Who Owns Copyright at Work? A Review of Copyright Law in the UAE

In most common law jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, the copyright in original works made or created by an employee in the course of employment is owned by such employee’s employer. However, this is not the case in the UAE. This article explores certain significant differences in the ownership and protection of copyright in the UAE as compared to common law jurisdictions.

Author’s Rights under UAE Law

The legislation which regulates copyright in the UAE is Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 on Copyrights and Related Rights (as amended) (“UAE Copyright Law”). The primary purpose of the UAE Copyright Law is to protect authors of original works which include books, computer programs and applications, plays and musicals, audio works, architectural designs, photographic works and derivative works, amongst others. Therefore, employers in these and similar fields of endeavour should be particularly concerned about the ownership of copyright.

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