Turkey Drafts Bill Covering Copyright Infringement Online

Turkey Drafts Bill Covering Copyright Infringement Online

Directorate General of Copyright (THGM) announced revisions to the current Law for Intellectual Property and Artworks. The new bill criminalizes both sharing and downloading copyrighted material.

The revision will make it possible to target the IP of the computers downloading or sharing copyrighted material. Clause 73 of the law 5846 distinguishes between the witless surfer online and the user of P2P software. Fines currently target the host of pirated material online, whereas those who seed and download are both responsible in the P2P environment.

According to the draft, when pirated content is detected, the hosting provider will be issued a warning, which should be passed onto the content provider, owner, operator, and the registrant of the site. If the copyrighted material is not removed within 48 hours, steps can be taken to block access to the site through ISPs. Fines for incompliant ISPs are set at TRY10-50k, and TRY1-5k for incompliant hosting providers. The fine for P2P sharing is yet undetermined.

In a problematic reference, the THGM General Director Abdurrahman Çelik pointed at the controversial HADOPI law of France, as well as the US practices, as their model. The HADOPI law dictates that, upon detecting piracy, the ISP is required to warn the user and monitor future traffic form that IP for at least 6 months. The user is invited to install a filter to aid the ISP in this process. The draft passed in 2009 with much outcry through heavy lobbying from the entertainment industry, which allegedly forged artist signatures in support of the draft. HADOPI’s logo, which was designed using an unlicensed font, was publicized to accuse the government agency of hypocrisy.

In the Turkish model, software accredited by the Telecommunications Department (TİB) will scan the internet traffic and run it through databases created by professional associations such as the Turkish Phonographic Industry Society (MÜ-YAP). TİB is already accused of severe violations of privacy and heavy-handed censorship; and MÜ-YAP is often criticized for changing its mind on whether or not it has authorized certain websites for distributing copyrighted content.

THGM is hopeful that the bill will alleviate the problems the entertainment industry is facing. Record sales in Turkey are down to 9 million in 2011, from 70 million in 2004, and 120 million in 1994.

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