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Copyright Still Sticky In Riyadh

Saudi Arabia has been making an effort to clean up its act on copyright infringement, but apparently isn’t yet spic-and-span enough to be removed from the “priority watch list” published by the U.S. Trade Representative.

New copyright laws have recently been put on the books, but enforcement of them remains haphazard, according to the law firm of Salah el Hejailah in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. El Hejailan is affiliated with the U.S. firm Graham and Jones, and the British firm Clifford Chance.

Particularly ineffective has been enforcement over sales of pirated audio and videocassettes.

Videocassette sales are big in Saudi Arabia because public cinemas are banned in the religiously austere kingdom, and state-run television is heavily censored.

Under the new laws, which were decreed last summer, responsibility for the enforcement and regulation of copyright rests with the Ministry of Information.

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