There is a new development in Turkey relating the ongoing debate about sharing copyrighted documents in the cyber space. Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism is planning to amend 5846 numbered “Law of Intellectual Property Rights” article which will provide stricter measures against “stealing ideas” off the Internet. With this new amendment to the law, people who act against the law will face verbal, monetary and jail-time punishments.
Copyrights and Theatre General Manager Abdurrahman Celik informed the sector on this topic, mentioning that with Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay and the participation of Sector representatives, they aim to make the mentioned amendments ready with a two-day workshop by October. Celik added that increased Internet usage with non-copyrighted information share affects art production and said except the trade usage rights investigation that have been implemented until today, users will face some restrictions and service providers will provide the needed support.
While Celik highlighted the fact that with the initiation of this prohibition mechanism in the United States, %70 success rate was seen and application of big penalties would be inevitable, the law case that ended with a $675.000 indemnity in the U.S came to minds.
The case was against a Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum who confessed to have downloaded and distributed a music file. He was found guilty of breaking the Law of Intellectual Property Rights and was sentenced to pay $675,000 to four record companies. The doctorate student for whom it was impossible to pay the amount had also some dispute over the issue and started to work on solving the case. There is still a website supporting him and heated debates are ongoing on Twitter.
Another similar case was held last month in Minnesota. A mother of one called Jammie Thomas-Rassett was charged with 1.92 million dollars for sharing twenty-four songs, making each song $ 80 thousand worth. According to the US law, record companies are allowed to get between 750 and 30 thousand dollars in compensation. If the Jury decides that this violation of law is on purpose, the penalty could go up as much as 150 thousand dollars.
I remember heated debates in one of the first meetings in Turkey that was around the first time of the anti-MP3 distribution process at which Mu-Yap General Manager was briefing after getting information on illegal MP3 distribution. Within this process, Mu-Yap closed hundreds of websites and forums but services that sell a song for 1 TRY could not survive in the market. Then, the fact that big names like TTNET, AVEA and Turkcell offered users copyrighted songs free under the name of sponsorship did not benefit singers for album sales.
While we are dealing with these problems here in Turkey, a political party named Pirat Partiet (pirate party) with extensive focus on copyrights in the cyber space was established in Switzerland in 2006. Thanks to its fight against political censorship and copyright laws, this party gained youngsters support and in 2009 had seat both in country parliament and in the European Parliament. With this different point of view, the party aimed to create equal rights for users and managed to affect other countries and lately in Turkey we have witnessed “Pirate Party” debates, while initiatives have started.
From now on, stricter punishments are to come and we have already started to wonder what kind of sanctions will be enforced by the government in an effort to protect the patent and copyright of the music and movie industry. The users consider sharing content with or without its copyright a right. Will the fact that everyone except for those who are involved in the process for trade reasons be punished quicken the already mentioned reactions in our country? Who will win this game? We have held our breath and are waiting to see the outcome.
In the span of new law talks, which companies in the sector with knowledge about the subject matter will be involved in the process is not known yet but we would like to shed light to the future by the help of our important readers.