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Violators of Copyright to Be Fined Up to SR500,000

Posted by Yaser on February 18, 2006

JEDDAH, 18 February 2006 — Violators of the Kingdom’s copyright law have been warned of tough punishments, including fines up to SR500,000. Individuals engaged in abuse of intellectual property will be jailed for up to one year, according to Saeed Al-Ghamdi, director of the Culture and Information Ministry’s office in the Makkah region.

He said the ministry would carry out surprise raids in various parts of the country to track down violators of the law, which was passed by the Cabinet on March 15, 2004.

“We’ll punish the violators without leniency,” Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic daily quoted the official as saying.

The punishments include shutting down of a company or shop or any other entity involved in the violation for four months or permanently. The government will destroy all material that is deemed pirated and will confiscate all equipment that is used for copying or forgery.

Individuals and organizations can be ordered to pay compensation for losses caused to the vendors whose software was pirated. Losses caused by copyright piracy in the Kingdom are estimated at SR500 million a year.

“We have given enough time for all companies and establishments working in the Kingdom to comply with the law,” Al-Ghamdi said.

A committee comprising representatives of the Information Ministry and Interior Ministry confiscated on Thursday a large number of pirated CDs and computer programs as well as equipment used for copying them from a commercial firm in Jeddah.

“We carry out raids as part of our efforts to enforce the law across the country,” the official said.

The law applies to all establishments or companies in sales or distribution of software or audiovisual property and any commercial, industrial, service, financial, investment or administrative entity that uses software or audiovisual tools.

source article

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