Kuwait has seen incredible changes in the area of copyright protection over the past 3 years. The new copyright law announced in August 2019 is a truly innovative stepping stone to encouraging the presence of a booming local creative economy.

Behind the creation of these laws were a few driven advocates who strongly believe in copyright protection and the positive effect it can have on the creative economy of a state.

Among them is a leading voice in the copyright movement in Kuwait, and a key figure that played a crucial role in the passing of Kuwait’s new copyright law of 2019 (#75) – Fawwaz Al Ajmi of The National Library of Kuwait.

In our endorsement of Kuwait’s new copyright law, we had the chance to sit back and hear more about this amazing journey from Fawwaz Al Ajmi himself.

Why do you think copyright is important?

“Personally, I believe that copyright is an inevitable element of the creative economy, especially in this era. Its implication can no longer be dismissed.

Authors and creators invest an incredible amount of time, effort and sometimes money into creating a piece of work. It’s only fair that the creations are acknowledged and that they are credited for the originality in their work and the displayed creativity.

Furthermore, the presence and protection of copyright will positively encourage creators to continue to create. Knowing that their work is copyright protected and that it will not be seized or used illegally provides motivation for them to continue creating passionately. This may help the areas of culture, arts, and literature within the region to flourish.”

What are your thoughts on the new law?

“The new law is a promising step towards the growth of the creative economy of the region.  The law aims at protecting the works of creators by subjecting infringers to serious penalties. However, the law alone cannot prevent copyright infringement. Awareness about the law and the possible consequences is an important factor in its effectiveness.

Creators and businesses must collectively advocate the legal use of content and create positive awareness about the new copyright law by shedding light on how the nation can benefit from it.”

What do you hope to see in the next five years in the Kuwaiti creative industry?

“Kuwait has historically been the vanguard of innovation in the theatrical, musical, and televised industries. However, this changed as a result of certain incidents that we can perhaps talk about later. I look forward to the resurgence of Kuwait as the media and entertainment leader in the region.”

Why do you personally believe in copyright?

“Personally, I choose to indulge in literature and music and I am very aware of the extent to which they can positively affect people – and perhaps even the state – both economically and culturally.

Copyright plays a significant role in administrating and ensuring the prosperity of such fields.”

How do you think copyright positively affects national culture and heritage?

“With the emergence of the UN Global Charter and providing for the need to respect the history and culture of nations signatory to it, the world attentively considers the folklore and cultural history of all societies, since the culture of societies is considered as an introduction to its identity and civilization. Therefore, the legislations that care for the issue of copyright to stress the significance of preserving the societies’ identity through their folklore and to prevent any infringements or violations against such folklore.”

What specifically do you believe needs to be improved for copyright holders to be protected?

“With the legal restrictions already in place, I truly believe that the next step towards the effective protection of copyright holders will be the launch of compelling awareness campaigns that advocate copyright. Awareness of the importance of copyright can further be encouraged by conducting seminars to enlighten individuals in the creative industries about the benefits of copyright.”

Why do you believe collective management should come to the region?

“The concept of collective management is now beginning to set its roots in the region. I truly believe that the emergence of collective management organizations (CMOs) will facilitate the effective enforcement of copyright law and will better foster the development of the creative industries, preserving our national art and culture.

Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) will serve as middlemen between creators (copyright holders) and the businesses that use their work. CMOs will negotiate and collect financial entitlements from the licensees and act against those who infringe on and violate copyright laws. In order to perform these actions, CMOs will recruit personnel, precipitating the creation of jobs and supporting the economy of the region.”

How do you envision the future of collective management in the region?

“As I’ve stated earlier, collective management is now beginning to set its roots in the region. So, it is only natural that CMOs will face obstacles and challenges in the process of enforcing their operations.

However, with time and experience, CMOs will become an integral asset of societies in the region.”

How did you get involved with copyright law?

“I hold a Bachelor of Law from Kuwait University and while completing my undergraduate degree I came across copyright as a subject and chose to pursue it further. This interest of mine led me to work with the National Library of Kuwait. I also currently work with the Copyright Department.”