This past weekend an individual was apprehended and taken to a local police station for making a video of the movie he was watching in the movie theatre. This is not only against local law but is prohibited by Federal Law. The individual apprehended was an Arab on a visitor’s visa. His exact fate at this time is not known.
Like Saudi Arabia, there is little enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in his home country. He did not seem to realize the severe consequences of his actions in the movie theatre here in America. It’s doubtful he will simply get off with just a “hand slap” and a warning. He may have to pay a large fine and/or jail time. He does not have diplomatic immunity.
In Saudi Arabia there are many places one can go and purchase pirated videos. One can even purchase pirated videos openly on some streets in all of the major cities.
Saudi Arabia has intellectual property guidelines and enables Saudi authorities to impose numerous sanctions for the production of counterfeit products or unlicensed copies of products, which include, inter alia, seizure and destruction of such products, imposing monetary fined up to SR 100,000 for violation of the provisions of the regulations. Following pressure from the US Special Trade Representative Office, Saudi Arabia issued its Copyright Regulations in 1989. These Regulations are fairly limited in scope in that they fail to protect foreign copyrights. Also the Regulations do not address enforcement or registration procedures.
As a result of the more lenient regulations in Saudi Arabia, a new arrival to the United States may not be aware that the United States has strict regulations which are enforced. Offenders can be charged with a misdemeanor which can come with a one year prison term plus steep fine or a felony which has a five year prison term plus even steeper fine.
Unlike Saudi Arabia the US legal system does not work on WASTA. Further more, US law enforcement officials may even take a tougher stance against a foreigner who may appear blasé or seem to have little regard for following the law.
It is important for any visitor, whether from Saudi Arabia or another foreign country, to become familiar with the laws of American if spending time there.
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