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Assembly approves draft law on copyright – Forgery alleged

KUWAIT CITY, May 10: The National Assembly unanimously approved the draft law on copyright and related rights in the first and second deliberations on Tuesday. Information Minister and State Minister for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah thanked the Parliament for adopting the law, considering its importance in the culture of Kuwait.

According to the report of the Educational, Cultural and Guidance Affairs Committee, Kuwait joined several regional and international conventions on intellectual property rights because of the need to protect copyright and related rights.

The law consists of 45 articles in three chapters. Article One defines ‘written work’ as every innovative literary, artistic or scientific work or a way of expression with significance or purpose. The same article defines ‘related rights’ as the rights inherent in the author’s copyright and anything similar in some respects (right of public performance, the right of producers of phonograms or right of broadcasting institutions).

Article Two states that protection accorded to copyright and related rights covers natural and legal persons — Kuwaitis, foreigners who are permanent residents in the State of Kuwait and foreigners from any of the member-States in the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works or in the World Trade Organization and others.

Article Four enumerates cases where protection is not applied as per the law.

Article Five states that national folklore is owned by the public so the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature must fully support such works.

Article Six stipulates that the moral rights of the author and his general successor over his written books is permanent and cannot be waived or confiscated.

Article Eight gives authority to the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature to exercise the moral rights provided for in Article Six if the author dies without an heir, as well as the works of unknown authors.

Article 37 grants the customs authorities the right to order non-customs clearance for goods if any of the protected rights is violated. Article 38 mandates the Kuwait National Library to establish a register for depositing works, sound recordings, radio shows and performances, while the executive regulations should determine procedures and rules in this regard.

Article 39 stipulates the right of the concerned persons to lodge a complaint against decisions on refusal to register and deposit works.

Article 40 states that the Public Prosecution has the sole authority to investigate, act and prosecute in all crimes arising from the application of the law within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Division in the High Court to look into criminal proceedings stipulated in this law and allows submission of an appeal regarding its ruling.

Meanwhile, the Parliament approved the report of the Public Funds Protection Committee on the irregularities that the State Audit Bureau mentioned in its report about the automated information system contracts and the recommendations therein.

The Parliament agreed to amend one of the recommendations by adding an item on determining the period for the government to submit its report about the actions it has taken regarding the observations of the bureau.

The amended version also states the formation of a neutral State committee consisting of advisers from the Fatwa and Legislative Department, auditors and information system experts to conduct investigations and hold perpetrators accountable. It mandates the government to submit a report on its final decision and actions taken to protect public money to the Parliament.

Furthermore, the Parliament instructed the Public Funds Protection Committee to investigate the alleged forgery of 18 commercial licenses to obtain agricultural plots. On another issue, the Parliament postponed voting on the recommendations about the scattered gravel on roads due to lack of quorum.

The recommendations included using a new asphalt mixture in cooperation with the British laboratory and stopping the use of previous mixtures in order to prevent the recurrence of the problem, taking into consideration the success of the experimental application of the new mixture

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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