Thursday, 31 May 2012

Abu Dhabi: An Offer to Film Makers that will be hard to refuse

On 20 May 2012 The Abu Dhabi Film Commission announced an incentive scheme to attract film makers to the Emirate. It takes the form of a 30% rebate of the eligible production spend in Abu Dhabi. According to FAQ about the scheme on the Commission's website the following expenditure qualifies for a rebate:
"All expenditure within Abu Dhabi on location or studio filming and expenditure that is directly related to the production of the project that is purchased or sourced through Abu Dhabi based companies. This includes the purchasing or licensing of intellectual property and goods owned, or facilities and services provided by Abu Dhabi companies."
Expenditure that is not eligible includes
  1. Financing expenditure
  2. General business overheads of the UAE co-producer or production services company 
  3. Deferments, profit participation and residuals
  4. Advances
  5. General expenses such as general costs of administration
  6. Travelling and transport costs of crew and cast to UAE
  7. Gifts and entertainment expenses
  8. Expenditures incurred in other countries
  9. Land and building costs and maintenance
  10. Executive Producer fees
  11. Publicity and marketing costs
  12. Consultant fees charged by a consultant to prepare the application
  13. Costs for legal advice
  14. Contingency costs
  15. Costs for insurance related to financing
  16. Purchase of capital goods
The FAQ indicate that  labour costs relating to contracting UAE registered crew and services including daily payments for activities in Abu Dhabi may qualify for the rebate but deferred salary payments and residuals do not qualify,  Similarly,  though travel and transport of crew and cast to Abu Dhabi are excluded, temporary accommodation in Abu Dhabi as well as airline tickets booked on the Abu Dhabi airline Etihad Airways or the private charter of aircraft based in the UAE may qualify for the rebate.

The rebate is available for almost any type of film or television programme whether shown in Abu Dhabi or not. These include 
  • Feature films
  • Television drama including series
  • TV and feature documentaries
  • Factual and natural history
  • Comedy
  • Commercials
  • Music videos 
  • Other television, such as lifestyle, reality, game shows and entertainment programmes
It also includes post-production and digital effects services supplied inside Abu Dhabi for projects shot outside the UAE.

The scheme is clearly aimed at attracting  film and programme makers from India and Pakistan who already use Dubai as a film location. The Abu Dhabi Film Commission already operates as an exchange for crews, production companies and locations.  According to its downloadable Locations Guide it can offer some spectacular backdrops for filming.

As I discussed in my articles "Copyright and Related Rights in the United Arab Emirates" of 4 Jan 2012 and 11 Feb 2012 films and performances are protected throughout the Union by Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 concerning Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights.  Abu Dhabi has not set up a local common law jurisdiction like the DIFC Courts or the QFC Civil and Commercial Court (see my article on the QFC of 3 April 2011) but the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce does offer a commercial arbitration service.   Moreover, there appears to be nothing to prevent the choice of any law or jurisdiction in a film contract or contract for production services. Further information about the scheme can be obtained from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission's website or by calling  +971 2 401 2701.

Dubai is also a film location with a growing local film and TV industry. Film and production businesses are beginning to cluster in Dubai Studio City,   There is a also a cluster of advertisers, events management, marketing and other media businesses in Dubai Media City.  According to Rapid TV News, Dubai has recently enacted legislation to establish a film and television commission in Dubai along the lines of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (see Rebecca Hawks "Dubai to establish film & TV commission" 28 May 2012).

As ever, should anybody wish to discuss this topic further, he or she can call me on +44 161 850 0080 or fill in my contact form. He or she can also contact me through Facebook, Linkedin, Xing or twitter.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Gulf Co-operation Council Member States - Treaties and Intellectual Property Authorities

CountryTreaties and ConventionsIntellectual Property Office
BahrainBerne, Brussels, Madrid Protocol, Paris, Patent Co-operation, Patent Law, Rome, Trademark Law, TRIPS, WIPO Copyright, WIPO Performances and PhonogramsMinistry of Industry and Commerce
P.O. Box 5479
+973 17530335       
KuwaitTRIPSMinistry of Trade and Industry
Trademarks and Patents Department
P.O. Box 2944
Safat 13030
+965 22 42 4426
OmanBerne, Brussels, Budapest, Hague, Madrid Protocol, Nairobi, Paris, Patent Co-operation, Patent Law, Trademark Law, TRIPS, UPOV, WIPO Copyright, WIPO Performances and PhonogramsMinistry of Commerce and Industry
P.O. Box 550
Code No. 113
Oman+968 247 741 26 / 992 226 22
QatarBerne, Nairobi, Paris, Patent Co-operation, TRIPS, WIPO Copyright, WIPO Performances and PhonogramsIntellectual Property Center
Ministry of Justice
P.O. Box 917
+974 448 42 292
Saudi ArabiaBerne, Paris, TRIPSGeneral Directorate of Industrial Property, King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)
P.O. Box 6086
Riyadh 11442
+9661 481 4342
United Arab EmiratesBerne, Paris, Patent Co-operation, Rome, TRIPS, WIPO Copyright, WIPO Performances and PhonogramsDirectorate of Industrial Property, Ministry of Economy and Commerce
P.O. Box 901
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 613 1336

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Qatar Intellectual Property Law

Last Saturday morning I listened to a report on BBC Radio 4 by Razia Iqbal about the Qatar Philharmonic. This is the first and so far only symphony orchestra in the Gulf and it is developing an enviable reputation.  The great American conductor Lorin Maazel is said to have rated it among the great orchestras of the world.  Certainly they seem to have been very received in London as this YouTube clip from their performance of Marcel Khalife’s Arabian Concerto at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on 8 April 2010.shows.

The Qatar Philharmonic is just one of a number of cultural initiatives in this tiny kingdom. In her programme Iqbal discussed several of the others grouped in the Katara Cultural Village, a complex of museums, theatres, academies and auditoriums just outside Doha.   The cultural village is itself one of a number of other initiatives to transform Qatar's society and economy.   Others include the Qatar Financial Centre, the educational cluster with local campuses of no less than 8 first rate universities including University College London and the Qatar Science and Technology Park.  

These initiatives complement an active foreign policy and, of course, the international broadcasting service, Al-Jazeera which, together, have contributed greatly to political change throughout the Middle East and North Africa. With a land area slightly smaller than that of Yorkshire and less than half that county's population, Qatar punches well above its weight.

The cultural, educational, scientific and technical initiatives discussed above will flourish only with a strong intellectual property base.  Qatar has been a member of the World Trade Organization and hence party to TRIPS since 1 Jan 1996. It is party to the Berne and Paris Conventions though not to Rome but it has signed up to the WIPO Phonograms and Performances Treaty as well as to the WIPO Copyright Treaty. In accordance with TRIPS Qatar has enacted:
Qatar is, of course, party to the Gulf Co-operation Council and enforces patents issued by the the GCC Patent Office in its territories. Patents, copyrights and semiconductor topographies  appear to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice while trade marks, designs and geographical indications are the responsibility of the Ministry of Business and Trade.

Should anyone wish to discuss this topic further he or she can call me on +44 161 850 0080 or fill in my contact form. He or she can also contact me through Facebook, Linkedin, Xing or twitter.