Copyright infringement in UAE
Copyright Infringement in UAE

An Introductory Text on 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(herein referred to as copyright infringement in UAE), 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 rights.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) protects 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 In addition, federal law 7 of 2002 repealed all previous laws that conflicted with the requirements, including federal law 40 of 1992 on copyright.

Entities covered by copyright includes:

  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. 

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

  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:

  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.
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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 Infringement in UAE - Copyright Infringement in UAE in Intellectual Property Law

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.


Piracy is the act of using someone else original work that is protected by copyright law. 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. The copyright owner is the publisher, author, or another person to whom the copyright has been granted. 

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 on a large scale, and all content is available to the entire public domain. 


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.

New copyright laws tighten penalties for copyright infringement. According to Article 38 of the Copyright Law, the fine has gone up to AED 100,000. For example, a fine for infringing an author’s moral or monetary rights went up from AED 50,000 to AED 100,000 (former Copyright Act). 

In addition, the penalty may reach AED 100,000 to AED 1,000,000 (USD 275,000) for the use of viruses or computer applications without the license of the author or successor, which is an increase over the previous AED 30,000 (USD 8,175).


A wide range of legal remedies are available in UAE law to combat copyright infringement. Enterprise and software users should be aware of 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. Criminal penalties apply to certain copyright violations. Civil remedies include damages and court orders for permanent injunctive relief and destruction of infringing goods.

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