Commons:Copyright rules by territory/United Arab Emirates

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of the United Arab Emirates (UAR) relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in the United Arab Emirates must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both the United Arab Emirates and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from the United Arab Emirates, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.


The emirates that now make up the UAR became a British protectorate in 1819 as the Trucial States. The United Arab Emirates became independent on 2 December 1971.

The UAR has been a member of the the World Trade Organization since 10 April 1996 and the Berne Convention and WIPO Copyright Treaty since 14 July 2004.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 Concerning Copyrights and Neighboring Rights as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of the United Arab Emirates.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2] The Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization holds a copy of Federal Law No.(32) of the year 2006 Amending the Federal Law No.(7) of the year 2002 concerning copyrights and neighboring rights.[3]

The 2002 law replaced Federal Law No. 40 of 1992 on the Protection of Intellectual Works and Copyright. WIPO also holds a copy of the earlier 1992 law.[4] Under the 2002 law,

  • The Federal Law No. 40 of the year 1992 and any other provision contrary to the provisions of this law, are hereby cancelled.[7/2002 Article 48]
  • The applied regulations and decisions shall be valid as long as they do not contradict with the provisions of this law until the new regulations and the implementing decisions are issued, and entered into force.[7/2002 Article 49]

General rules

Under the former Federal Law No. 40 of 1992,

  • Copyright was valid during the author's lifetime and for 25 calendar years after his death.[7/2002 Article 20]
  • Copyright was valid for 25 calendar years from date of publication for the following works[7/2002 Article 20]:
    • Cinema films and works of the applied arts.
    • Works made by legal persons.
    • Works published under a pen name, or without mentioning the author's name.
    • Works published for the first time after the death of their author.
  • The period of copyright for photographic works was 10 calendar years from the date of publication.[7/2002 Article 20]
  • The period of copyright for works of joint authors was counted from the death date of the last surviving author.[7/2002 Article 20]

Under Federal law No. 7 of 2002, which is retroactive, as amended in 2006:

  • The economic rights of the author are protected through his lifetime and for 50 years beginning from the first day of the calendar year following the death.[7/2002 Article 20.1]
  • The economic rights of the joint authors shall be protected through their lifetime and fifty years beginning from the first day of the calendar year following the death of the last surviving author.[7/2002 Article 20.2]
  • Collective works except applied arts are protected for 50 years beginning from the first day of the next calendar year of the first publication if the author is a legal person, but if the author is a natural person, the period will be calculated according to the rule stipulated in (1) and (2) of this article.[7/2002 Article 20.3]
  • The economic rights of works published for the first time after the death of their author expire after 50 years starting the first day of the next calendar year of its first publications.[7/2002 Article 20.3]
  • The economic rights of the works published anonymously or pseudonymously shall be protected for 50 years from the first day of the next calendar year of the first publication, unless the author becomes known in this period.[7/2002 Article 20.4]
  • The economic rights of the authors of the applied art works shall expire after 25 years of its first publication, starting the first day of the next calendar year.[7/2002 Article 20.5]

In order to be hosted on Commons, public domain works must be out-of-copyright in both the United States and their source country. Emirati photographs are currently in the public domain in the United States if their protection period had expired in the United Arab Emirates prior to the URAA date of restoration (10 April 1996).

Not protected

Under Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 protection does not extend to:

  • Mere ideas, procedures, methods of work, mathematical understandings, principles, and abstract facts, but extends to creative expression in any of them.[7/2002 Article 3]
  • Official documents, whatever their original language or the language they are translated to, such as the texts of laws, regulations, decisions, international agreements, judgments, arbitrators’ awards and the decisions of the administrative committees having judicial competence.[7/2002 Article 3(1)]
  • News, events and current facts, which constitute merely media news.[7/2002 Article 3(2)]
  • Works transferred to public property.[7/2002 Article 3(3)]

Copyright tags


See also: Commons:Copyright tags



See also: Commons:Currency

X mark.svg Not OK Banknotes and coins are not exempted from copyright law in the United Arab Emirates, and so are protected in the same way as other works of applied and plastic art or drawings, with respect to reproduction and to the time period of copyright protection.

Freedom of panorama


See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

X mark.svg Not OK {{NoFoP-UAE}}

There is no usable FoP provision in the copyright law of the UAE (Federal Law #1 of 1972, Federal Law #15 of 1980, Federal Law #40 of 1992, and Federal Law (32) 2006). UAE copyright law as of 2006 discusses an FoP like provision, but it is restricted to "broadcasts".

  • The author must not prohibit a third person from performing one of the following acts ... Presenting fine arts, applied and plastic arts or architectural works in broadcasting programmes, if such works are permanently present in public places.[7/2002 Article 22.7]

See Commons talk:Freedom of panorama/Archive 6#Update: UAE FoP situation under dispute for a discussion on FoP in the UAE.


See also: Commons:Stamps/Public domain

Copyrighted The 2002 UAE law states that such works as stamps are protected for 50 years starting from 1 January of the publication year. Yet the 1992 law gave a 25 years copyright protection (starting from the publication date). This means that all UAE postage stamps printed before 1977 are in public domain. Stamps issued after that year should wait 50 years.

One may tag Template:PD-United Arab Emirates stamp to any such image.

See also


Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer