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SAIP carried out inspection campaigns targeting commercial stores that violated intellectual property laws. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia has launched a major crackdown on copyright piracy in January, backed up by tougher penalties, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) said.

SAIP carried out inspection campaigns targeting commercial stores that violated intellectual property laws across Saudi Arabia, according to a report from the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Some 11,620 materials violating copyright laws were seized, including electronics, computer programs, audio recordings, and printed material for students in January, the report said.

More than 440 visits have been made by the mystery shopper to the targeted areas, and companies that violate intellectual property rights.

SAIP has also launched a parallel campaign aimed at inspecting websites to verify the extent of their compliance with intellectual property rules.

SAIP confirmed that those breaching the copyright protection law face fines of up to SR250,000, while the site may be closed, the commercial license cancelled or the perpetrator jailed for six months.

The report added: “Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property stresses that it will not tolerate the accountability of all those who violate the laws and regulations, nor will it condone these violations, and calls upon citizens and residents to support those efforts to respect intellectual property rights through communicating via its official channels.”