ABU DHABI, 23rd June, 2022 (WAM) — The Ministry of Economy held a media briefing on the issuance of the Executive Regulation of Federal Decree-Law No. 38 of 2021 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights.
During the session, Abdulla Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, emphasised that the UAE has recently witnessed consecutive developments in the laws and regulations regarding copyright protection in general, including the legislation to safeguard intellectual property (IP) and copyright and neighbouring rights. The country’s interest in this field stems from its belief in the importance of this legislation in promoting creativity and innovation, in line with the “Principles of the 50” and the pillars of the UAE Centennial 2071.
The Under-Secretary stated that the copyright law is a significant new step in developing the UAE’s IP protection system. The law set the general principles for copyright and neighbouring rights protection and created an environment that nurtures the growth and prosperity of creativity and creative works in various sectors.
He added, “The regulation is in line with the country’s commitments as a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), including the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.”
The executive regulation of the law concerned with the protection of copyrights and neighbouring rights covers a wide spectrum of the community, namely creative content creators in literature, arts, culture, and science, including writers, authors, musicians, programmers, people of determination and publishing houses. It also targets investors, entrepreneurs, project owners, and companies engaged in the various creative, cultural, entertainment and creative economy activities, as well as the providers of legal services related to creative composition.
Furthermore, Al Saleh pointed out that the executive regulation defines the rules about intellectual works’ registration, including their ownership and information, author data, and intellectual works’ importer and distributor data. In addition, they establish the criteria for obtaining collective management licences and grant compulsory copyright licences for use or translation, along with the requirements concerning accessible format copy, and the mechanisms adopted in customs clearance.
The Under-Secretary also announced the issuance of the first accessible format copy licence to the “Kalimat Foundation” that upholds children’s rights to access books, in line with the UAE’s ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. It also aligns with the MoU signed on 18th May, 2022, between the ministry and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a non-profit organisation that represents the recording industry interests worldwide to support collective management in the music industry.
The executive regulation stipulates that the issuance of intellectual works’ registration certificate does not constitute permission to exploit, circulate or exhibit the works, as the concerned party is required to obtain approval for these activities from the competent authorities. In addition, it lays down the requirements for obtaining such works’ copying licence, translation licence, collective management licence, licence prohibitions, licensee obligations, and copy and translation licence expiration. They allow the author, or any of the holders of rights or neighbouring rights or their successors, to apply for intellectual works’ registration.
The bye-laws also highlight the importance of registering the names of importers and distributors, along with their rights to import or distribute intellectual works in the UAE, and information about their activities and the entities that have authorised them to import and distribute the works, in the intellectual works’ importer and distributor register. The bye-laws also allow appealing rejections before the Grievance Committee within 30 days of being notified of such decisions.
The bye-laws also ensure that people of determination have access to creative sources and can engage in cultural and creative aspects of life.
In addition, the bye-laws listed the dispositions to be recorded in the intellectual works’ copyright register, including delisting registered data or re-registering the same for another person, subject to the approval of concerned parties or by a final and enforceable court ruling.
According to the bye-laws, any individual can apply to the ministry to obtain a licence to copy and/ or translate intellectual works protected by the law, to fulfil the educational needs of all types and levels or the needs of public libraries or archives. It is also possible to submit evidence showing that the original author or right holder refused to grant the applicant permission to copy or translate the works or that the author or right holder was not accessible.
During the media briefing, Al Saleh stated that the number of intellectual works’ registration certificates issued by the Ministry of Economy to individuals and organisations amounted to nearly 750 during the first five months of 2022, 57 percent higher than the same period of 2021. He added that the ministry ensured that registration fees do not exceed AED50 for individuals to promote creativity. He further mentioned that the ministry has organised 16 workshops on author rights this year to raise awareness about IP rights. More than 31 violating websites have been blocked in 2022 as part of the ministry’s endeavours to protect authors’ rights.