Law No. 22 of 2006 related to Copyright and Neighboring Rights was issued on June 25, 2006, to govern the protection of copyright and related rights in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The law, whose Implementing Regulations have not yet been issued, annulled Copyright Law No. 10 of 1993.
In order to gain protection, the publishers of copyrightable works have to deposit 3 copies of the work with the Copyright Protection Office at the Ministry of Information. Original works of literature, art and science, regardless of type, importance or purpose are protectable.
Such works include books, pamphlets and other writings, lectures, sermons, dramatic works, musical works, musical compositions, cinematographic works, works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving, photographic works, works of applied art, illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works as well as computer programs and folklore expressions. The law also provides protection for neighboring rights including rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations.
The National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature reserves the right to allow publication of the work of art, if the copyright holder has not done so, or if his/her heirs do not publish it within one year of being informed to do so in writing. In this case, the Ministry of Information can obtain an order from the High Court of Justice to impound the work and to hand it over to the National Council, while providing the copyright holder or the heirs with fair compensation.
Protection period for the economic rights of the authors consists of two phases, the author’s lifetime and a period ranging from 20 to 70 yeas following his death.
Infringements are prosecuted before the Civil Court of Bahrain. The court can stop the circulation of the infringing works, seize and destroy them and the equipment used, estimate the infringers' proceeds and call upon experts' assessment.
As per the law, penalties for copyright infringements have been stiffened. Wide spectrum of penalties, including imprisonment ranging between three months to one year and a fine ranging between BHD 500- BHD 4,000, have been imposed on the violators of the copyright law.
Bahrain is a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.