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The University of Southampton
Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Internet and Culture (iCLIC)

Riyadh Al-Balushi

Riyadh Al-Balushi's Photo

After the completion of my LLM degree in IT and Commerce I went back to my country Oman to work for the Ministry of Legal Affairs. My primary responsibilities involve advising the government prior to the entry into any international treaty, reviewing major government contracts, and issuing legal opinions for other governmental entities.

My primary area of interest is intellectual property and internet law. The knowledge I gained at the University of Southampton has helped me develop my expertise to advise my government in legal matters relating to these subjects. I was a member of the team of experts responsible for drafting the Unified Law for Combating Cybercrime for the Gulf Cooperation Council which was adopted by the Council last year and domestically adopted by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi very recently. I have advised my government on the impact that international intellectual property treaties will have on our domestic law, such as the 'Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled'; and the 'Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances'.

In addition to my work for the government, I am trying to start a civil society movement to help raise awareness about intellectual property in Oman. I have worked with a number of academic and artistic organisations in Oman to carry out projects for helping students, academics, and artists learn about their intellectual property rights and the challenges that face intellectual property in Oman. I also write a fortnightly column about information technology law and society in a local newspaper to discuss the interaction between law and technology.

I have been fortunate to speak about the state of intellectual property in the Arab World at a number of international events, the most recent being the Creative Commons Summit in Buenos Aires in August 2013. At this event I made a comparative presentation about the permitted uses of copyright works under the different copyright laws in the Arab world. I found this topic to be extremely interesting, especially as nobody has written about it before - even in Arabic. I am now considering writing a paper about this subject. When I was in Buenos Aires I also met a PhD student at the University of Southampton who is involved with the Creative Commons in the UK.

The time I spent at Southampton has helped me develop many of the skills that I use on daily basis when working on the different projects I am involved with. It was a lot of fun being in Southampton.

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