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Facing the Music

Issued: November 29 2013

Sachin Kerur, a partner and head of Gulf Region at Pinsent Masons in Dubai, takes the music industry as an example to illustrate copyright issues in the UAE.

 

The UAE Copyright Law protects authors’ rights and also contains some “fair dealing” provisions to enable limited fair use of copyright works, Kerur says. “However, there appears to be a level of acceptance of not paying for the use of copyright works. This is particularly evident in the sphere of music rights where, commonly, radio and television broadcasters do not clear music rights for broadcast. While the UAE Copyright Law protects all rights within a music recording, there has been no collecting society approved by the Ministry of Economy to administer collective licensing of those rights. Therefore, there is no centralized system for licensing rights in a music recording.”

 

The difficulties in clearing music rights in the UAE, together with little expectation of enforcement of infringement penalties, can result in some broadcasters not paying for the music they use, he says.

 

“This is particularly problematic in respect of traditional local music, where it is difficult to identify and locate various contributors. In order for a music industry to grow, there should be reinvestment of royalty payments in the creation of new works,” he says. “A unified copyright law could be an important step in taking forward the issues such as music rights, as it would enable collaboration in licensing and enforcement of music rights across the region.”