Interview: Why is copyright important for artists

If you are wondering about copyright laws and the importance of protecting your intellectual property as an artist. Here is the interview I had with Abou Naja, a Dubai based Intellectual property firm where we talk about my views on copyrights, protection and value of intellectual property and a little bit of my background and career in visual arts and photography. Enjoy!

Mustafa Sheikh’s Career Journey and views on Copyrights

For this month’s ABOU NAJA Talks feature, we sat down with Mustafa Sheikh, a thriving creative in the field of photography and visual arts. In this interview, he shares his story as a branding and design expert in Dubai and gives us insights into how he turned his passion for photography into a freelance business.

Career Journey 

Being a multi-disciplinary visual artist, Mustafa enjoys switching between different platforms, but his core interest remains to be photography and creative direction.

Some of his current projects, which he is passionate about, are branding and identity design projects for a new business concept that will soon begin in the UAE. He states, “The business idea will be a problem solver for many, especially during these times. We are optimistic that it will be a win-win for both the end customer as well as for the client.”

Protection of Intellectual Property is vital and inevitable for your brand.

Early Days 

Upon asking Mustafa about his early career days, he recalls that he was fortunate to get excellent guidance from his teachers during his school studies. He received focused training on building brands and portfolios.

Although he believes that the practical world outside the classroom is very different, he combined his knowledge of brand building with the skills he developed working with different organizations and agencies. 

Significant Projects

Mustafa credits his career to his photographic pursuits, especially those that were recognised through Social Media.

He also pinpoints working with prominent resorts’ chain in Oman as his favorite project so far. He took charge of visual content direction and creation which resulted in a successful project for both himself and the client.


Working through multiple mediums can be challenging and Mustafa identifies this as his primary hurdle. Sending out a cohesive and consistent brand persona across multiple platforms is the goal but actually achieving that takes a lot of hard work.

Getting used to how demanding content creation is and figuring out how to relay a message consistently has now proved to be his strength. He now uses what was once his shortcoming as an advantage to get ahead of the competition.

Message to Budding Artists 

We asked Mustafa if he would like to give any message to the budding creatives. He replied saying, “If you are starting in the field, don’t wait too long for the right time and right equipment, start it somewhere, and you’ll learn throughout your journey. If you are already in the field as a beginner, see a lot of good work on the Internet. Visit design districts, art galleries. Connect with other real artists.”

He also added, “The other key to success is hard work, hard work, and hard work. There is no shortcut to success. Don’t create to put on a show or seek attention but create because you feel it means something or makes a difference. Be confident but be humble and always be a learner.”

Copyright Infringement Experience

When asked about infringement cases he has personally experienced, Mustafa states that “my friends send me screenshots of my work being used somewhere without my consent. My first approach is always to write to them directly and ask them to remove it.”

Dealing with content theft for many years has enabled Mustafa to share a more in-depth insight into digital content sharing. He further states that “the internet is an endless forest, there’s no way to keep track of who has copied your work where but there are safety measures that can be and should be taken care of” 

Mustafa also highlights the importance of knowing about legal policies. “If you use a third-party platform [like Instagram,] it is important to understand their usage policies and what they can or cannot do with your content.”

As a creative, he acknowledges that securing his copyright is the only legal way of claiming ownership over his creative assets. One should be vigilant about it from day one. 

Perspective on Intellectual Property

For people in the creative industry like Mustafa, owning your creation is synonymous with owning your name. He also says that for photographers, “it is our creations that determine the value of our brand.” The financial elements of asset ownership also come into play. 

He further supports his stand on IP ownership by stating that “without Intellectual Property protection, any organization or individual can reap off benefits from your hard work.”

As most of the work is online, he truly believes in protecting intellectual property in the digital arena.


It is paramount for creators in the digital world to secure their copyrights and register their trademarks. As a creative, Mustafa Sheikh believes in the importance of intellectual property rights and their application to his original works. When he is not involved in any full-time projects, Mustafa pursues his love of photography and travel. 

For more of Mustafa and his works, visit his website, or Instagram @mustafa_sheikh.

This interview was originally posted on Abou Naja’s website. Link to source

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