The Draft Law Amending the Law No. 5846 on the Protection of Intellectual and Artistic Works (“Draft Amendment Law”) was published for opinion on May 5, 2017. The Draft Amendment Law changes 36 articles of the Law No. 5846 on the Protection of Intellectual and Artistic Works (“Copyright Law”) and brings significant changes, inter alia the introduction of a clear notice and take down procedure for copyright infringements on the Internet, expansion of the definition of right of communication to the public of works, and improving the rights of collecting societies and cinema artists.
What are the key upcoming changes?
1. Expanded scope of the right of communication of works to the public
The Draft Amendment Law intends to harmonize the right of communication with the Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and respond to the needs of modern world technologies. The Draft Amendment Law provides the author with the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit communication to the public of their works by any means.
2. Resale of computer programs to be permitted
It is not surprising that one of the most significant provisions introduced by the Draft Amendment Law is allowing resale and distribution of computer programs and databases after their first sale or distribution in Turkey or abroad with the permission of the right holder. The provision is in parallel with the recent decisions of the Turkish courts, where the resale of computer programs and software was not found to be a copyright infringement.
3. Notice & take down procedures for copyright infringements on the Internet
With the new amendments to the Copyrights Law comes a new type of crime, along with a new notice and take down procedure. Pursuant to the new Article 77/B of the Copyrights Law, any right holder whose rights have been infringed on the Internet may either (i) send a notice to the relevant content or host provider for the removal of the infringing content, or (ii) directly request from the Public Prosecutor an order to block access to the relevant content. If the right holder prefers the notice option, the content or host provider is required to comply with the notice within 24 hours.
Although the new Article 77/B refers to the Law No. 5651 on the Regulation of Internet Publishing and Prevention of Crimes Committed through the Internet for the notice and takedown procedures, it provides a slightly different regime by introducing the additional “notice option.”
Collecting societies may also request from the Public Prosecutor to take the necessary steps against infringements on the internet, upon which the Public Prosecutor may order the access to the infringing content to be slowed down.
Copyright protection across the world has become more difficult due to technological developments such as the growth of e-commerce, digitalization and social media. Turkey was in dire need of changes to intellectual and industrial property right regulations. The main objective of the Draft Amendment Law was the harmonization of the Turkish Copyrights Law with technological developments, and to strengthen the enforcement tools to ensure the protection of copyright owners. The Draft Amendment Law models itself on the current EU legislation and other international standards. While the amendments mostly achieve a general harmonization and modernization, we expect major changes and debates on the Draft Amendment Law, especially concerning potential implementation issues.