Copyright Exceptions in Oman

Official Gazette

The exceptions to copyright vary from one country to another. In Oman, the permitted uses of copyright works are expressed in Chapter 5 of Royal Decree 65/2008.

First of all, unlike the USA, and more like the UK, there is no general exception of fair use in Oman. The list of copyright exceptions is an exhaustive list found in Article 20 of the Decree.

All of the exceptions of copyright in Oman require acknowledging the author and that the use does not impact on the normal use of the works or unreasonably harms the interests of the author.

There are seven exception in Article 20:

  1. Copying segments of a work available to the public for purposes of review, illustration, or criticism.
  2. Using the work in the family domain or for students inside an educational institute for purposes of education. The use must not be directly or indirectly paid-for.
  3. Creating a single copy of the work for archiving purposes by the designated authorities, OR by educational institutes as long as (a) copying is made for a published article or a short work for fulfilling the needs of an individual researcher, OR (b) copying is made for the purpose of protecting the original copy of the work or replacing a defective copy.
  4. Copying or broadcasting segments from articles published in daily newspapers or periodical about current events as long as original publisher has no exclusive right over the time of publishing, and the copying was made by the press.
  5. Copyright program related exceptions: (1) copying for the necessary operation of the program, (2) creating a single backup copy in case the original is damaged or lost, (3) creating a copy for the purposes of porting the program to another system or language as long as the ported copy is used by the owner of the original copy.
  6. The public performance of a dramatic or musical work in religious events or face to face teaching inside educational institutes. (Both cases must no be made for direct or indirect gain).
  7. Creating a temporary copying by broadcasting agencies for use in their programs as long as they have the right to broadcast and as long as the temporary copy is destroyed after a period of 6 months.

The exceptions in Omani law are very badly drafted and are not very clear. The 4th exception on reporting of current events does not make sense because it indicates that you can only copy as long as the person you are copying from has no right to publish. The exception is also only available for ‘the press’, which is not defined, but is very unlikely to extent to bloggers or those who contribute on online discussion boards. The exceptions also do not talk about copying photographs or videos for the purposes of reporting current events and only talks about ‘segments of articles’ – which in Arabic means ‘text’ and does not necessarily include non-textual content.

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