Arab News reports that the Saudi government is cracking down on copyright violations. While Saudi Arabia has had a checkered history of enforcing copyrights, over the past several years, the government has been getting much stricter. Now, 35 businessmen have had their rights to travel outside the Kingdom taken away. Their specific problem, in addition to being copyright violations, is also in avoiding government procurement regulations pertaining to computers acquired for government use. Government end-users are required to register software under their department names; the businesses provided pre-loaded — and pirated — software.

Travel ban on 35 businessmen for violating copyright laws
RIYADH: FAHAD AL-DIABI

The Ministry of Culture and Information has banned 35 businessmen from traveling outside the country for violating copyrights laws and failing to pay fines imposed by the ministry.

The ministry’s latest report said that three companies imported computers with pirated software for government departments. The companies violated the terms of their agreement which stipulates that the software must be registered under the name of the particular department. The companies were fined between SR 80,000 and SR 150,000, which they never paid.

The report said 464 decisions were taken against an unspecified number of companies. The report said 250 companies were temporarily closed for 60 days. The copyright violations committee at the ministry ordered 150 companies to compensate those affected by the violations with payments totaling SR 1.2 million, according to the report.

The ministry also blocked 65 websites in 2012 for pirating copyrighted materials and received 870 complaints on copyright violations.


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