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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:40:59


copyright, UAE


Although the word “copyright” is commonly used in everyday conversation, it is not often explored in the context of UAE law. Copyright refers to the right over the work of an artist or author to express an original idea through handmade work. Retaining "copyright" essentially means legally securing the rights to produce, adapt, distribute, and make copies of the original work. Advances in technology and the proliferation of computer theft have made the protection and enforcement of copyright a rather complex undertaking.[1]


In the United Arab Emirates, under Federal Law No. 7, 2002, a wide range of original and tangible works such as books, lectures, musicals, architectural drawings, photographs, machine software computers, and other similar works are protected by copyright.


Under article 2 of federal law No. 7, 2002, authors of works and owners of related rights benefit from the protection provided by this law in the event of a violation of their rights, especially for the following works:

1) Books, pamphlets, articles, and other written works.

2) Computer programs and applications, databases, and similar works decided by the Ministry.

3) Lectures, speeches, lectures, and all other works of the same nature.

4) Theatrical works, musical programs, and mimes.

5) Musical work with or without words.

6) Audio, visual, or audio-visual works.

7) Architectural works, drawings, and technical plans.

8) Lined or painted works, sculptures, engravings, lithographs, prints on canvas, wood and metal, and all similar works of fine art.

9) Photography and similar works.

10) Works of applied and visual arts.

11) Illustrations, maps, sketches, and three-dimensional works related to geography, topography, or architecture, etc.

12) Derivative works, without prejudice to the protection provided to the works for which it is created.

Protection must include the title of the work, if it is creative, as well as the dissemination of the written creation.


  • Under Article 16 of Federal Law No. 7, 2002, performers and their successors, in general, enjoy moral rights, not assigned or named, which entitle them to the following:

1) Record live or recorded performances for themselves; and

2) It is forbidden to alter, distort, mutilate or modify in any way their performance, in a manner prejudicial to their reputation.

After the expiration of the period provided for the protection of financial rights provided for by this law, the Ministry exercises this moral right, intending to maintain its activities in the best creative form.

  • According to Article 17, the interpreter should exclusively enjoy the following financial rights.

1) The right to broadcast their non-fixed performances and convey them to the public

2) You have the right to change the performance of the sound recording.

3) Rights to reproduce fixed performance in the sound recording.

It is considered forbidden to exploit third parties and record this live performance for standard support. The rental of such support to obtain direct or indirect commercial revenues; In its transmission or air, it can be used for the public without the previous consent of the right law.

Unless otherwise agreed, the provisions are applicable to the performances set by each interpreter in audio-visual work.

  • Under Article 5, authors and their successors in title are entitled to moral rights of the work that are not regulated or assigned. These rights include:

1) The right to decide to publish the work for the first time.

2) The right to claim the copyright of the work.

3) The right to object to any modification to the work if such modification results in distortion or mutilation of the work or is detrimental to the reputation of the author.

4) The right to withdraw your work from circulation in cases of serious and justifiable reasons. The exercise of this right must be done through a competent court, and in this case, the holder of the right must pay in advance a fair compensation to the assignee of the right of financial exploitation within the time limit prescribed by the court, and before execution of the judgment Othwerise, the said judgment would be without effect.

  • Subject to Article 21, any person may apply to the Department for a compulsory license to reproduce and/or translate any work protected under the provisions of the Applicable Law. After three years from the date of publication of the copy of this work, in the case of a translation license, will the license be granted in a reasonable decision, specifying the time and place of exploitation and due consideration of the author, provided however, that the purpose of granting such license is at all times limited to meeting the requirements of all types and levels of education and/or the requirements of public libraries and archives. The foregoing must be done following the circumstances, constraints, and licensing conditions outlined in the regulations of the applicable law, and in a manner which does not ensure any unjustifiable prejudice to the interests of the legitimate rights of the author or his successor or for the normal exploitation of the work. The fees applicable in this regard will be set by the decision of the Council of Ministers.


Article 25

In the case of the work written by the common author, they shall be considered to have an equal interest in the work, unless a prior agreement in writing otherwise. In some cases, the author can independently exercise his ownership rights, only by virtue of the pre-written contract that reached among them.

If the participation of each author of the same work is classified according to different types of arts, each author may exploit the part he has participated in individually.

Each author may submit examples before a court if copyright invasion is protected by copyright from this Act.

If there is a co-author without leaving a common successor, his contributions should be transferred to the rest of the co-authors or inheritance, unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Article 26

Unless otherwise agreed, any natural or legal person who has directed the creation of a collective work can have exclusive moral and pecuniary rights of this work.

Article 27

  1. Anyone is considered a partner in an audio-visual, audio, or visual work if they are:
  2. a) The screenwriter;
  3. b) Adapting an existing literary work, so that it becomes suitable for the audio-visual style;
  4. c) The dialogist;
  5. d) A person who composes music if he makes such music specifically for the work; and
  6. e) the Director who effectively controls the performance of the job.

If the work is derived from or extracted from previous work, the author of the previous work is considered to be the co-author of the new work.

  1. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the author of a piece of music may publish his respective music in a manner different from that provided for the publication of the joint work.
  2. If one of the co-authors of an audio-visual, audio, or visual work does not wish to complete his portion of the work, the other co-authors shall not be prevented from exploiting the produced portion for the completion of the project.
  3. During the agreed term of exploitation of an audio-visual, visual, audio work, the producer is the representative of the authors of this work and their beneficiaries in the agreement to use the work; without prejudice to the author's right of literary or musical works to be extracted or adapted; unless otherwise agreed in writing.

The producer is deemed to be the publisher of this work and is entitled to the publisher's rights to the work and its copies, within the framework of commercial exploitation.

Article 28

The author of an anonymous or pseudonymous work is deemed to have authorized the publisher of this work to exercise the rights provided for by applicable law unless the author designates another representative or declares his identity.

Article 29

Buildings may not be attached, nor be demolished, modified, or confiscated to preserve the architectural rights of the author whose designs, drawings, or technical sketches have been abused; without prejudice to his right to fair compensation.


Subject to Article 37, any person who commits acts such as an infringement of the moral or pecuniary rights of the author or the holder of neighbouring rights; or sell, rent, or offer for sale for circulation in any way protected by this Act is punishable by imprisonment for a minimum period of two months and a fine of minimum AED 10,000 and AED 50,000 maximum. In the event of a repeat offense, the prison sentence is increased to six months with a fine of at least AED 50,000.

Subject to section 38, any person who engages in acts such as manufacturing or importing, for selling, renting or circulating any counterfeit work or reproduction, of devices intended by the author or used by the relevant right holder to maintain standards of purity of copies; bypass any technical protection for the regulation and management of rights; Downloading or storing on a computer any copy of an application or database without the permission of the author or rights holder will be punishable by a minimum of three months’ imprisonment and a fine of AED 50,000 to AED 500,000. In the event of a repeat offense, imprisonment can be extended up to nine months with a fine of at least AED 200,000.

Except in the cases provided for in article 37 of this law, any person who uses computer programs or applications or databases without having obtained the prior authorization of the author or his successors in title is liable to a fine of at least AED 10,000 and no more than AED 30,000 per program, application or database. In the event of a repeat offense, the minimum penalty will be AED 30,000.[2]

  • Hetal Bansal

[1] Copyright Law in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - Explained (abounaja.com)

[2] https://www.lexismiddleeast.com/law/UnitedArabEmirates/Law_7_2002