The copyright law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was issued as per Royal Decree No. M/41 dated August 30, 2003 and published in the Official Gazette No. 3959 dated September 19, 2003.
The Implementing Regulations of the law were published in the Official Gazette (Um-Al-Qura) dated June 4, 2004 and entered into force on August 2, 2004.
Protection is granted to authors whose works of art are expressed in writing, sound, drawing, photography or motion pictures and computer software. The rights of the author are protected for his lifetime and for a period of 50 years after his death.
The protection shall cover all intellectual works whether they are literary, scientific or artistic of any type as far as the distribution of the same in Saudi Arabia is allowed.
Foreign intellectual works are protected in accordance with the international conventions Saudi Arabia is a member therein.
The law incorporates stringent penalties to be imposed on Intellectual Property infringers. These penalties include financial fines reaching up to 250.000 Saudi Riyals, closing the violating establishment, confiscation of all copies of the work and imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months.
No registration procedures of copyright are available in Saudi Arabia. According to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, registration in the home country extends to all member states.
However, any printed materials or computer programs can be distributed in Saudi Arabia only after receiving an approval from the Ministry of Information. For this purpose, a local distributor is essential. The distributor should obtain the necessary approval locally.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a member of the Universal Copyright Convention and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.