Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Western Sahara

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Western Sahara, showing the berm (red) dividing the areas of Moroccan control and SADR control

Western Sahara is a disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa, partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially controlled by Morocco.


The modern territory of Western Sahara was occupied and ruled by Spain as the Spanish Sahara between 1884 and 1975. Under the Madrid Treaty of 1975 Spain ceded the Spanish Sahara to Morocco, a move that was encouraged by the United States. As of 2022, only United States recognized Morocco's claim to the entire Western Sahara.[1] Many other UN member states don't recognize it, but rather they support the Western Sahara Autonomy Proposal.

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on 27 February 1976. The SADR government controls a strip of land in the east of the country, separated by a berm from the larger area to the west that is controlled by Morocco, which claims it as its Southern Provinces. The Sahrawi Republic maintains diplomatic relations with 41 states of the United Nations, as well as a post-Soviet non-UN member South Ossetia, and is a full member of the African Union.

Applicable law[edit]

Neither Western Sahara nor the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic appear in the list of countries with which the United States has copyright relations.[2] The de facto position would appear to be that Moroccan copyright law applies to works from Western Sahara, or at least to works created west of the berm.

See also[edit]


  1. Donald J. Trump (10 December 2020). Proclamation on Recognizing The Sovereignty Of The Kingdom Of Morocco Over The Western Sahara. The White House. Retrieved on 2022-05-31.
  2. Circular 38a: International Copyright Relations 11. United States Copyright Office of the United States (2019). Retrieved on 2019-01-13.
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