An Introductory Text on Copyright Infringement in UAE

Copyright Infringement in UAE


Copyright refers to the form of protection given to authors for their original works, 

especially works of art and literature, regardless of the manner of expression, purpose, or meaning of such works. Under the United Arab Emirates copyright law, authors have the exclusive right to exploit their artwork, transfer all or part of their intellectual property rights over the work to a third party, and its moral right.

What is copyright infringement in UAE?

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use or reproduction of someone else’s creative work that is protected by copyright. Copyright infringement can occur when someone copies, distributes, displays, or performs copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright owner. This includes situations where copyrighted materials are used without authorization on social media platforms. Copyright infringement is a serious offence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and can lead to legal consequences for individuals and businesses.

What are the new copyright laws in UAE?

Previously, the United Arab Emirates (the UAE) protected its copyrights by international treaties and federal law no. 7 of 2002 (Copyright and Related Rights). It was published in the Official Gazette (No. 7) on 1 July 2002 and entered into force on the same day. In addition, federal law 7 of 2002 repealed all previous laws that conflicted with the requirements, including federal law 40 of 1992 on copyright.

In 2021, the UAE issued a new Federal Law No. 38 of 2021 concerning Copyright & Neighboring Rights, which came into force in January 2022 and replaced the old Federal Law No. 7 of 2002. In addition, the UAE’s copyright law is based on international agreements and treaties, including the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which the UAE became a member of in 2004.

The new UAE Federal Law No. 38 of 2021 on Copyright and Neighboring Rights provides a comprehensive framework for addressing copyright infringement in the UAE and sets out clear penalties and procedures for enforcing copyright law, for example; –

Articles 39, 40 and 41: These provisions outline the penalties for copyright infringement, which can include fines, imprisonment, and the seizure and destruction of infringing copies, as well as the acts that are considered copyright infringement, such as reproducing, distributing, and communicating a copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright owner.

Article 43: This provision outlines compensation in case of infringement of moral and economic rights of the author or the right holder.

What are some entities that are covered by copyright?

  1. Books, brochures, articles. 
  2. Computer programs and applications, databases, and similar operations abide by the spirit of the Ministry of Economy. 
  3. Lectures, reports, sermons.
  4. Plays, musical performances, and pantomimes.
  5. Compose music with or without lyrics.
  6. Audio, visual and audiovisual works. 
  7. Architectural works and engineering designs.
  8. Artworks include line drawings, engravings, lithographs, textile prints, wood prints, and metal prints. 
  9. Photography and analog works.
  10. Applied and plastic works of art. 
  11. Three-dimensional works of illustrations, maps, sketches, and other works relating to geography, topography, or architecture.
  12. Derivative works. 

Several of the entities mentioned above face the risk of unauthorized copying on popular social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Despite continuous reporting to these social media platforms, it can be challenging to force those who replicate your content to remove it. It emphasizes the need for copyright registration, providing an additional compelling reason to safeguard your creative works through legal protection.

What are the documents needed while filing for a copyright application?

The application form submitted to apply for copyright must be accompanied by the following:

  1. Three copies of the works with descriptions.
  2. Details of the author.
  3. A legalized deed of assignment.
  4. A legalized power of attorney.

Please note, copyright law does not protect ideas, procedures, working methods, mathematical concepts, abstract principles, and facts but extends to innovative expressions. Similarly, protection does not include the following:

  1. Official documents such as legal texts, regulatory, normative acts, decisions, international treaties, court decisions, arbitral awards, and decisions of the competent administrative committees, regardless of the language of the original or copied. 
  2. Reports that are already in the public domain and provide purely informational value.

Copyright on work of authorship under employment

Copyright in work created by an employee during employment remains the employer’s property as the “author” of the work, and the employer enjoys all of the above rights as the first copyright holder of that work. As the original creator of the work, the employer may legally transfer any ownership of that work (as opposed to moral rights) to a third party (e.g., the employee’s employer) with written consent that meets the following conditions.

  1. The purpose of the transfer 
  2. The right to transfer, 
  3. The location and duration of work

Copyright license

Obtaining or granting a copyright license is not an easy task, but you must obtain absolute permission to copy protected material. A copyright license is essential for those who need to use copyrighted material daily. If a person cannot obtain a license from the owner, they must ask the owner for written permission and pay the necessary fees whenever they wish to copy any part of the work. 

Please do not use the author’s work without permission. Always check the copyright icon for content available online. Every piece of content on the internet is protected by copyright by default. The act of copying, reproducing, displaying, or publishing someone else’s work is considered a copyright infringement in UAE.

What are the common types of copyright infringement in the UAE?

In the UAE, copyright infringement can take many forms, but some of the most common types include the following:


Piracy involves copying or distributing copyrighted material, such as books, music, movies, or software, without permission from the copyright owner. This violates the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner, such as the right to display, reproduce, distribute or create derivative works or to present the work. 

Copyright holders usually take legal and technical measures to punish and prevent copyright infringement. One of the most common methods today is P2P or torrenting. Here, the infringement is large, and all content is available to the entire public domain. 


Counterfeiting involves creating and distributing fake or unauthorized copies of copyrighted products, such as designer clothes, watches, or electronics, in a way that violates the exclusive rights of the copyright owner. It can cause negative economic consequences to the copyright owner as it can lead to lost sales for the copyright owner and harm their reputation. Under the UAE Copyright Law, counterfeiting can result in severe penalties such as fines and imprisonment.

In counterfeit goods, the copyright owner can seek redress by filing a complaint with the competent authorities in the UAE to stop the counterfeiting activities and seek compensation for any damages caused.

To protect themselves against counterfeiting, copyright owners in the UAE can take several measures, such as:

  1. Registering their copyrights with the Ministry of Economy’s Copyright Department.
  2. Monitoring the market for counterfeit products and taking legal action against the counterfeiters.
  3. Educating consumers about the dangers of counterfeit products and the importance of supporting legitimate businesses.
  4. Using security measures, such as holograms or serial numbers, makes it more difficult for counterfeiters to copy their products.


The UAE Copyright law recognizes the exclusive right of the author to use their work and prohibits any unauthorized copying or use of the work without the author’s consent.

Plagiarism occurs when someone uses an author’s work without giving them proper credit or permission, and can be in academic writing, creative writing, and online content. In the UAE, plagiarism is considered a violation of Copyright Law and can result in legal action. Therefore, the Ministry of Education in the UAE implemented strict policies and guidelines to prevent plagiarism in UAE educational institutions. 

Therefore, to avoid plagiarism, you must cite all sources used in research and writing, such as footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citations, depending on the citation style used. Equally, you can seek permission from the copyright owner before using their work.


Another copyright infringement is photocopying. You might have seen various books being copied and sold over the years. It usually happens in stores that offer copies of university textbooks, which prevents students from buying original textbooks. Hence, thorough knowledge of copyright law is recommended before beginning an academic career in the UAE.

Frequently asked questions

How can I protect my copyright in the UAE?

To protect your copyright in the UAE, register your work with the Ministry of Economy’s Copyright Department, monitor the market for infringing activities, and take legal action against infringers if necessary.

What should I do if I am accused of copyright infringement in the UAE?

If you are accused of copyright infringement in the UAE, you should seek legal advice and be prepared to defend yourself in court. Gathering evidence and demonstrating that you have not infringed on the copyright owner’s rights is important.


A wide range of legal remedies is available in UAE law to combat copyright infringement. Enterprise and software users should know the increased penalties for downloading unlicensed computer programs. Companies that exceed their license permissions/metrics in software license agreements may commit a crime under copyright law and face significant fines or imprisonment.

If you’ve faced copyright infringement of any kind, it is important to get professional help from lawyers specialising in intellectual property matters!

Share this blog:


    If the form is not submitted, use the button below

    Join LegaMart's community of exceptional lawyers

    Your global legal platform
    Personalised. Efficient. Simple.

    © 2023 LegaMart. All rights reserved. Powered by stripe