Literary Rights of the Author

First: Publishing Right:

The publishing right means that only the author can determine the right time for publishing his works. This right is exercised by the author himself, and in the case of his death, his general or private heirs may exercise such rights.

Second: Right of Attribution:

The author is the innovator who gets the credit for the work. As such, the author alone has the right to attribute the work to him/herself without any disputes from any other party. The author may use another name (an alias) or completely conceal his name without losing the right to attribute the work to him/herself whenever the author so desires.

Third: Right to Respecting the Work:

The author is entitled to receive full respect for his work and no one may alter or use his work without a prior written permission from the author.

Fourth: Right to Withdraw:

The author has the right to withdraw his work from being traded if the author regrets an opinion expressed, expression stated, or even the form of the work as long as the author believes that they might harm him, his dignity or his reputation. The author must request the permission of the court of law to exercise this right in order to confirm the seriousness of the cause for withdrawal, in which case, the court of law will require the author to pay compensation to the owner of the right to financial utilization, if any (usually the publisher).

Author’s Financial Rights:

First: Right to Reproduce

The author has the right to license others to reproduce his work in any form and the copies may have a backup as a hard copy, magnetic copies (audio, visual, or audiovisual tapes), or on a computer memory card.

Second: Right to Public Performance

The right to public performance is the right of the author to grant permission before any live performance in front of an audience by performers (actors, musicians, singers or others) of a literary or artistic work or through a backup with the work recorded on it that the audience can hear through a recorder or watch on a television screen or computer.

Third: Right to Translate

The author has the right to grant permission prior to any translation of his work to guarantee the level of the translator from both linguistic and scientific aspects and to ensure that his ideas and literature are translated in a clear and undistorted or misrepresented manner.

Fourth: Right to Modifying

The author enjoys the right to license an adaptation of his work from one form of art to another. For example, an author’s story could be adapted into a scenario and dialogue or made it into a cinematic piece of art through artistic treatment. This is only legal after the permission of the author is granted on condition that the person granted the right to adapt the work from one format of art to another does not surpass the meaning of the text and remains within the limits of the permission granted for adaptation.

Fifth: Right to Lease

The author has the right to lease his right in his share of royalty from leasing.

Sixth: Right to Distribution

The author has the right to distribute copies of his work to others through selling or any other form of transferring ownership in exchange for an amount found satisfactory by the author.

Transfer of Rights:

The author’s financial rights may be transferred to others pursuant to agreements that entitle the utilization of one or more rights for a specific time period, for a specific purpose, and in a specific geographic location. The condition for this right is that the author must be the owner of all rights that have not been explicitly transferred. Also, a transfer of one right does not mean a transfer of any other right. The author may transfer a financial right through a contract that clearly states the geographic area, time, place, purpose of utilization, type (copies, translations, or public performance), purpose of such transfer, and the manner of licensing. Copyrights may also be transferred by inheritance to the heirs or legatees. It is important to note that the transfer of rights and disposal are only applicable to works that have already been invented and not future works.

Owners of Related Rights:

The owners of related rights are:

  1. Performers: are the actors, singers, musicians, dancers and other persons who perform literary or artistic works in any form. Performers have the sole right to broadcast their performances and transmit it to the audience, the right record their performance on a audio tape, in addition to the right to copy their performances recorded on an audio tape.
  2. Producers of audio recordings: are the persons that record the voices of performers or other persons for the first time. The producers have the right to prevent any utilization of their recordings in any form without a license in addition to the sole right to distribute their recordings in any method.
  3. Broadcasting organizations: are any parties that broadcast wireless audio, visual, or audiovisual transmissions. The broadcasting organization has the right to grant licenses to utilize their recordings and broadcast programs in addition to the right to prevent any distribution of their recordings without a license issued by them.

Period of protection:

The protection of the author’s financial right is time limited and includes the author’s lifetime and 50 years after his death. As for applied art, the period of protection is 25 years after publishing it for the first time while the period of protection for owners of related rights is as follows:

  1. Rights of performers extend 50 years starting from the year following the year of the performance. In the case the performance was recorded, then the period of protection beings from the end of the year of the recording.
  2. Rights of recording producers are protected for 50 years from the date of publishing the recording or the date of recording in the case the work has not been published.
  3. Rights of broadcasting organizations are protected for 20 years from the date of the first broadcasting of their programs.

Punishments that discourage violations of copyrights:

The UAE Law has ensured that punishments for crimes related to intellectual property are strict where the penalty ranges from AED 10,000 to AED 500,000 in addition to imprisonment for periods ranging between two months and nine months. Also, commercial companies violating the rights of intellectual properties are punished by closure for periods up to three months.

Law enforcement authorities also have the right to confiscate and destroy violated goods and the equipment used in producing them in order to ensure that piracy and forgery do not continue.

In addition, judgments relating to copyrights have been issued by the Federal Supreme Court, Dubai Courts, Fujairah Courts and Sharjah Courts.

* Source: Ministry of Economy, Abu Dhabi Office, P.O.Box: 901, Telephone: 8001222