Ask the CC Legal Lead!

Creative Commons Qatar Legal Lead Mohammed El Said

A lot of people have come to us with legal questions about Creative Commons and how the licenses work in Qatar. CC Qatar legal lead Mohammed El Said is one of the most knowledgeable legal leads in the global Creative Commons community and in this post he answers some of the most commonly asked questions. If you have any specific legal questions, send us an email at

1. How is Creative Commons (CC) different than a traditional copyright?

CC is not a separate form of copyright. CC works alongside copyright laws and norms to enable creators of works to modify their copyright terms/rights to best suit their needs and priorities.

Unlike copyright laws and rules which require some level of legal interpretation and expertise, CC aims towards creating simple and standardized user-friendly copyright-based licenses which grant permission to the public to use and share the creative work in accordance with the terms and conditions of your choice.

While traditional copyright norms require that the creator ‘reserves all rights’, CC licenses modify this to keep ‘some rights reserved’ with the creator of the work.

CC licenses are aligned with CC’s mission to develop, support, and steward legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

 2. How do Creative Commons licenses protect the rights of content creators?

CC licenses are aligned with existing international copyright laws, and where ported, to local copyright laws. CC licenses do not give up all of a person’s copyrights. Instead, they clearly specify how a particular work can be used (shared, remixed, etc.). A person who shares their work is therefore protected under the existing national copyright law, however they are not bound by the intricate limitations of traditional copyrights.

3. What is the unported Creative Commons license and can I feel confident using it in Qatar?

“Unported” CC licenses are licenses that are not associated or dedicated  to any specific jurisdiction/country. They do not mention any particular jurisdiction’s (or country’s) copyright laws or statutes or contain any sort of choice-of-law provision. In theory, it is presumed that the unported version will “work” under all of the various legal systems. However, due to differences in both legal systems, and how various countries interpret the various prevailing international agreements on copyright, the unported version may include/exclude clauses that are either not legally binding in a specific jurisdiction – and thus, some aspects of the license may not align perfectly to a particular jurisdiction’s laws. Depending on the work being licensed or accessed, legal advice may be needed to ensure its compliance with local laws.

In Qatar, the Law No. 7 of 2002 on the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights is the legislation dedicated to the regulation and protection of copyrights in the country. The Law complies with international standards as prescribed by the rules of the TRIPS Agreement and the World Trade Organization.

A copy of the law may be found at here

4. What happens if someone uses my work in a way which I didn’t specify  under my CC license?

In a case where it was established that others used the copyrighted work of another individual without complying with the prevailing legal principles or the terms of the CC license, then an infringement of the copyright would take place, and the creator will have the right to seek redress under the legal rights established under national laws.

5. Does Creative Commons help with the enforcement of my content rights?

No, Creative Commons does not have any enforcement role.   However, there is a large online community that supports Creative Commons that often serves to crowd source inappropriate uses of work or breaches of license and copyright terms.

6. What are the benefits of Qatar porting CC licenses to Qatari law? When will this happen?

Porting a Qatari CC license will establish greater certainty for the users of the licenses and will avoid any vagueness or ambiguity which may prevail under the international unported licenses.

Work on the porting of the Qatari CC licenses is underway.


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  • Noman Tousif

    MashaAllah.. Good to see Dr. Mohammed here… :). I Hope CC will benefit from his presence here, IA