Computer Software

– Royal Decree No. M/85 dated 9/4/1424 A.H. (The Copyright Law).

Membership in International Conventions

– Universal Copyright Convention (UCC), since July 13, 1994.
– Berne Convention (Royal Decree No. M/48 dated September 9, 2003), since March 11, 2004.


Scope of protection: protection is granted to the authors whose works of art are expressed in writing, sound, drawing, photography or motion pictures. Computer software is protected as well.

Filing: may be registered with the Ministry of Information.

Right to protection: belongs to the author of the computer software or his assignee.

Employee’s software: if the work is a collective work compiled by a group of individuals under the direction of a natural person or a corporate body and if collective work is incorporated into a main project of this natural person or corporate body, this entity is regarded as the author.

Foreigners: protection for foreigners is the same as for nationals.

Novelty: the work characterized by special features should not have been previously presented for registration.

Procedure: first step is to establish a local company in Saudi Arabia for distributing the software or to find a local distributor for that purpose. The said distributor should obtain permission from the Ministry of Information allowing him to distribute the software in Saudi Arabia.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. 2 copies of the software;
2. A detailed explanation of the software with explanation as to its contents;
3. The name and identity of the programmer (a photocopy of his passport);
4. An undertaking that the program is not quoted i.e. it is the programmer’s own invention. If the opposite is evidenced, the application is treated as cancelled;
5. A power of attorney, legalized up to the Saudi Arabian Consulate;
6. A permission from the Ministry of Information allowing to circulate the software.


Duration: the right of the author is protected for his lifetime and for a period of fifty years after his death.

Assignment: possible either entirely or partly whether by inheritance or legacy. Legacy should be declared by an instrument stipulating the scope of the transferred right.