Advertisers using music by the singer 50 Cent will now be asked to pay after the launch of a music rights organisation based in Abu Dhabi.
PopArabia has secured the regional management rights to songs by the American rapper, along with millions of tracks by artists including Coldplay, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and The Killers. The venture, which is supported by the media zone twofour54, is described as a "music publishing and music rights consultancy".
PopArabia's aim is to "monetize international and regional rights" to music in the Middle East and Africa, according to a statement issued by twofour54.
It has secured agreements to become the representative in the Arab world for Universal Music Publishing Group, the Universal Production Music Library and Imagem Music Group, the world's largest independent music publisher.
"This gives PopArabia exclusive management rights to millions of titles, driving the development of a sustainable commercial music industry in the Middle East and North Africa," the statement said.
Hussain "Spek" Yoosuf, the managing director of PopArabia, said it had already started licensing music used in TV commercials, online advertising campaigns and feature films.
He said there was growing awareness that use of music in such circumstances required copyright payments.
"There's less of a battle to be able to monetize music rights," he said.
"In 2008, there was no question that the majority of adverts that used commercial music were doing so unlicensed," Mr Yoosuf said. "I sat in meetings where people said 'there's no copyright law in the UAE'. It still happens, but it's quite rare now."
Under a UAE law passed in 2002, copyright infringement is punishable by a minimum fine of Dh10,000 (US$2,722) and two months in prison.
The launch of PopArabia will help to ensure that more payments are made for the legal use of music, said Mr Yoosuf.
"It means there is going to be a thriving music publishing industry for songwriters and composers," he said.
PopArabia will be able to license music for use by advertising agencies and TV broadcasters. However, it does not have the "performing rights" for music held. This means that it cannot approach a radio station to request payments for music played on air, as this would be the job of a national collection society.
Before the formation of PopArabia, the rights for Universal were held by Fairwood Music Arabia, where Mr Yoosuf previously worked.
"The fact that we're supported by twofour54 puts us in a better position, I think, to advocate for these music rights," he said. "We're in discussions with other music publishers to represent them in the region."
Wayne Borg, the deputy chief executive of twofour54, said PopArabia would set the example that music could be "transparently monetized".
"PopArabia can help prospective Arabic musicians to understand that music can be a business, not just a passion," he said.
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