public is free to copy. They continue to do so without acknowledging the actual owner of such work. In such a scenario, does the true owner of the work has any right over his work? If the answer is affirmative, does such a right allows the actual owner to report the act of copying? Can the work owner claim any remedy if such an action resulted in any damage for such owner? This article discusses the acts that constitute copyright infringement in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and the remedies available to the copyright holder in the event of such infringement.

COPYRIGHT LAW IN UAE

  1. Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 (concerning Copyrights and Neighboring Rights)

In the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Copyright is protected via international agreements, Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 (concerning Copyrights and Neighboring Rights (“Copyright law”), and other laws relating to copyright enforcement or regulating copyright protection. The copyright legislation was passed on July 1, 2002, and it was published in the official gazette (No. 7) on July 14, 2002, and it came into force on that day. Further, Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 repealed all prior laws that conflicted with its requirements, including Federal Law No. 40 of 1992 on Copyright.

  1. Intellectual Property Law DIFC Law No. 4 of 2019
  • This Law is applicable within the jurisdiction of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
  •  Anyone who possesses or claims ownership of, uses or attempts to exploit, or tries to enforce or secure an intellectual property right, in whole or in part, in the DIFC is subject to this Law. 

MEANING OF COPYRIGHT

Copyright is considered to be one of the kinds of Intellectual Property. Copyright refers to the right granted by the Law to the author of any literary, dramatic, musical, or creative work and the producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In addition, copyright owners have certain exclusive rights that allow them to utilize their work without interference and prevent it from being misused. Copyright entails several rights, including reproduction, public communication, adaptation, and translation of the work.

WORKS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT 

As per Article 2 of Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 of Regarding Copyright & Related Rights, the following works include Copyright and are the subject matter of Copyright:

  1. Work of literature such as books, articles, the innovative title of work, and innovative broadcast program in writing.
  2. Computer software, Computer applications, databases and similar works.
  3. Lectures, speeches, sermons and other works of similar nature
  4. Plays, musicals and pantomimes 
  5. Musicals accompanied with and without dialogues 
  6. Audio and video work or audiovisual work 
  7. Architectural work and architectural plans and drawings
  8. Artistic work including involving drawing, painting, sculpturing, etching, lithography, screen printing and similar works of fine art.
  9. Photographic work and the like.
  10. An innovative expression of ideas, work methods, mathematical concepts and likewise.
  11. Charts, maps, plans, 3-D modelling for geographical and topographical applications and architectural designs etc.
  12. Sound recording.

WORKS NOT PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

According to Article 3 of the Copyright Law, the following works are not the subject matter of copyright protection:

  1. Ideas, procedures, work methods, mathematical concepts, abstract principles and facts.
  2. Legal documents including statutes, rules, rulings, international conventions, court judgments, arbitral awards, and judgments of administrative bodies with judicial authority.
  3. News and reports that covers incidents and information regarding any current events.
  4. Works fall into the public domain.

Provided that, if the works mentioned above are arranged and assembled uniquely, they shall be eligible for copyright protection.

 ACTS AMOUNTS TO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 

Copyright Infringement shall occur when someone other than the copyright owner or someone authorized by him does an act that is the owner’s exclusive right – e.g. reproduction, translation, adaptation, and public performance. Whosoever does any of the following acts shall be liable for copyright infringement:

  1. Violation of provisions of Copyright Law and rights of Authors

Violates legislation requirements to protect intellectual property rights and associated regulations, namely any moral or economic copyright or similar right.

2. Online publication of protected copyright work without consent

Publish a copyrighted work accessible to the public through computer networks, the Internet, information networks, communication networks, or any other means without the author’s prior written permission.

3. To sell, rent or circulate copyrighted work without the consent. 

Without the prior written permission of the author or the owner of the relevant right, selling, renting or circulating, in any form, a copyrighted work.

4. To reproduce or import for sale or circulating pirated copies of copyrighted work.

Unlawfully reproducing or importing for sale, rental, or circulating any pirated copies.

5. Install any computer software without the consent of the owner 

Installs or keeps a copy of computer software, a programmer, or a database on a computer without obtaining a license from the author, the copyright holder, or their successors.

In the case of Hager v. E.C.W. Press Ltd (1998) 85 C.P.R. (3d) 289 (Canada: Federal Court, Trial Division),the plaintiff “Hager” authored a book named Honour Song: A Tribute. This book covers the successes of Canadian indigenous people. One of the chapters of the book contains information about the famous singer Shania Twain. The information provided by the plaintiff in the chapter was based on background study and conversation held with the singer.  Later on, the defendant wrote a book and copied a significant portion of the plaintiff’s work without his consent. The Canadian federal Court determined that the defendants’ use of the plaintiff’s work constituted copying a substantial amount of that work and liable for Copyright infringement.

REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO COPYRIGHT OWNER

  1. Civil Remedies (Article 34 of the Copyright Law): 

The Court of First Instance may require the following measures to be done concerning a published work or exhibited without the author’s or his successors’ written permission:

  1. Put a restriction on publishing, displaying or producing work.
  2. Pass order of attachment of the original work or copies thereof (books, photos, drawings, shows, photographs, sound recordings, materials for broadcast, etc.)
  3. The Court shall also make an order for the attachment, if intended to republish the work, of material utilized in the republication or reproduction of the work.

Criminal Remedies (Article 37-39): 

  1. Any person guilty of any of the acts of copyright infringement (as mentioned above) shall be punished with imprisonment for a minimum term of two months and/or a fine varying from 10,000 to 50,000 Dirham. Nevertheless, the sanction can be higher in specific cases of infringement.
  2. The Court may pass an order of Seizure of the original and pirated copies. 
  3. The Court may pass an order for the Seizure and destruction of infringing goods, as well as the equipment and devices used to perpetrate the infringement.

The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview of the subject. Regarding your situation, you can seek expert guidance like HHS Lawyers and legal consultants are specialized in dealing with cases relating to the infringement of Copyright.

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