Saudi Arabia: Copyright Law In Saudi Arabia

Last Updated: 6 January 1998
DEFINITIONS

ARTICLE (1)

Whenever mentioned in this law, the terms listed below shall have the following meanings:

Classified Work: Any literary, scientific or artistic work which has not been previously published.

Author: Any person who publishes a classified work by making reference to himself, with his name appearing on the classified work or by any other common way followed in ascribing classified works to their authors, unless otherwise indicated.

Publishing: Conveying the classified work to the public, directly or indirectly, whether by conveying the original of the classified work or by reproducing copies or pictures of it or its parts, which can be read, heard, seen or performed.

Creation: A composition in which the elements of novelty are present, or which is distinguished by a special characteristic unknown previously.

Copying: Reproduction of one or more copies of classified literary, scientific or artistic works, or of any other physical replication, including sound or visual recordings.

National Folklore: All classified literary, artistic or scientific works, which are presumed to have been created in Saudi Arabia by authors, who are presumed to be Saudi nationals, and which have been passed down from generation to generation, thus representing part of the Saudi Arabian national cultural heritage.

The Ministry: Ministry of Information.

The Minister: Minister of Information.

CHAPTER ONE - COPYRIGHTED CLASSIFIED WORKS

ARTICLE (2)

Protection under the jurisdiction of this law shall be afforded to authors of classified creative works in science, literature and arts, without regard to the type of the classified work, its mode of expression, its significance or the purpose of composition.

ARTICLE (3)

In general, protection under this law shall cover authors of classified works whose mode of expression is either written, sound, painting, photography or motion, particularly the following:

1. Books, booklets and other printed materials.

2. Classified works which are delivered orally, i.e., lectures, speeches, sermons, poems, songs, etc.

3. Dramatic works, plays, shows or any similar presentation which involves motion.

4. Classified works which have been specifically prepared for broadcast or presentation through radio or television.

5. Paintings, works of figurative arts and architecture, decorative arts, and artistic embroidery.

6. Works of practical arts, whether vocational or industrial.

7. Works of photography, including works in which methods similar to those of making photographic pictures are used, i.e., fixed pictures which are transmitted via television but which do not have a physical mounting.

8. Illustrative pictures, geographical maps, designs (graphic sketches), figurative works connected with geography, topography, architecture and science.

9. Classified sculptural works connected with geography, topography, architecture and science.

10. Computer programs.

ARTICLE (4)

The title of the classified work shall also be covered under copyright protection if it is distinguished by a creative characteristic, and is not merely an expression which is commonly used to indicate the subject matter of the classified work.

ARTICLE (5)

Moreover, the following shall also enjoy copyright protection prescribed under this law:

1. Any individual who, with the author's permission, translates the classified work into any other language.

2. Any individual who verifies, summarizes, transforms or amends the classified work, or interprets it or comments on it in any form that gives it a new form.

3. Authors of encyclopedias or extracts of poetry or prose which, by virtue of their selection or distillation, are deemed to be creative intellectual works.

4. Copyright protection enjoyed by classified works cited in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 above shall in no way jeopardize the protection enjoyed by authors of original classified works.

ARTICLE (6)

The following are excluded from copyright protection prescribed under this law:

A. Judiciary regulations and sentences, resolutions of administrative committees, international agreements and any other official documents. Official translations of such texts are also excluded, however, special rules concerning handling of such documents are observed.

B. Daily news items or events that are characterized as news developments, which are published by newspapers, magazines and periodicals (including radio and television).

CHAPTER TWO - COPYRIGHTS OF AUTHORS

ARTICLE (7)

1. The rights protected under this law shall originally be the property of the author or authors who created the classified work.

2. The author shall have the right to carry out all or any of the following actions, according to the nature of the classified work in respect:

A. Ascribing the classified work to himself and defending his rights in it from any infringement; objecting to any alteration, corruption, amendment or change of his classified work or any other infringement to the subject matter of the classified work which could be harmful to his honour or reputation.

B. Publishing, recording, displaying, transferring or translating his classified work as well as deciding the terms and conditions connected therewith.

C. At his discretion, making any change or deletion to his classified work.

D. Withdrawing his classified work from circulation.

E. Exploiting his classified work financially in any lawful manner.

ARTICLE (8)

With the exception of the provisions of article 7, the following uses of the classified work in its original language or translated text shall be considered lawful without obtaining prior permission of the author:

1. Copying, translating or quoting the classified work or transforming it into any other form for the sole purpose of personal use.

2. Quoting paragraphs of the classified work in another work, provided that such quotation conforms to conventional practice and is within the limits justified by its intended objective; and that the source and the name of the author are cited.

The above shall also apply to paragraphs taken from journalistic articles and periodicals abstracting newspapers items.

3. Using the classified work as an illustrative tool for educational purposes, by means of publication, broadcast, or audio-visual recording, or broadcasting the work for scholastic, university, or vocational education, provided that such use conforms to conventional practice, and that the names of the author and the classified work used in such publication, broadcast or recording are cited.

4. Copying or publishing news items on political, economic or religious topics which are published in newspapers and periodicals as well as broadcasting classified works on similar subjects, provided that reference is clearly made to the source and author, if known.

5. Copying any classified work that may be seen or heard, while presenting current events by means of photography or motion pictures, provided that such copying remains within the intended information objective and cites the name of the author.

6. Copying of literary, artistic or scientific classified works by means of photocopying or any similar way, which have previously entered the public domain in a lawful way , if such copying is carried out by a public library, non-commercial documentation center, scientific establishment or an educational institution, provided that such copying and the number of copies made are limited to the requirements of the activities of the institutions; that it causes no harm to the financial exploitation of the classified work, and that no needless injury is caused to the lawful interests of the author.

7. Copying of speeches, lectures, legal proceedings or any other similar classified works which are made in public if such copying is made by the press or other media, provided that the name of the author is clearly mentioned and that the author maintains the right to publish such classified works in the manner he wishes.

8. Dramatizing, performing or acting classified works after they have been published in a society, a club or a school, as long as such dramatic presentation, performance or acting does not result in financial returns, directly or indirectly.

9. Playing or performing the classified work after it has been published by musical groups affiliated with the armed forces or groups affiliated with the state or independent public agencies, as long as such musical playing or performance does not result in financial returns, directly or indirectly.

10. Taking new photographic pictures of anything previously photographed and published, even if the new picture has been taken from the same location and under the same circumstances as the original picture.

ARTICLE (9)

1. When several individuals contribute to the composition of a classified work in such a way that their contributions in the classified work cannot be separated, they shall be considered equal partners in the ownership of the classified work, and no one of them may individually exercise the author rights prescribed under this law, unless otherwise agreed to in writing.

2. When several individuals contribute to the composition of a classified work in such a way that their contributions to the joint work can be separated, each party shall have the right to individually exploit the particular part belonging to him, provided that no damage is caused to the exploitation of the joint work, unless otherwise agreed.

3. A joint classified work is a work where a group of people have contributed to its composition at the instructions of a person, individual or corporate, who undertakes its publication under his name and administration, and where the work of the partners is incorporated in the general objective set by that person, individual or corporate, so that no work of any partners can be separated or singled out. The person, individual or corporate, who directed and organized the creation of such a classified work shall be considered the author, and he alone shall have the right to exercise the author's rights.

ARTICLE (10)

When evidence is established that the author or his agent have refused publishing or copying the classified work without rendering any acceptable excuse, the Ministry shall have the right to issue permission for publishing and copying of such classified work for educational, cultural or scientific purpose after three years from the date of first publication, without violating the author's rights prescribed under this law. The terms for such publishing or copying shall be determined by the Ministry. The author or his agent shall have the right to appeal to the Board Grievance within thirty days from the date of notification of the Ministry's decision.

ARTICLE (11)

Without prejudice to the rights of authors, radio or television, in preparation of their programs, using their special methods, may make one or more recordings of any classified work for which it has been licensed to broadcast or display. All copies must be destroyed within a period not to exceed one year from the date of preparation, or a longer period after obtaining the author's approval. However, one copy of such recording may be filed as an official record, if it is a unique documentary recording.

ARTICLE (12)

Persons who take pictures of other people shall not publish, display or distribute the originals or copies of such pictures without permission of the individuals whose pictures have been taken. Such provision shall not apply if the pictures were published in the context of public events, if they are pictures of public officials or celebrities, or if such publication is approved by the authorities to serve the public interest. the person represented in the picture may not object to its publication, regardless of whether the approval of the person who made the picture has been obtained, unless otherwise agreed. Such provisions shall be applicable without regard to the way the picture has been made.

ARTICLE (13)

Only the author shall have the right to publish his letters. However, he may not pursue this right without the permission of the recipient, if publication would serve to the latter's detriment.

ARTICLE (14)

The right of the author is deemed to be void in all his future intellectual production. (Translator note: The purpose of this article seems unclear.)

ARTICLE (15)

1. The national folklore shall be considered the public property of the state, the relevant copyrights for which are exercised by the Ministry.

2. The import or distribution of copies of classified works of folklore or copies of translations or reproductions of folklore produced outside the Kingdom is restricted without the Ministry's permission.

CHAPTER THREE - TRANSFER OF COPYRIGHTS

ARTICLE (16)

Copyrights provided for under this law are transferable, in whole or in part, whether through inheritance or legal disposition. The legal disposition shall be established in writing and shall specify the scope of the transferred rights.

ARTICLE (17)

1. Copyrights provided for under this law shall be transferred to the heirs of the author.

2. If the author stated in his will that the publication of his classified works would be barred or if he specified a date for such publication, his instructions shall be carried out as prescribed.

3. In case of death of an author of a joint classified work without heirs, his share shall be passed to those entitled to it according to the provisions of the Islamic Sharia law.

ARTICLE (18)

If the heirs do not take advantage of the rights which have been transferred to them pursuant to the provisions of article 17 of this law, and when the Minister deems that the public interest requires publication of the classified work, he may send a registered letter to the heirs requesting their approval for the publication of the classified work. If no permission is received within one year from the date of the request, the Minister shall have the right to order publication of the classified work after hearing the heirs' opinions in the Board of Grievances, together with paying an equitable compensation to the heirs.

ARTICLE (19)

Publishing houses producing printed materials must conclude written contracts with copyright holders, as specified in the applicable implementing.

ARTICLE (20)

Producers of classified artistic works must conclude written contracts with copyright holders whose classified works will be used in the production, as specified in the applicable implementing regulations.

ARTICLE (21)

The author shall refrain from any act which could nullify the use of authorized rights. However, the author may withdraw his classified work from circulation or make any change, deletion or addition after agreement with those authorized to exercise the right. In case no agreement is reached, the author shall be obliged to pay an equitable compensation to the authorized party within a period determined by the Ministry.

ARTICLE (22)

In accordance with the provisions of this law, any disposition of a copyright by any person who is not authorized by the holder of the copyright shall be deemed null and void. The holder of the copyright shall not be subject to any legal act due to such disposition.

CHAPTER FOUR - SCOPE AND DURATION OF COPYRIGHTS

ARTICLE (23)

The following classified works shall be subject to this law:

1. Classified works of Saudi and foreign authors which are published, performed, or displayed for the first time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

2. Classified works of Saudi authors which are published, performed, or displayed for the first time in a foreign country.

ARTICLE (24)

1. The period of copyright protection for the author of the classified work shall continue during his lifetime and for a period of fifty years after his death.

2. The period of copyright protection shall be for twenty-five years from the date of publication for classified sound and audio-visual works, photographic pictures and works of applied arts (vocational or industrial) and for classified works which are published without citing the name of the author. Computation of the period of protection shall begin from the date of the first publication of the classified work without regard to republishing.

3. The period of copyright protection for joint classified works shall be computed from the date of the death of the last surviving author.

4. Computation of the period of protection for classified works where the author is a legal entity shall be from the date of the first publication of the classified work.

5. When the classified work is composed of several parts or volumes, publshed separately or over periods of time, each part shall be considered as an independent classified work for purposes of the computation of its period of protection.

ARTICLE (25)

The provisions of article 24 notwithstanding, the rules of this law at the time of its enactment shall be applicable to all classified works then in existence. With regard to the computation of the period of protection for existing classified works, the period between the date of publication and the date this law goes into effect shall be taken into account.

CHAPTER FIVE - FILING REGULATIONS

ARTICLE (26)

1. Authors, publishers and printers of classified works which are prepared for publication by making copies of such works in Saudi Arabia, are collectively required to file, at their own expense, five copies of the written classified works at the National Library in Riyadh within thirty days of the date of publication. Producers of classified artistic works who produce their works locally in the Kingdom are required to deposit three copies of such works in the Library of the Saudi Arabian Society for Arts, Culture and Heritage in Riyadh within thirty days of production. When the classified work is reproduced with other additions, the filing commitment is renewed.

Publishers, printers and producers of classified works in Saudi Arabia are required in all cases to state the date of publication, printing or production of their works on the classified work itself. In the case of classified works which are prepared for publication in more than one volume, each volume shall be considered an independent unit.

2. The filing requirement is applicable to classified works only where large numbers of copies are produced by means of printing, photocopying, drawing, recording, etc. The implementing regulations shall specify this number of copies.

3. Saudi Arabian authors who publish or produce their classified works outside the Kingdom are required to file five copies of each published classified work at the National Library in Riyadh and three copies of each classified artistic work so produced with the Saudi Arabian Society for Arts, Culture and Heritage in Riyadh.

4. Violation of these filing provisions shall result in payment of a fine of not less than SR 1000, but not more than SR 5000, without eliminating the filing requirement.

ARTICLE (27)

In accordance with the provisions of article 8 of this law, any person, without permission of the owner, practices any of the acts described in article 7 of this law, or issues, copies, sells, rents, distributes, imports or exports any classified work or injures the author's right in it shall be considered to have violated the copyright law.

CHAPTER SIX - PENALTIES

ARTICLE (28)

1. Any person who violates the copyright law shall be penalized with a fine not exceeding SR 10,000 or with closing the establishment or printing press which participated in the violation for a period not exceeding 15 days, or both punishments together, in addition to paying compensation to the holder of the copyright for any damage resulting from the violation.

2. In case of recurrence of a violation, whether on the same or a different classified work, the violator shall be penalized with an increase in the fine specified in paragraph 1 of this article, provided the fine does not exceed double the amount; or the establishment or printing press may be suspended for a period not exceeding 90 days; or both punishments may be applied together, in addition to paying compensation to the holder of the copyright for any damage resulting from the violation.

3. The committee referred to in article 30, at the request of the copyright holder, may order the confiscation or destruction of all copies or pictures of the classified work which it believes have been made in violation of the copyright as well as the confiscation of the materials related to the criminal act, or it may dispose such materials in the manner it deems appropriate.

The Committee may also issue an interim order to stop publication or showing of the classified work, or copies, or pictures made from it; to impound revenues resulting from the publication or showing of the classified work, or any other such orders, pending a final resolution.

ARTICLE (29)

Apprehension of guilty parties, investigations and issue of sentences shall be in accordance with the measures specified by the implementing regulations.

ARTICLE (30)

1. At the Minister's decision, an Infringement Oversight Committee shall be formed with a minimum of three members, one of whom is a legal advisor.

Decisions of the Committee shall be made by majority vote, but shall not take effect with the issuance of the Minister's approval.

ARTICLE (31)

Any person against whom a decision of fine, punishment or compensation shall have been made shall have the right to appeal to the Board of Grievances within 60 days from the date of notification of the Committee decision.

CHAPTER SEVEN - GENERAL PROVISIONS

ARTICLE (32)

The periods of time provided for under this law shall be computed according to the s calendar.

ARTICLE (33)

The implementing regulations of this law shall be issued by the Minister of Information after concurrence of the Ministry of Education and the General Presidency of Youth Welfare.

ARTICLE (34)

This law shall become effective from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property Bulletins

For further information you make also like to view the Intellectual Property Bulletins published monthly by The Abu-Ghazaleh Group.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions