x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

In praise of the UAE's established copyright regime

Readers respond to The National's coverage and comment on current events.

Children perform traditional Irish dances as they march up Fifth Avenue during New York's St Patrick's Day parade. A reader notes many similarities between Irish and Arab cultures. Mary Altaffer / AP
Children perform traditional Irish dances as they march up Fifth Avenue during New York's St Patrick's Day parade. A reader notes many similarities between Irish and Arab cultures. Mary Altaffer / AP

The news article Publishers fear rise of e-pirates (March 17) reported that industry experts at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair expressed apprehension that readers would turn to illegal downloads. As a local lawyer (and former legal director at Amazon), it always surprises me to read comments like: "The piracy laws are harder to apply here than they are in places like the US."

This is simply wrong. The UAE has an established copyright regime consistent with best international practice and is actively supported and endorsed by the federal courts and authorities.

Rights holders need to do their research, contact a decent lawyer and seek redress. If their case has validity, it will succeed and I can (almost) guarantee that the legal fees and time involved will be much less than any equivalent action in the US.

Fearful arguments sound very similar to those of the music industry in the early days of digital downloads: let's look to others such as the ISPs to solve our problem by blocking access. That didn't work for music and is even less likely to work for e-books. Don't blame the regional youth culture either. In fact, you will find that this region has a stronger moral base than many others and one which is fully respected by the courts.

David Melville, Abu Dhabi

Arabic and Irish cultures are alike

I so enjoyed the article Shamrock that grew in the desert (March 17) about Khalid Saeed, the Emirates Airways first officer who is half Emirati and half Irish. Often when I tell people I am from Ireland, they look at me bemused. Many have no idea where that is. Since arriving in Abu Dhabi a year ago, I've been fascinated  by Arab culture and I think this has a lot to do with the similarities in the Arabic and Irish cultures.

As stated by Mr Saeed, both cultures have a strong sense of family, history and tradition. Storytelling and music are still very much part of everyday life for both cultures and our love of horses and dogs, particularly our beloved greyhounds or salukis is legendary. So I say thank you for showcasing our beautiful green country on our national day.

Michelle Tonks, Abu Dhabi

Clearing up sprinter numbers

I refer to the news article A flying start to life in the fast lane for sprinter Waahid Ally (February 15). The author wrote: "Some context: had he been competing in his age-group, the Under 17 category, at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships, rather than his maiden race, he would have won by .08 seconds."

The author must be confused to think that the record of the World Junior Championships is 10.72. Running 10.72 in the world junior championships won't get you anywhere. There's no age category such as under 17; it's World Junior Championships, which means from 15 to 18 years old, and the guys that are 18 usually run in the 10.30s.

Rodrigo Camacho, Abu Dhabi

Engaging social media properly

The business article The numbers dazzle, don't be mesmerised (March 15) questioned Facebook's value as a marketing tool. If someone "likes" your page, you don't get access to all of their information. You can request this information if you do it through an application. There is tons of statistical information about what people do on Facebook, why they "like" brands and the return of investment that big brands have seen from their social media engagement.

There are reasons that Facebook pages aren't successful in the GCC region.

Too many agencies and charlatans are buying Facebook fans and Twitter followers on any number of dodgy sites to inflate the number of "fans" that they have. These fans aren't going to engage with a brand or with anyone. Frequently they're just set up for the express purpose of "liking" pages. They're not real people.

Also if you look at a lot of regional pages, they're either patronising or just plain inane. If you look at the best examples of pages in Europe and the US, they talk to people rather than at them. They share interesting content and information and they generally engage with people. While there are some pages in the GCC region that do this, there are a lot that don't. That's where the biggest issue lies at this point. If companies are going to get involved in social media, they need to realise that they need to engage with it properly.

Eamonn Carey, Dubai

A question of literary taste

The M Magazine overview of literature included the article 10 overrated literary classics (March 12). The book critic Rick Arthur dismisses Thomas Pynchon's novel Gravity's Rainbow but recommends replacing it with David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.

Is this article supposed to be satire?

Mark Leonards, Abu Dhabi