Muscat: Using photos, videos or copyrights without the permission of its owner, whether intentionally or otherwise could cost you a penalty of up to three years of imprisonment and/or a fine of OMR 10,000.
In the light of the technological boom that the world is currently witnessing through social media applications and other electronic websites, which has facilitated the speed of spread, some people intentionally and unintentionally steal pictures and video clips to benefit from them by selling them or republishing them without the permission of the owner.
Salah Al-Maqbali, an Omani lawyer and legal consultant, spoke to Times of Oman about the details of those who steal images and video clips to benefit from them, citing, “This act is considered a criminal offense in the Sultanate of Oman in accordance with international treaties and agreements, and the Copyright and Related Rights Law promulgated by Royal Decree No. (65 / 2008).
Regarding the penalties stipulated in the Omani Penal Code, Al-Maqbali said, “Article (52) of the law stipulates that without prejudice to any harsher penalty stipulated in another law, he or she shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than three months and no more than three years, and a fine. Not less than OMR 2,000 and not more than OMR 10,000, or either of these two penalties, whoever commits any of the following acts:
- Sells, rents, circulating or trades a copy of a protected work under the provisions of this law without obtaining the consent of the right holder.
- Intentionally infringes any of the copyright or related moral or financial rights protected by this law.
-Intentionally infringes any of the author's rights or related moral or financial rights protected under the provisions of this law for the purpose of realizing a commercial profit or private financial gain, or willfully infringes any of the author's rights even if it is not intended to achieve a financial profit, directly or indirectly.
Al-Maqbali confirmed that the penalty doubles with the repetition of the violation, with a ruling to close the shop or establishment in which the crime was committed, or to ban the practice of activity, according to the court’s discretion.
He added that the Omani Penal Code stressed that the court should take into account that the punishment is sufficient to deter any other infringement, in line with the policy of removing the financial incentive for the infringer.
As for copyright and authorship, Salah Al-Maqbali confirmed that the rights are protected under the Copyright and Related Rights Law, without the need for documentation, except that the right holder may deposit a copy of his work with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, (CIIP), in order to register his ownership of the deposited work and preserve his right formally before the Ministry.