The Royal Decree No. 11/M dated 19.5.1410 (AH) governs the protection of copyright in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has joined the Universal Copyright Convention as of July 13, 1994.

In order to gain protection, the publishers of copyrightable works will have to deposit the works with the Ministry of Information. Protection is granted to the authors whose works of art are expressed in writing, sound, drawing, photography or motion pictures and computer software. The right of the author is protected for his lifetime and for a period of 50 years after his death.

Any printed materials or computer programs can be distributed in Saudi Arabia only after receiving the approval of the Ministry of Information. For this purpose, a local distributor is essential. The distributor should obtain the necessary approval locally. The copyrighted article can be deposited at King Fahd's National Library with the approval from the Ministry of Information obtained by the local distributor.

In order for protection to be effective, the work should be characterized by special features and which have not been previously presented for registration.

Infringements are prosecuted by a committee formed by appointment from the Minster of Information. This committee can stop the circulation of infringing works, seize and destroy them, penalize by fines and shut down the firm for a period not exceeding 15 days.

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.

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