The Kuwaiti society is definitely unique. As Kuwaiti nationals, we really appreciate the fact that we have financial stability, giving us the opportunity to be creative or take a leap of faith in our ability to create – although I believe that everyone should take a leap of faith in their ability to create. As humans, we are creators.
So even if you do not have the financial perks that Kuwaitis receive, you are still an internal part of this society, and I urge you to have faith in your ability to be creative and to do your own thing and share and inspire others with your work, whether it is singing, creating art, writing songs, making YouTube videos or whatever it is that fulfills your purpose.
From a legal point of view, there are a few things to consider though when being creative, and today I thought it is important to discuss them.
Question: As a writer, I want to copyright my work. Where do I go, and what information should I be aware of?
Fajer: Copyrighting in Kuwait is done at the National Library of Kuwait, which is located on Arabian Gulf Road. Copyrighting is usually done in a timely manner and is internationally for writers for a minimal fee. The copyright is valid for 50 years usually, and the author has the following rights:
1. To have their name or an anonymous name as a writer.
2. The author has the right to ban any changes or edits to their work, or to order the court to do so.
3. To have all mentions of their work cited to the author.
4. To ban any amendments or rewrites of their works.
Question: I am a creative person working on a wide range of artistic pieces, and I would like to know if I can copyright my pieces?
Fajer: Yes, you can copyright your pieces. In fact as a general rule, you can copyright any creative works such as books, editorial pieces, poems, songs, lectures, theatrical works, podcasts, any art, photography, maps, illustrations, computer programs ie coding, translations and research. You cannot copy general ideas, official documents or daily news and events.
Question: I have written a book and I want to get an ISBN number – where can I copyright my book? Any other thing I should be aware of?
Fajer: We have a department in Kuwait that is specifically for literary copyright – it is located at the National Library of Kuwait. You will need to fill out a form and submit your work to the department. The process for protecting your literary work takes on average around a week, and you will get an international ISBN number that you can use worldwide.
Another common question I get for copyrighting books is whether Kuwait guarantees certificates of ownership of literary work that includes explicit material. The answer to this question is yes – you can get your book copyrighted even if the content has explicit material. There are only two topics that cannot be copyrighted – but these do not include explicit material. This does not mean that your book can be published or sold in Kuwait, as you will need approval before doing so.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmad