Jamshid Turdibekov

Image source: www.copyrightalliance.org

Although the legal framework of Uzbekistan on intellectual property consists of eight laws and over ten legal acts ( source ), there are several shortcomings and passiveness in court practice, particularly in the field of copyright laws. Especially copyright law is both one of the most relevant areas of intellectual property law (IPL) and the most painful points. This can be seen in the singer Yulduz Usmanova, as well as Farhod and Shirin (source ) cases which revealed the shortcomings of the legal mechanism in this area[1]. In this blogpost, I examine several legal issues on IP infringement in Uzbekistan and summarize court practices.  

Case No.1 

On January 13, 2021 year, in the civil court of the Yakkasaray district of Tashkent, a trial was held on the claim of the plaintiff –People’s Poet of Uzbekistan Usmon Azimov, in relation to the defendant – Sanjar Zhavberdiev, to eliminate the violation copyright, recovery of compensation and moral damages for copyright infringement. According to Article 62 of Law “On Copyright and Related Rights” (Copyright Law), reproduction, distribution and other use of work and objects of related rights without concluding a contract with the right holder would be a violation of copyright. Therefore, Sanjar Zhavberdiyev was fined 97 million 800 Uzbek soums. 

Case No.2

In the case of  Anvar Jalolov,  although he created the work (“Hisobot Jurnali”) with his creativity, the court found it “unreal.” If we look at the case more deeply, “Hisobot Jurnali” was found to be material that is not an object of copyright based on Article 8 of Copyright Law. In other words, the “Hisobot Jurnali” was considered an official document, meaning it would not be the object of copyright and related rights. However, it was a derivative work. The best examples of derivative works are translations, treatments, abstracts, summaries, reviews, staging, arrangements, adaptations, and other revisions of works of science, literature, and art. So, this sort of object shall be an object of copyright law according to Article 7 of the Copyright Law. However, the court failed to distinguish between the official document and its derivative form. Although the Agency for Intellectual Property was also involved as a third party in the case, its conclusions were not considered. 

Despite the introduction of legal mechanisms to ensure copyright protection in Uzbekistan, its effectiveness in practice still needs to improve. Because judges operating the judicial system lack knowledge and experience in intellectual property, they sometimes come up with incorrect interpretations of the IPL. Therefore, No.4168 Presidential Decree (source) notes the need to strengthen further reforms related to the protection of the rights of intellectual property owners in the court system of the country. 

Liability for violation of IP rights in Uzbekistan

The Code of Administrative Offenses ensures some fines for IPL infringement. Notably, article 177 applies copyright and related rights infringement – mainly as a form of fines: between 1 and 5 of basic calculation units( from 300 thousand to 1 million 500 hundred thousand soums ) for individuals and between 5 and 10 of basic calculation units ( from 1 million 500 hundred thousand to 3 million soums) –  for legal entities. If the violation occurs again within a year, the size of penalties for the offender will increase. 

On this point, Zumrad Niyozmetova argues that (source), despite several administrative protections, the above-indicated amounts of fines are insignificant and disproportionate to the scale of losses ( for example, moral damage ). As for the Civil code of Russia, article 1253 shows that if a violation of the intellectual property right is committed repeatedly by legal entities or individual entrepreneurs, their business activities could be stopped. The violation of IP rights also prevents business entities from further developing their business, that is exactly why “we need direct criminal and administrative sanctions,” argues prominent young scholar Abdulmumin Yo’ldoshev (source)

As one of the means of copyright protection and related laws, article 65 of the Copyright law states that the author, holder of related rights, has the right to demand from the violator compensation for moral damages. In fact, as for moral damage, it can be understood as moral or physical suffering (humiliation, physical pain, inferiority, discomfort, etc.) caused by actions (inaction), experienced (experienced) by the victim as a result of the offense committed against him and at the same time it may be the object of illegal actions as well. Notably, the decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court “On some issues of application of the law on compensation for moral damages” ( source ) approved that moral damage can be claimed against IP infringement as well. 

Towards WTO

We must also take into account Uzbekistan’s ongoing bid for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). One requirement is that IP rights be under effective legal framework protection. Article 41 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights notes that all members must maintainaction against any infringement of intellectual property rights, and procedures must be fair and equitable.Moreover, Uzbekistan also joined the Agreement “On Cooperation of the CIS member States on the Protection and Protection of Copyright and Related Rights in Information and Telecommunication Networks” on November 12, 2021. In this way, the state further committed to protecting copyright holders’ rights in Uzbekistan. 

Some solutions

There are several ways to achieve the targets mentioned above. According to Mahmudova Madina (source ), IP-related cases have increased from 22 to 141 in the last 11 years. In this way, implementing special IP courts can be a practical step toward providing a relevant legal atmosphere. If we look at top IP-protected countries (source ), we will see that most of them, for instance, Germany, China, Japan, and France, have one thing in common: there is a special court or branch in the court system. One of the positive results shall be the possibility of considering disputes in a short time, as well as achieving uniformity of judicial practice by consistently improving the qualifications of judges based on the specifics of intellectual property.

Furthermore, it is essential to admit that litigation is always vital for resolving some issues, but not all. Here, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) should be considered. To be more precise, some methods of this system, for instance, self-help efforts, negotiation between parties to the dispute, and mediation, court-centered settlements, are both efficient and essential in terms of dispute resolution.

Plus, World Intellectual Protection Organization offers to implement ADR mechanisms as it has several advantages such as neutrality, single procedure, party autonomy, and so on. ( source ). As for legislation of Uzbekistan, there is a Presidential Decree No.4754, which aimed to create a unified system of pre-trial dispute review in state bodies, the transformation of mediation, arbitration courts, and international arbitrations into effective alternative dispute resolution institutions ( source). According to this decree, two chief changes will be implemented:

  1. Mediation Center based on the interaction of professional mediators engaged in the solution of conflicts in an alternative way
  2. Establishment of the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution as a non-profit organization based on the Mutual Association of professional mediators, arbitration courts, and international arbitrations


While protecting intellectual property on the internet is inevitable, several measures, such as making judges more knowledgeable on intellectual property, should be focused on. In fact, only strict enforcement of intellectual property rights, including moral damage, is the only way to provide an environment that allows a merging market of intellectual property assets in Uzbekistan and foster a friendly environment for businesses of both local and foreign origin on the way of joining the World Trade Organization.

Cite as:  Jamshid Turdibekov, “Legal challenges of copyright protection in Uzbekistan”, Uzbekistan Law Blog, 11.12.2022.