In the simplest terms , copyright means the right to copy. Only the owner of copyright — usually the creator of the piece - is allowed to produce or reproduce the work in question or to permit anyone else to do so. Suppose, for example, that you have written a novel, Copyrights Law rewards and protects your creative endeavor by giving you the sole right to publish or use your work in any number of ways. You may also choose not to publish your work and to prevent anyone else from doing so.
What does a Copyright Law protect?
A poem, painting, musical score, computer program—all these are valuable creation, although perhaps no one can measure their worth. Some may earn a lot of money in the marketplace and others none at all. Regardless of their merit or commercial value, Saudi Arabian law regards all such original creative works as copyright material. This means that if you own the copyright in a poem, song, or other work, you have a number of rights, which are protected under the Copyright Law.
Simply, the Law prohibits others from copying your work without your permission. Its purpose, like that of other pieces of intellectual property legislation, is to protect owners while promoting creativity and the orderly exchange of ideas.
Copyrights Law has become increasingly complex over the years to respond to a sophisticated communications' environment. In this high-tech age, there are many new ways of producing creative works as well as of imitating or exploiting them without the creator’s permission. The photo copier, videocassette recorder, and personal computer digital reproduction of songs is just a few examples of modern devices that help artists communicate with their audiences, but that also make it harder to control unauthorized use.
The Registration Process
The Government agency responsible for registering copyrights in Saudi Arabia is the Copyright Office in the Ministry of Information. Registration is official acknowledgment of your copyright claim. It means that the Copyright Office has recorded the details, which you provided, and gives you a certificate attesting to this fact.
In addition to registering copyrights, the Office maintains records of all registrations and other pertinent documents for public use and provides information to the public about the registration process. For professional advice, you should consult a lawyer with knowledge in the field.
The records of the Copyright Office are open to the public; you may search through them to find information, such as who owns a certain copyright, and whether ownership has changed.
Generally, if you are the creator of the work, you own the copyright. However, if you create a work in the course of employment, the copyright belongs to your employer unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
Similarly, if a person commissions a photograph, portrait, engraving or print, the person ordering the work for valuable consideration is the first owner of copyright unless there is an agreement to the contrary. Also, you may legally transfer your rights to someone else, in which case that person owns the copyright.
Copyright in Saudi Arabia usually exists for the life of the author and for 50 years thereafter, and then the work becomes part of the public domain and anyone can use it.
What is covered by copyright?
Copyright applies to all original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Each of these general categories covers a wide range of creations. Here are just a few examples:
Literary works: books, pamphlets, poems and other works consisting of text, including computer programs.
Dramatic works: films, videos, plays, screenplays and scripts.
Musical works: compositions that consist of both words and music, or music only (note that lyrics only fall into the literary works class).
Artistic works: paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures and architectural works.
One should keep in mind that copyright also applies to all kinds of recordings, such as records, cassettes, and compact discs. Copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work, or a subpart of it, or in the case of a lecture, to deliver it; if the work is unpublished, it includes the right to publish it, or any substantial part of it.
Copyright also includes the sole right to ...
Produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work.
Convert a dramatic work into a novel or other non-dramatic work.
Convert a novel, a non-dramatic work or an artistic work into a dramatic work by way of performance in public or otherwise.
Make a sound recording of a literary, dramatic or musical work.
Reproduce, adapt and publicly present a work by cinematography.
Communicate the work by telecommunication.
In the case of a computer program that can be reproduced in the ordinary course of its use, or a sound recording, to rent it out; and authorize any such acts.
When copyright does not apply?
Titles, names and short word combinations are usually not protected by copyright. A “work”for copyright purposes must be something more substantial. However, if a title is original and distinctive, it is protected as part of the work it relates to. You may have a brilliant idea for a mystery plot, but until the script is actually written, or the motion picture produced, there is no copyright protection. In the case of a game, it is not possible to protect the idea of the game, that is, the way the game is played, but the language in which the rules are written would be protected as a literary work. Copyright is restricted to the expression of an idea; it does not extend to the idea itself.
Other items, which are not protected by copyright, include:
Names or slogans;
Short phrases and most titles;
Methods, such as a method of teaching or sculpting;
Plots or characters; and
In the case of a magazine article including factual information, it is the expression of the information that is protected, and not the facts.
Facts, ideas and news are all considered part of the public domain; that is, they are everyone’s property. Note also that you cannot hold a copyright for a work that is in the public domain. You can adapt or translate such a work, and hold a copyright of your adaptation or translation. Replace the sample text with your own text, graphics, and multimedia files. To provide a link to another page, select text, and click Hyperlink on the Insert menu.
Finally, we are pleased to up date you that, presently, Saudi Arabia
has enacted a new Copyright Law, which covers all the requirements and measures provided and stipulated by the (TRIPS) Agreement.
In addition to that We are pleased to update you that now copyright
protection in Saudi Arabia is guided by Berne Agreement
Principles, while it entered a reservation with regard to close (1) of
item "First" of Article (2) of Berne Agreement not to protect the
Artistic works and Literary compilations prohibited by Shari 'a
" Islamic Law.