Kuwait is­sues new copy­right law

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT: In 2014 Kuwait rat­i­fied the Berne Con­ven­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of Lit­er­ary and Artis­tic Works. In the same year the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters is­sued Res­o­lu­tion No. 1070 trans­fer­ring the de­pen­dency copy­right ad­min­is­tra­tion from the Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try to the Na­tional Li­brary of Kuwait. The Na­tional Li­brary pro­vides ser­vices in the area of de­pos­i­tory, preser­va­tion, and pro­tec­tion of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights of au­thors through the ap­pli­ca­tion of the de­pos­i­tory Sys­tem, where the au­thor or pub­lisher reg­is­ters and de­posits the au­thor’s artis­tic works in the Na­tional Li­brary to en­sure the con­ser­va­tion of the au­thor’s in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.

And now Kuwait has is­sued a new copy­right law, Law no. 22 of 2016 (On Copy­rights and Re­lated Rights). The new law cov­ers the copy­right and re­lated rights of nat­u­ral and le­gal en­ti­ties; Kuwaitis and for­eign­ers per­ma­nently res­i­dent in the State of Kuwait; and for­eign na­tion­als be­long­ing to one of the mem­ber States of the Con­ven­tion or the Or­ga­ni­za­tion and those un­der their aus­pices. The old law (No. 64 of 1999 on In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Rights) has been re­voked.

The pro­tec­tion es­tab­lished by the new law is con­ferred upon the copy­right of orig­i­nal works of lit­er­a­ture, arts, sciences, or knowl­edge, what­ever the type of work or the means of its ex­pres­sion, its im­por­tance, or the pur­pose of its au­thor­ing or com­po­si­tion.

Pro­tec­tion of au­thor’s moral and fi­nan­cial rights

The au­thor and the au­thor’s heir shall en­joy per­pet­ual, in­alien­able and im­pre­scriptibly moral rights over the work. Also, per­for­mance artists, their heirs and suc­ces­sors shall en­joy per­pet­ual, in­alien­able and im­pre­scriptibly moral rights.

The au­thor, and their heirs and suc­ces­sors are to en­joy the ex­clu­sive right to per­mit or pre­vent any form of use or ex­ploita­tion of the work, and for those au­thors who don’t have heirs or suc­ces­sors, the Kuwaiti Na­tional Coun­cil for Culture, Arts and Let­ters will be re­spon­si­ble to pro­tect the au­thors’ in­ter­ests against any in­fringe­ment. Also, per­for­mance artists en­joy some fi­nan­cial rights as per the new law.


For the first time in Kuwait, the new law pro­tects the au­thor’s works, in par­tic­u­lar from unau­tho­rized pub­li­ca­tion, re­pro­duc­tion, pub­lic broad­cast or re­broad­cast, pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tion, trans­la­tion, adap­ta­tion, rental, or the mak­ing avail­able of the work to the pub­lic in­clud­ing via com­puter, the in­ter­net, in­for­ma­tion net­works, com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­works or other means. The du­ra­tion of pro­tec­tion en­dures for the pe­riod of the au­thor’s life­time and fifty years fol­low­ing the au­thor’s death. Also, the du­ra­tion of pro­tec­tion with re­gards to au­dio, vis­ual, au­dio-vis­ual works and films, col­lec­tive works of a le­gal en­tity, and com­puter pro­grams shall be fifty years as of the date of the first show­ing or le­git­i­mate pub­li­ca­tion of the work, re­gard­less of re­pub­li­ca­tion.


The new law gives an im­por­tant role to the Na­tional Li­brary of Kuwait, as for the li­brary’s staff (who are des­ig­nated by the com­pe­tent min­is­ter (i.e. the Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion)) have the right to mon­i­tor the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Law by in­spect­ing presses, li­braries, pub­lish­ing houses and pub­lic places. If any po­ten­tial in­fringe­ment is de­tected, they are to for­ward de­tails of this to the rel­e­vant au­thor­ity for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. They have the right to re­quest po­lice as­sis­tance in the per­for­mance of their du­ties if needed.

Fur­ther­more, by a rea­soned ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ci­sion from the com­pe­tent Min­is­ter, any es­tab­lish­ment in vi­o­la­tion of the law may be closed tem­po­rar­ily for a max­i­mum pe­riod of three months and, in case of rep­e­ti­tion, may have its li­cense with­drawn and be closed per­ma­nently. The Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion have the ex­clu­sive au­thor­ity to in­ves­ti­gate, act and make pros­e­cu­tions in re­la­tion to all crimes re­sult­ing from the ap­pli­ca­tion of the pro­vi­sions of the new law. Any in­fringe­ment of the moral or fi­nan­cial copy­right of the au­thor may in­cur a prison sen­tence of be­tween six months and two years, and/or a fine of KD 500 to KD 50,000. This also ap­plies to any­one found guilty of dis­tribut­ing equip­ment de­signed to cir­cum­vent the tech­ni­cal pro­tec­tion em­ployed by copy­right own­ers, for which the fine may be as much as KD 100,000.


The new law is a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward for the pro­tec­tion of copy­right in Kuwait, and a re­flec­tion of how im­por­tant the sub­ject is to the gov­ern­ment. It is hoped that Kuwait will be strong in en­forc­ing com­pli­ance with the new law, and that it will con­tinue to re­vise it to keep pace with tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments. — Al-Tamimi and Com­pany

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