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EU AI Act: Implications for Oman

Late last month, the EU formally adopted the EU AI Act, the first comprehensive and legally binding AI framework adopted anywhere in the world. Somewhat like the GDPR, the EU AI Act has extraterritorial application, and it is likely for this act to become the international legislative standard that countries around the world replicate when developing their AI legal frameworks.

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The Wait is Finally Over: The Executive Regulation of the Personal Data Protection Law Issued

After almost 2 years from the issuance of the Personal Data Protection Law, the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology published in this week’s issue of the Official Gazette the long-awaited Executive Regulation of the Personal Data Protection Law. When the Personal Data Protection Law was issued in 2022, it was a groundbreaking development for the Omani legal system since it was the first comprehensive privacy legislation to be issued in the country, however, due to the fact that the law left many of the practical implementation details to the executive regulation, many organisations in Oman had struggled waiting in frustration as they were unable to comply because the regulation was not issued, which was extremely problematic because this law grants the courts the power to impose fines up to 500,000 Rial Omani against those who fail to comply with the law.

I hope that I can say that the wait is finally over now that the regulation is finally out, but, realistically speaking, it will probably take the government at least several months to be able to create the processes required for them to receive and process applications relating to the permits envisioned by the law, and for this reason, the decision issuing the executive regulation has given another 1 year grace period for all parties involved to comply with the regulation and, by association, comply with the law.

This blog post will highlight some of the key features of the new regulation.

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Commentary

Majlis Al-Shura: Structure, Function, and Role

In accordance with article 17 of Law of Majlis Oman, His Majesty called the brand new members of Majlis Al-Shura for an extraordinary session to be held today 9 November 2023 to elect the new chairman and the two deputies of the chairman of Majlis Al-Shura for its tenth term. On this occasion, we are writing this blog post to explore the role that Majlis Al-Shura plays in the Omani legal system, its structure, and its function. If you are interested in the upper house of Majlis Oman, i.e. Majlis Al-Dawla, you can learn more about it in our previous blog post.

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Commentary

Majlis Al-Dawla: Structure, Function, and Role

His Majesty Sultan Haitham promulgated yesterday a royal decree appointing the new members of Majlis Al-Dawla—the upper house of Majlis Oman, we thought that this would be an appropriate moment to write a blog post exploring the structure and functions of this important entity in the Omani legal system.

: Majlis Al-Dawla: Structure, Function, and Role
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Commentary

Nothing but a Name: Collective Labour Disputes Arbitration Committee under the New Labour Law

A new provision in the Labour Law that very few people are talking about is the new mechanism under Part Eight (Settlement of Collective Labour Disputes, Strike, and Closure) for resolving collective labour disputes, and its confusing reference to arbitration and the Law of Arbitration in Civil and Commercial Disputes.

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Banned Barbie: Censorship Law in Oman

The world of artistic expression and censorship are often found at crossroads in various parts of the world, owing to differing cultural, religious, and societal norms. One recent subject of these crossroads is the 2023 live-action movie ‘Barbie’, based on the globally recognised Barbie dolls by Mattel. While this film has gained significant popularity worldwide, it has also been banned in several countries, including countries in the GCC. Oman has yet to clarify its stance on ‘Barbie’, but anticipation is growing about potential prohibitions, given the precedent established by neighbouring GCC countries. This blog post will provide an overview of Omani law in the area of movie censorship, the government entity responsible for censorship, and the legal mechanisms for challenging censorship decisions.

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Regulating the Waterworks—the New Water and Wastewater Sector Law

Back in late 2020, Royal Decree 131/2020 regarding the Water and Wastewater Sector made an unusual reference—it referred to a law that was not yet promulgated, stating that this yet-to-be-issued law would regulate the water and wastewater sector.

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Closed Education: Copyright Provisions in the Omani School Education Law

The School Education Law that was issued last month is a substantive piece of legislation that covers all aspects of school education: from the establishment of schools and the admission of students, to the rights and duties of faculty staff. An interesting provision in this key Omani law is found in article 77 stipulating that the Ministry of Education owns copyright over the books and curriculums prepared by the ministry. This is a deviation from article 4(a) of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Law which excludes official government documents from copyright protection. This new provision in article 77 of the School Education Law will limit the ability of teachers, students, and parents to fully utilise these textbooks without providing any benefits to the Ministry of Education.

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Commentary

Five New Provisions in the Omani Maritime Law of 2023

As can be seen from our overview post of the new Omani Maritime Law, this law is massive and makes many changes to the way the maritime industry is governed. In this post, we will highlight five key changes introduced by this major legal instrument:

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Commentary

Is ChatGPT Legal under Omani Copyright Law?

The legal implications of generative artificial intelligence—such as ChatGPT, Dall-E, and Midjourney—are countless: From privacy issues relating to the processing of personal data without the permission of users, to civil and criminal liability of the information generated by these tools. However, one of the most interesting legal issues is the extent to which these new technologies conflict with copyright law, especially as AI tools such as ChatGPT have made it extremely easy to create what appear to be new works based on information freely available on the internet. The question here is simple: Do the works produced by ChatGPT violate the copyright protection of the underlying works from which ChatGPT obtained its information? Spoiler alert: Under Omani Copyright Law, the answer is yes.